Recently I have been to Ranchi on occasion of my friend’s marriage. I stayed there for 3-4 days and really enjoyed my journey. There was nothing fancy in the city but I felt very relaxed and composed after a break from busy city life.
Jharkhand means “the land of forest” and 28-30% of the population are still tribal. The city got its existence in the year 2000 after being carved out of southern part of Bihar. The state shares its border with the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
Let me tell you about the cuisine of Jharkhand which make use of very little oil and spices are rarely used. Rice is their staple food and their cuisine comprises of varieties of saag (leaves of different shrubs and small plants) and also uses different types of flowers as vegetables like the flowers of drumstick. Mushroom is another food item which grows in abundance in the forests during the rainy season. A very rare variety of mushroom grows in Ranchi (capital of Jharkhand) popularly known as “Rugda” in the local language. It grows during the beginning of rainy season for a very short period and grows naturally in the muddy fields of Chotanagpur region.
Rugdas are small round balls which are white in colour. They are very soft from inside with hard outer shell. In Ranchi during the monsoon you will find tribal men and women selling them on the roadside especially in the markets on the Kutchery road. It grows in the forests of Tamar, Bundu and other forest areas in Jharkhand. The tribals go to these forests in the early morning and collect these rare mushrooms.
My friend told me that during the festive months when non- veg is not prepared at home they substitute it with Rugda which is cooked like a typical chicken recipe. However many people avoid preparing them at home since it involves a tedious job of cleaning them which is coated with soil. You can probably go to Capitol Hill restaurant (situated at Ranchi main road) along with your friends and family to enjoy eating Rugda and other local delicacies.
I am going share the recipe of Rugda which I came to know from my friend’s mom.
500gms Rugda (properly cleaned)
3 Onions finely Chopped
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 Cup Tomato Puree
2 tbsp oil
2 Green Chillies chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp Coriander Powder
3 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 Cinnamon stick
5 Whole Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
3 green Cardamom
Salt to taste
2 Cups Water
1. Heat oil in a pan on a medium to high flame. Add Rugda and fry them until they turn light brown.
2. Remove them and keep it aside
3. Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add clove, cinnamon, cardamom and bayleaf. Then add chopped onion and sauté them until the colour changes and the oil oozes out.
4. Mix the ginger garlic paste and the green chillies and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add red chilli powder, cumin, turmeric and coriander powder and mix them well.
6. Pour the water and allow it to boil on a low flame.
7. Add the rugdas and stir well for some time until they are little tender.
8. Now add tomato puree and salt and allow it to cook for 5-7 minutes.
9. Finally turn off the heat and sprinkle freshly chopped coriander.
10. Serve hot with steamed rice or chapatti.
Serves: 4-5 people
You must have tried varieties of mushrooms like button mushroom, shiitake, oyster etc but I can bet you that the taste of Rugda is much better than the above mentioned varieties. I highly recommend everybody to give it a try if you ever get a chance to visit Jharkhand.