Guests on Safari in India
mahua kothi

Traditional Indian Cuisine

Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavour, and is generally characterised by its somewhat extensive use of spices and herbs. However, Indian cuisines do vary, reflecting the assorted demographics of an ethnically diverse country. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. The unique and strong flavours in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Traditionally, a well-balanced Indian meal contains six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. This theory can explain the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavour in Indian recipes.

Although Indian cuisine is unique and rich in variety, it caters for all tastes. Restaurants in India offer food not only from all parts of the country but also from various parts of the world. Many restaurants and hotels in large cities offer French, English, Italian, Thai, Mexican, Chinese and Japanese food.

Among the many reasons why travellers journey to India, the desire to savour these tastes and flavours of India's traditional, regional food is certainly an additional attraction. At all four of our jungle lodges in Madhya Pradesh, local flavours are celebrated by talented chefs in a variety of beautiful settings.

Experience a different 'thali' (or food platter) at each of the lodges. Thali's are traditionally served at feasts and weddings across India and consist of at least five small dishes, served together in small containers on a plate and accompanied by delicious breads and rice dishes. Thali's are always followed by a sweet dessert.

Enjoy learning the various culinary delights within the lodge interactive kitchens at Mahua Kothi, Baghvan and Banjaar Tola, and discover how to prepare an array of delicious, traditional meals. Watch as chefs prepare traditional Indian dishes or try your hand at blending the perfect curry or producing golden paranthas. Lunches at Baghvan include a choice of flavoursome local dishes, from chicken with onion and tomato, to potato cooked every which way. Enjoy stuffed rotis and steamed rice, followed by fresh fruit with syrup. Dinners are a true highlight, with an abundance of flavours and textures on offer. Snack on a light salad with pappadums and limes. Then delve into the traditional main dishes, including lentil soup, soft vegetables with peppers, chickpeas with tea leaves, paneer in mint and coriander, tandoori, roasted brinjal with green chili, red chilis stuffed with achar masala in jaggery curry, chicken korma – all served with an assortment of naan breads and fresh chutneys.

At Banjaar Tola enjoy mouth-watering jungle dinners infused with the fragrant spices of India on large dining decks with dramatic river views, on the shady pool deck, or in a lantern-lit jungle spit in the sal forest. Savour chilled soups, Indian style salads served with kebabs and chutney, Indian breads, Indian lentils, vegetables and homemade Indian desserts. Dinners are an exclusive experience, sometimes themed, and are meant to be enjoyed as a celebration of the eventful day that was enjoyed.

Pashan Garh falls under the Bundelkhand region and thus the meals at the lodge are highly influenced by Bundelkhandi cuisine. Enjoy a palanquin dinner ("the grazing dinner") set in luxurious bullock carts, and served in courses. This delicious meal includes different flour breads topped or stuffed with a variety of vegetarian or non – vegetarian fillings, and is served without any cutlery, to be enjoyed with your hands. A light menu consisting of a selection of delicious snacks such as Gullar Kebab (mashed potatoes and figs) and Tandoori Mushrooms (roasted with fenugreek, coriander and chilli powder) are served around a blazing fire. This is followed by various treats, including a dessert of three tarts: caramelized banana; honey, date and rose petal; coconut, milk and sugar. A Bundelkhandi thali dinner at Pashan Garsh serves up five of the region's best dishes within silver bowls along with traditional breads and desserts. The food typifies the richness of the region and demonstrates culinary expertise.

Food is displayed on the traditional bullock cart at Mahua Kothi where Idlis & dosas are served with sambhar and chutneys, and paranthas with homemade churned white butter, pickles & yoghurt, as well as a hot selection of eggs with freshly plucked accompaniments and freshly made home baked bread at breakfast time. Tuck into a choice of salads, soups, kathi rolls, fish or pastas at lunchtime by the cool shade of the swimming pool, the watering hole, or in your own private courtyard. Be sure to try the signature ice creams, including Mahua Kothi's tea ice cream (a blend of three teas: Assam, Darjeeling and herbal); mango; fig; butterscotch or kulfi, served with crunchy jalebi in a spicy jaggery sauce. Dinner are a delectable delight of a live spit roasting, customary khud cooking, thali meals & traditional folk dancers in the background.

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