Update: January 10, 2022 11:55 AM STI
By Pushpesh Pants
New Delhi [India], Jan 10 (ANI): Foraging started as a craze a decade ago – a return to globalization and the homogenization of food. The reaction, it was claimed, was to reestablish our connection to Mother Earth and persuade us to embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle full of the pleasure of fresh, rejuvenating flavors.
Noma in Denmark pioneered over a decade ago with the partner chef convincingly claiming that wild food connects people with nature and allows them a wonderful opportunity to slow down, reflect, introspect and to discover himself. It continues to maintain its position at the top of the charts and operates under the name Noma 2.0.
What seemed like a passing fad has over the years become a powerful addiction for the gourmet. Traders are forced to employ professional foragers to meet demand.
South Africa and Australia are home to many renowned restaurants offering cuisine inspired by the foraging tradition. Foods and Ingredients from the Australian Bush of the Outback. Large part of the menu – Blue cornmeal, sweet potatoes, Bunya nuts, Yam Daisy find pride of place in the menu.
Most chefs just add a stuffed touch to traditional recipes. But then there is a growing breed of innovators who take the search for food as their credo.
In Denmark, the chefs at Faviken only use food from 20,000 acres of land the restaurant has access to. The only exceptions are salt, sugar and alcoholic vinegar. Much of the rate includes smoked, dried, marinated, fermented, salted or burnt.
Alex Atala in Sao Paulo is one of the main representatives of the return to indigenous roots. Its cuisine celebrates its ancestral Amazonian culture.
Miyamasou, a Japanese restaurant with two Michelin stars, is famous for its Kaisiki (evening meal) offering an exceptionally eclectic selection covering a wide range of forage ingredients, from fresh flowers to wild bear. Another restaurant uses everything from edible clay, corn, quinoa and mahogany clams, and horse mussels. There are other restaurants specializing in forage foods on different continents.
Chef Vigilio Martinez Veliz offers a 17-course tasting menu covering all radians of Peru.
Kwan, a Korean Zen Buddhist nun, prepares a purely vegan meal using ingredients from the garden of Baekyangsa Temple and the adjacent forest. It is part of his spiritual discipline.
The Locavore philosophy emphasizes consuming only what is locally available. It also reminds diners that in nature there is no waste and therefore we should not waste the food we pick!
The modern city is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but recently those who inhabit these mega-settlements have begun to discover the “forests” it is home to, inviting foragers to search for food.
How easily we forget that the Indians of the rural hinterland have subsisted for generations through harvesting from the forest. Moringa (drumsticks) is widely used in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The nutritional value of the mooring is well known and according to local tradition, Fidel Castro once sent a Cuban expert to study if it could help meet the nutritional needs of his compatriots.
In Andhra Pradesh, gongura (Roselle) leaves are the wild green vegetables that add a distinct sour flavor to most savory dishes. In Nepal, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and the northeastern states, linguda / lingdi (fiddlehead ferns) are enjoyed as a sautéed vegetable or in pickled form. Stinging nettles were once the staple food for extremely poor people in the same belt. According to legend, the holy mystic poet Tantrik Millerappa had once fed for forty days of fasting on a diet of these nettles.
Tarud is an elephant’s foot yam-like yam that has been painstakingly picked in the Himalayan region. Bhutanese continue to grow asparagus in the wild and bamboo shoots in the northeastern states. Wild honey continues to be collected from beehives perched precariously on the ramparts of the millennial fort of Kalinjar in UP.
Hearts of palm (sea cabbage) are not usually found in India, but amaranths and mulberries (Shehtoot) are sought after along with other edible berries and flowers. Guchhi are yellow morels from Kashmir that sell for around 30,000 rupees per kilo and are arguably the most expensive feed.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not reflect those of ANI. (ANI)