When you first hear about Ras no Fajeto, it may sound like a Mexican dish with ingredients that can scarcely pronounce. However, you may be surprised to know that this classic dish is in fact a Gujarati summer staple. Made out of mango pulp and curd, it is meant to be relished during the hot summer months. And while, even for a true-blue mango lover, the king of fruits may seem like an ingredient best reserved for desserts, once you make this dish you will be surprised to discover how perfectly the golden fruit fits into this sweet and tangy curry.
The top chefs of the country from Tarla Dalal to Sanjeev Kapoor have glorified the dish with their own take on its recipe.
But one may wonder, how come this gem of a dish made with ingredients that Indians can’t seem to have enough of remained largely undiscovered outside of Gujarat? Culinary experts believe that it may have something to do with the fact that for a long time, young Indians were looking outside of India, when they thought of cuisine variations. In the recent past, as more and more millennials are getting interested in exploring the indigenous cultures and cuisines, we may be on our way to discover many such lost cuisines.
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A Renewed Interest
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Over the years many important culinary traditions and cookbooks have celebrated the dish. Author Asha Khatau’s cookbook titled, ‘The Best of Epicure’s Gujarati Cuisine,’ features fajeta recipe alongside other regional classics such as Mohanthaal, Trevati Dal na Dhokla and Turia Patra nu Shaak. But still, this delight hasn’t properly been displayed outside of Gujarati traditional households. 25-year-old, Poorba joshi, who hails from Gujarat admits that while she has heard about this kadhi, it was only her grandmother who used to make it during the summer family feasts. Over the years, she says, ‘We have been having quick, easy to make dishes and the mention of ras no fajeto does evoke nostalgia. I think it’s about time, I dig out my family recipes and start making it.”
Joshi, may not be the only one interested in reviving ancient recipes that have a fascinating history behind them. In fact, a generation of young foodies are today in a mood to try various regional cuisines and that explains niche food festivals such as Parsi, Bihari and Haryanvi being hosted in metros.
The Rich History
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What remains interesting is that the origin of this dish is something that will ring a bell with most Indians. Traditionally, the dish was made so that every last bit of mango including the pulp scrapes could be utilized in the most efficient manner. So, the dish is made from last of the pulp that is scrapped out of mango. But what was born out of frugality is today the fashion statement of the gourmet. Famous chefs like Thomas Zacharias of The Bombay Canteen have prominently placed the kadhi in their Instagram posts and are talking about reviving it.
Best enjoyed with steaming hot rice or rotis, this mango kadhi is the stuff summer dreams are made of.