Haryana is a state that has seen so much of history and culture through the ages, yet it has managed to retain its own unique identity. One forgotten aspect of this identity has been its cuisine. Yes, Haryana has its own cuisine that is distinct in taste, flavour and ingredients! The food is nutritious and healthy and this is borne out by the fact that the lifespan of people in Haryana has traditionally been higher than in other states, especially north India.
Haryana is a state where dairy farming is practised in most rural homes, as a result, dairy products find their way into the cuisine list in various forms. The food does not use artificial flavours and is mostly cooked in pure ghee commonly called desi ghee.
However, what is extremely sad is that cuisine from Haryana is not known outside the state. In fact, within Haryana itself, most of the youth today are unaware of the variety and range of different foods and desserts that is unique to Haryana. How many outside the state would have heard of Methi Gajar or Kachri ki Sabzi? Where do you get to taste Singri ki Sabzi or a Bathua Raita? Most people won't be able to tell you the directions to a place where you can sit and try out Bajra Aloo Roti with desi Makhan and Teet ka Achar or a Bajre ki Khichri and Hara Dhania Cholia.
Is there any place that we know where we can get to taste the entire range of Churmas; Bajre ki Roti ka Churma, Parathe ka Churma, Poori ka Churma, Shakkar ka Churma, Gur ka Churma, or even Churma chocklate ka! Such is the range and variety, but this is completely unknown outside the state. Even within the state, there are hardly any known outlets where one can go and try out our Haryana cuisine.
The onus for our cuisine being forgotten lies entirely with the state government that has completely failed to develop and promote this vital aspect of our culture and heritage. The cuisine has lived through time but has lost before its own state's apathy. It is ironical that when Haryana Tourism has been so successful in developing its network of tourist spots and hotels within the state, the cuisine got completely left out. Why is it that there is no place in the country where one can walk in and ask for cuisine from Haryana? After all, you get South Indian food in Haryana or in any part of the country.
Same with Gujarati food, Malabar food, Goanese food, Punjabi food, Marwari food but there is no sign of Haryana food. Why has our rich heritage in food not been taken outside the state? And for that matter, why are there not distinct branded restaurants promoting food from Haryana? It is the responsibility of the state to promote its culture both within the state and outside it. So, why has there been no attempt by the present administration to create a brand for Haryana cuisine?
If there is one thing Naya Haryana stands for, it is Haryana's Pride. Yes, we are proud of our rich culture and heritage and we would love to share this with the rest of India and the world.
Under Naya Haryana, we will definitely give our cuisine a brand identity and promote this all over India and the world. There are so many possibilities. Take the Desserts of Haryana. Did you know of the range, variety and tastes of the desserts available? When was the last time you heard of Gur ki Lapsi, a Gur ka Puda or Kachi Lassi? Did you know of the large number of ladoos that are available and distinct to the state? Very few people outside the state would know of Goond ki Ladoo, which is prepared with desi ghee and served in most homes to celebrate the arrival of a child.
The need of the hour is to give the cuisine a brand identity and then encourage entrepreneurs to open dedicated outlets of these brands and promote local cuisine. These outlets can later be taken outside the state through dedicated food festivals. It is through these festivals that our cuisine can be popularised and the state will offer all assistance in creating this awareness, across India and overseas. In fact, these festivals itself can be a big attraction for tourism in the state. This will give further boost to the local tourism industry, besides generating employment opportunities in the state.
If Goa can create its own food festival and if Kerala can do the same with its food, then there is no reason why Haryana food, which has withstood the ravages of history, not have its own identity. It is time for all of us to join together in appreciating our food heritage and let us work together to make it more popular. Under Naya Haryana, we will make it happen.