Skip to main content


jitiya - Jivitputrika or jitiya

11 top delicacies for Jivitputrika or jitiya

Jivitputrika or jitiya Jivitputrika or jitiya is a festival celebrated for the well being and prosperity of the children. Mothers fast and pray for the long life of their kids. This is mainly celebrated in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand & Uttar Pradesh. When and how to celebrate Jivitputrika/ jitiya This is a 3 days festival and starts from seventh lunar day of Krishna-Paksha in Ashvin month to ninth lunar day. As per english calendar, this festival is celebrated in September. These three days are celebrated as 1.Nahai – Khai (Satwmi) 2.Khur Jitiya or Jivitputrika day (Asthami) 3.Paaran (Naomi)
Nahai khai – This is the preparatory day and as per the rituals – Mothers take bath in the morning and take food. The food generally consists of – Pua, Kheer, Sevai Khur Jitiya or Jivitputrika day The actual festival day. Mothers observe whole day fast. They do not take water, for almost 24 hours or more. It is also customary to have Sargi, something …

The traditional and modern views of Indian Food


This is the post deewali Sunday… I am quite relaxed and a bit lazy. After having a walk I am enjoying my cup of Tea with Mr. Vir Sanghvi. I mean with his today’s column in  HT BRUNCH –

The Heated Debate – a gulf between the traditional and modern views of Indian Food.

I am very happy to see this column….. 

After going through this article I figure out few things that I guess Mr. Sanghvi has pointed out –

  • Most of the great Chefs of the Country like Chef Arvind Saraswat, Chef Gill, Chef Satish Arora were trained to be continental chefs. But later they make a move to the Indian kitchen.
  • Absence of an Indian Larousse Gastronomique.
  • No restaurant culture in India,
  • Regional and Restaurant  cuisines- there is a classic recipe for butter chicken because it is a restaurant dish, invebted by a chef. But there is not a single recipe for Tandoori Chicken.
  • Lack of Innovation – like Mr. Sanghvi mentioned – If an executive chef interviews a chef, he asks him to cook a basic dish – say tandoori chicken or a roganjosh to judge his ability. But a French chef is judged his ability to merge flavours and invent new dishes using the techniques of French kitchen.
  • Change in presentation – like the Dum Pukht Biryani      
  • Modern Indian restaurants – Chef Hemant Oberoi’s Varq

Dear Readers, after going through this wonderful article, so many thoughts has come up into my mind. Let me discuss them one by one --

1. Why these  great Chef took up Continental Cuisine as their Specialization ??

My Answer/Interpretation – The curriculum of Hotel Management courses in the Country is influenced by French. The National council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology (NCHMCT) has adopted this from them and the other universities and following the nchmct.

Like me and billions of other Hotel Management graduates/diploma holders, Chef Saraswat, Chef Gill , Chef Arora and other great chefs of the country have also completed the same course curriculum. The students of Hotel management in our country start their first Cooking class by making different vegetable cuts that we never use in Indian Cuisine. Then they learnt the stock, sauces, soup, different egg preparations, different, meat preparations, side dishes, accompaniments, potato dishes, salads, desserts ……. And then the 3 or 4 course menu.

All French or Continental cuisine……. 
And we also study the French classical menu – the 17 courses.
This continues for one complete year of 3 or 4 years degree course.
The students only learn and practice Indian cuisine for 6 months in their 2nd year and that too in Bulk kitchen. They never get an opportunity to do the platting of Indian food. I am sure every one of you would agree……… (Guys recall your QTK practicals and its service………. Hahahaaa  … no plz don’t compare it with bhandara or langar)

They are just trained to prepare the regional foods of India in bulk quantities. Students never get an opportunity to innovate and present them with creativity. And in final year there is international cuisines, like Italian, german, Mexican, thai, Chinese etc… Surprisingly  the menu from these international cuisines are served in the training restaurants. And the Indian foods are served in Student’s dining Hall/ Cafeteria.    I mean the way Indian cuisine is placed in the syllabus of the Indian Hotel management Institutes is demotivating the aspiring chefs to take up Indian Cuisine as their specialization.

Hence, the kids (the aspiring Chefs) get influenced with the presentations and other fancy stuffs of International cuisines….they forget their roots, their rich culinary heritage and  take up any one of the fancy cuisines. But later on in their career they realize that, they could be a good Italian Chef but can never be better than David Rocco or an Italian chef who has grown up with the cuisine.
I think now this should be obvious why these great chefs or even the aspiring chefs pick up French or continental cuisine as their specialization and not our own great and most versatile Indian Cuisine.

My Suggestion -The NCHM and other universes should do some revision of their curriculum and the aspiring chef should understand that where ever they go, they would be an Indian and the world would expect some Indian delicacies from you (may be your own creation).

