Link to the Tribune article. Sunday 2016-September-25
Delhi-based Chandrabhan Prasad, a Maoist-turned Dalit activist and entrepreneur, has started an online venture, Dalit Food.
Healthy / organic bandwagon.
In reality, the Dalits’ food practices were never made out of choice but were the fallout of a lack of options. No time to cook, so recipes are simple. Flesh is not eaten by upper castes, so they ate it since it was available.
BR Ambedkar had segregated people into three different identities:
- Those who do not eat flesh (placed at the top of the food chart),
- those who eat non-vegetarian food other than beef (in the middle), and
- those who eat beef (at the bottom).
Bajra or Jawar, the staple diet of the Dalits, is now a must-have for diabetics or thyroid patients. Barley, millets (bajra and ragi ki roti), sorghum (chaara) helped them to survive rather than please their taste buds.
The rakti, coagulated blood, was and still is a Dalit delicacy. Now, food specialists have noticed blood being used as the key ingredient in cuisines from countries like Korea and Ecuador. The dish is cooked simply, again a need-based cooking where oil is heated in the pan, if available, onions are added and blood is poured by bringing it to a boil, seasoned with chilli powder and salt in the end.
Yet another dish, Wajadi is made by scrubbing the skin of the animal’s intestines, cleaning the offal and adding salt and a little chilli powder.
Similarly another dish made by the Dalit community, Fashi, made from the epiglottis of a milch animal’s blood fused with yesur masala, is now a delicacy in the West.