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Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan – An Excerpt

Bhagwan Ke Pakwaan (or, food of the gods), a cookbook-cum-travelogue explores the connection between food and faith through the communities of India. In this book authored by Devang Singh and Varud Gupta, you will find legends and lore, angsty perspectives, tangential anecdotes, a couple of life lessons and a whole lot of food.

Here is a quite simple, unique yet delicious recipe for you to try out!


(Serves 4)

Past Peng’s watchful gaze, we enter the Karbi kitchen—the most sacred of domestic spaces—where the cuisine rests upon three cooking styles: Kangmoi or alkaline preparations which use ingredients such as banana bark or bamboo ash for the salt alkali; Ka-lang-dang or boiled preparations; and lastly, Han-thor, or sour preparations which dominate the cuisine.

The village traditionally uses fermented bamboo, but since it’s hard to procure and production has decreased over time, we replaced it with the canned variety and adapted the recipe accordingly.


½ cup canned bamboo shoots

2 tbsp mustard oil

1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2–3 red onions, sliced thinly

2–3 green chillies, sliced

1 tsp turmeric

1 kg chicken (halved chunks of legs,

thighs and wings)

½ cup rice powder

Salt to taste

Wash the bamboo shoots and boil in water for 10 minutes until tender. Drain the water and set the shoots aside.

Heat the mustard oil in a pan and fry up the bamboo shoots, about 3–4 minutes.

Add the ginger, garlic, onions and green chillies. Continue to sauté until they begin to brown.

Add the salt and turmeric.

Add the chicken pieces and let them brown for 4–5 minutes, before adding one cup water.

Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 7–8 minutes.

Slowly add the rice powder, a spoon at a time, until the gravy thickens. It should have a gelatinous consistency. Serve piping hot  with rice.


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