2.Absence of an Indian Larousse Gastronomique

Well, this is something that even I am thinking, since my college days. We must have our own encyclopedia for Indian Cuisine. In order to make our Indian cuisine simple and understanding, I have done some work and published a book titled – Simplifying Indian Cuisine in 2010. This is definitely not the Indian Larousse Gastronomique, but this book explains various types of dishes/ their concepts and the meaning. This book helps to understand our Indian Cuisine.

Dr. Pushpesh Pant’s INDIA COOK BOOK, published this year is an amazing
collection of 1000 indian delicacies from different part of the country. He has also find out the origin of these delicacies. I firmly believe he could be the one to lead this project.
Then we have Chef Parvinder Singh Bali and Chef Yogesh Singh who have written the books – Quantity Food Production and The Culinary tour of India, respectively for the catering college students.

My Suggestion - I think, we need to have a Team, for the Indian Larousse Gastronomique and as leading Food writer/critics and above all an Indian, Sir ( Mr. Vir Sanghvi) even you should contribute for the same. And above all the major stake holders of the Indian food industry and Ministry of tourism, government of India should take up this project and should work with some time limit.

3. Restaurant culture/Regional and Restaurant  cuisines

There is a classic recipe for butter chicken because it is a restaurant dish, invented by a chef.
But there is not a single recipe for Chicken Curry
The Regional and the Restaurant cuisines. These two are the unique aspects of our cuisine. The regional nature or the ‘n’ number of variations of any dish (or the chicken curry for example).  The Chicken curry is prepared and enjoyed in every corner of the country but there are regional variations. These variations are due to their local produce, climatic conditions, taste buds and religious believes. More then this cooking is very  personal. Forget about region, even in a family one would prepare this chicken curry to be very spicy while other would ask for mild. So this is the fact that the regional cooking has to be variable however for Restaurant Cuisines I understand there are lots of…. Of… work has to be done in India. I have seen a white coloured Roganjosh being served in Delhi. There is lot of confusion in customer’s/consumer’s mind regarding the defining characteristics of various restaurants dishes.
However, now most of the Good Restaurants are having set standards. They are having SOPs(Standard operating Procedures). These SOPs are prepared and followed by different restaurant Chains and even by stand - alone individual Restaurants. I am also very glad to see some of the Restaurant  cook books Just for example Chef Sanjeev Kapoor has his Yellow Chilli Cook Book,

Manish Gujral has Moti Mahal’s Cook Book.

My Suggestion –  The defining characteristics of the dishes should be decided by some Government Agency. It should be very well defined and recorded. At the time of licencing the govt. agency should have the provision for checking them. The Restaurant owner should have the SOPs with them.

4. Lack of Innovation, Change in presentation, Modern Indian restaurants
Mr. Sanghvi  pointed out the lack of innovation and Chef Hemant Oberoi  criticized the young Chefs for not being interested in traditional Indian Food. Guys as a chef we need to have a right balance of these two ingredients ( understanding of traditional Indian Cuisine and the innovation) Chef Hemant oberoi’s Varq and Chef Manish Mehrots Indian Accents have come up because they have got these two most important ingredients.

I know this discussion would go further……

I welcome every short of inputs/comments/feedback. Thank you 


asif mohd said…
Great article sir. I am also fascinated by Indian Cuisine and by it's flavour and aroma . I always search for authentic taste, aroma and appearance of Indian food.
I have also created and also working on a book to share authentic taste of India, specially from Awadhi Cuisine ( cuisine from Lucknow) said…
Great post, chef. I want to make a small point about " Absence of an Indian Larousse Gastronomique"
1. I think comparison is unfair... France is like one of our states/sub cuisines and while they have regional differences within France they do not really have complex subcultures within the regions like we do. Ex: Kerala cuisine, can be Broadly be divided into three or four regional influences plus three or four caste/religion based differences... You don't see that in France... Larousse doesn't include the cuisine of Italy Spain Germany etc ...
2. Second point is, we already have such a book.... One in every restaurant. That's why the restaurants make the basic gravies and have the recipes to combine them to make whatever curry out of 2000 items on the menu... The problem is it's all secret and no one wants to share....
Bulk cooking is authentic cooking, so is home cooking... But cooking a la carte like in restaurants is never going to be authentic. Someone just needs to write one and start giving out to all culinary schools in India just like Larousse is forced now.

I would love to buy a book like that....
Anonymous said…
Why do we restrict Indian food and discussions on Indian food to Hotels and Restaurants.One should understand that only less than 5% of the Indian food is in these commercial outlets. Rest of the Indian food is outside these two domains. The food what we see and outside the Hotels and Restaurants is actually the real food and more authentic.Frankly speaking the Restaurants and Hotels have killed the real essence of food because of their own compulsions and practices.They cannot retian the chefs,dont pay the best and at the same time theres are so many other things interlinked like the standard recipe, shelf life etc.
If one has to eat,know or experience the real native ethnic and traditional Indian Cuisine its better you don't go to five star hotels or branded restaurants.

Popular Posts