For the connoisseurs, India offers a complex and eclectic array of sub-cuisines to explore, which are equally vegetarian friendly and a delight to the taste buds. This is a picture of an Indian man in the Byculla area of Mumbai, India.
Byculla is a neighborhood in South Mumbai that photographer Kristian Bertel explored during his Mumbai trip. Byculla is also the name of a railway station on the Mumbai suburban railway on the Central Railway line. Here he photographed a vegetable market filled with colorful tomatoes, green chilis, cucumbers and salad.
Byculla, a place with heavy traffic
Most of the bus routes servicing South Mumbai, South-Central Mumbai, Central Mumbai and North-East Mumbai pass through Byculla. This is resulting in a heavy traffic, which has prompted the city planners of Mumbai to develop major fly-overs in Byculla, as early as the 1980s. Road bridges that can lead the traffic from the Southern part of Mumbai to the Northern part of the city. Byculla used to house many of the city's textile mills until the mills shut shop and moved out of the island city. As of today, few mills are operational and even they are on the brink of closure. Many of these old mills are now desolate and some are being razed down to make way for newer constructions. Byculla is railway station on the Central line and Harbour line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. It is located in the neighborhood of Byculla. All the fast trains halt at Byculla station both during peak hours and normal time.
People walking in the street in Byculla, India. The smells of street food, fresh vegetables and fruits, the noise, the crowd is something to be experienced not seen with a picture.
Pictures of a local market in Mumbai, India
On the photographer's trip to India, he got the opportunity to take some pictures of the local markets in Mumbai, like this one in Byculla. For those living outside India, the closest experience you may have are visits to Farmer's markets. The street markets are typically by the side of the road and can sometimes stretch out for a long distance. Each vendor either has a little shop or their own little cart on which they sell their wares. In most cases they specialize in one item or a group of items such as certain fruits or certain vegetables. You can find stores selling clothes, vessels, bangles and other household things. What the pictures do not convey is the hustle, bustle and the bargaining that goes on in these markets. The vendor is usually calling out to customers, the customers also want the best prices. The smells of street food, fresh vegetables and fruits, the noise, the crowd is something to be experienced not seen via a picture. The photographer hopes that the pictures in this blog post will help you to get a feel for the street markets in India. Even for South Asian people and at this vegetable market in Byculla, this wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and spices used in various Indian sub-cuisines can be mind-boggling because of the variety of region-specific names used for identifying the food items.
Woman waiting on the pavement in Byculla, India. What the pictures do not convey is the hustle, bustle and the bargaining that goes on in these markets. The vendor is usually calling out to customers, the customers also want the best prices.
Pictures from a vegetable market in Byculla
This blog post tries to compile and tabulate the various vegetables, fruits, grains and spices that are commonly employed in various South Asian sub-cuisines to help reduce this confusion in identifying and procuring various South Asian food ingredients, especially in the cross-regional, international markets. Maharashtrian cuisine is an extensive balance of many different tastes. It includes a range of dishes from mild to very spicy tastes. Bajri, wheat, rice, jowar, vegetables, lentils, and fruit form important components of the Maharashtrian diet. Popular dishes include 'puran poli', 'ukdiche modak', 'batata wada', 'masala bhat', 'pav bhaji' and 'wada pav'. 'Shrikhand', a sweet dish made from strained yogurt, is a main dessert of Maharashtrian cuisine.
Street vendor in Mumbai's Byculla area. A typical Indian meal consists of rice, roti, poli or bhakar, along with varan and aamtee lentils and spiced vegetables. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables. Traditionally, Maharashtrians have considered their food to be more austere than that of other regions in India.
Common nuts and seeds in the Indian cuisine
In Mumbai's Byculla you can also find nut sellers like the man portrayed in this blog post. Popular nuts used in India are chilgozas, almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, coconuts and peanuts. The seeds also include the pumpkin water-melon cantaloupe sesame and the poppy seeds. Coconut is used as a gravy thickener. All forms of coconut dry and fresh are used in the Indian cuisine. Coconuts are grown in South coastal region of India. While cashews are grown in South India in the province of Kerala. The quality of cashews is determined by their whiteness. Whiter the kernel, better is the quality. India is a major exporter of cashews world wide.
The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on a variety of flat breads and rice. The flat breads can be wheat-based, such as the traditional trigonal Ghadichi Poli or the round chapati more common in urban areas. Bhakri is a bread made from millet, including jowar and bajra, and forms part of daily meals in rural areas. In this picture an Indian woman is wearing a sari at the vegetable market in Byculla, India.
