Sindhi food survived Partition and migration. Here is a cookbook that celebrates this wonderful culinary tradition.
Flavours of Sindh is a cookbook that has its origins in the successful food festival to promote Sindhi food by the Bangalore Ladies Chapter. Not only does it contain innovative prize-winning recipes from the cookery competition held during the festival but also the basic must-know recipes for all Sindhis. The recipe book is a wonderful attempt to reignite the yearning for traditional fare and get the younger generation in touch with their traditional cuisine, which has bravely survived Partition and migration.
This book of vegetarian recipes kicks off with a wonderful breakfast option; the traditional Sindhi porridge, Jowar jo bhath (a firm favourite with the older generation). This is followed by all-time, all-season favourites like Koki (a kind of thick paratha or roti). This is one of those healthy breakfast options. Try it with boondi ka raita, or just plain curds, pickle and papad. Dal Dimma (gram medley) is another that many youngsters are not familiar with. This is packed with the protein content of the two moong dals (the split yellow and the whole green).
From Thayri (saffron-flavoured sweet rice, a must-have at wedding functions) to Khoyo (a lip-smacking winter sweet that can be stored for days), this book is a treasure house of recipes. Pragri (a sweet puff), with its filling of mawa, is made during Holi and this recipe will find many takers.
The book is divided into sections devoted to sweets, pickles, raitas and chutneys that are must-have accompaniments at each Sindhi meal. The recipes are explained in an easy-to-try format, and there is no long winded explanation or lengthy method of preparation to confuse the budding chef. Each recipe is followed by a special tip, which has come after many trials.
One of my all time favourite drinks, Rabaille jo sharbat (jasmine flower sharbat) finds its way into this book. If jasmine flowers are not available, the sharbat can then be made with sandalwood powder. Low on calories and very cooling, it makes a perfect summer afternoon drink.
Interspersed with the main dishes are the competition winners that combine traditional ingredients with modern elements. An example: Gulab Jamun Cheese Cake and Dhingri (dried mushrooms) Biriyani. What I particularly liked were the menu combinations of Sindhi cuisine and the listing of dishes according to the meal they suited: breakfast, lunch and side-dish.
I found the recipes easy to follow and the ingredients are easily available everywhere. As of now Flavours of Sindh is available at Gangarams and Variety Book House in Bangalore. Soon the books will be available all over India.
Tosho (Sweet Flour Rolls)
1/4 kg refined flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 tsp cooking soda
3/4 cup ghee (warm)
3/4 cup water (warm)
1/4 kg sugar
1/4 cup milk
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Method: Sieve both flours together. Add soda, milk, warm water, ghee, 1 tsp sugar and knead into hard dough. Shape into finger-sized rolls like kebabs. Heat oil and fry rolls till golden in colour. Dissolve remaining sugar in equal quantity of water and boil to make sugar syrup. The syrup should be of thick consistency, to form a coating on the toshas. Dip toshas in the syrup, few at a time and then remove and cool on a plate. When cool, store in an airtight container.
Shelf Life: 2 weeks
Flavours of Sind; published by Sindh-Lit Publications, Rs. 150.