Women on the market are wearing sarees
The picture above is showing a woman on the market wearing a sari. A Sari, saree, sadi, or shari is a South Asian female garment that consists of a drape varying from five to nine yards in length and two to four feet in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, baring the midriff. However, the sari can be draped in several different styles, though some styles do require a sari of a particular length or form. Because of the harsh extremes in temperature on the Indian Subcontinent, the sari fills a practical role as well as a decorative one. It is not only warming in winter and cooling in summer, but its loose-fitting tailoring is preferred by women who must be free to move as their duties require as seen here at a vegetable market in Byculla in Mumbai, India.
Indian cuisine is overwhelmingly vegetarian friendly and employs a variety of different fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices which vary in name from region to region within the country. Most Indian restaurants serve predominantly Punjabi and North Indian cuisine, while a limited few serve a very limited choice of some South Indian dishes like Dosa.
Cuisine of Maharashtra
The cuisine of Maharashtra can be divided into two major sections, the coastal and the interior. The Konkan, on the coast of the Arabian Sea, has its own type of cuisine, a homogeneous combination of Malvani, Goud Saraswat Brahmin, and Goan cuisines. In the interior of Maharashtra, the Vidarbha and Marathwada areas have their own distinct cuisines. The cuisine of Vidarbha uses groundnuts, poppy seeds, jaggery, wheat, jowar, and bajra extensively. A typical meal consists of rice, roti, poli or bhakar, along with varan and aamtee lentils and spiced vegetables. Cooking is common with different types of oil. People love spicy food. Savji food from Vidharbh is well known all over Maharashtra. Savji dishes are very spicy and oily. Savji mutton curries are very famous. Like other coastal states, there is an enormous variety of vegetables, fish and coconuts, where they are common ingredients. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables. Grated coconuts are used to flavour many types of dishes, but coconut oil is not widely used, peanut oil is preferred. Kokum, most commonly served chilled, in an appetiser-digestive called sol kadhi, is prevalent. During summer, Maharashtrians consume panha, a drink made from raw mango. The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on a variety of flat breads and rice. The flat breads can be wheat-based, such as the traditional trigonal Ghadichi Poli or the round chapati more common in urban areas. Bhakri is a bread made from millet, including jowar and bajra, and forms part of daily meals in rural areas.
South Asian cuisine like the one in India and Mumbai encompasses a delectable variety of sub-cuisines and cooking styles that vary very widely, reflecting the diversity of the Indian subcontinent, even though there is a certain centrality to the general ingredients used.
Vegetables and food in India
As many areas of Maharashtra are drought prone, the staple food of the rural poor had traditionally been as simple as Bajri Bhakri accompanied by just a raw onion, a dry chutney, or a Gram flour preparation called Jhunka. This meal has, however, become more fashionable among the urban classes too. Bhaaji is a class of dishes consisting of vegetables. Some are made with a particular vegetable or a combination of vegetables. Bhaajis can be dry like stir fry or wet like the well known Curry. For instance, Fenugreek leaves can be used with mung dal to make a dry bhhaji or mixed with Besan flour and butter milk to make a soup like curry preparation. Bhaaji requires the use of Goda masala, essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard seeds. Souring agents include tomatoes, tamarind or Aamsul, added to give enhanced flavor to the dish. Depending on the caste or specific religious tradition of a family, onions and garlic are excluded in cooking. For instance, a number of Hindu communities in Maharashtra and other parts of India refrain from eating onions and garlic during Chaturmas broadly equates to the rainy monsoon season. Until recently, canned or frozen food was not widely available in Maharashtra and the rest of India. Therefore, vegetables used in a meal depended on the seasonal availability. For instance, Spring during the months of March to May brings harvest of cabbage, onions, potatoes, Guar Tondali, Shevgyachya shenga, Dudhi, Marrow, and Padwal. The Rainy Monsoon Season brings green leafy vegetables, such as Aloo. Gourds like Karle, Dodka and eggplant also become widely available in this season. Chili peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, French beans, peas and so on become available in the cooler climate of October to February.
Indian vegetable markets and grocery stores get their wholesale supplies from suppliers belonging to various regions and ethnicities from all over India and elsewhere, and the food suppliers and packagers mostly use sub-ethnic, region-specific item and ingredient names on the respective signs and labels used to identify specific vegetables, fruits, grains and spices based on their respective regions of origin.
Maharashtrians and their food
Maharashtrian or Marathi cuisine is the cuisine of the Marathi people from the state of Maharashtra in India. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from having mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staples of the Maharashtrian diet. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables. Traditionally, Maharashtrians have considered their food to be more austere than that of other regions in India. Although, because of economic conditions and culture, meat has traditionally been used quite sparsely or only by the well off until recently. Maharashtra's metropolitan cities, such as Mumbai and Pune have influenced the food habits due to urban population. For example, the Udupi dishes idli and dosa are quite popular, as well as Chinese dishes. Nevertheless, distinctly Maharashtrian dishes, such as ukdiche modak and aluchi patal bhaji remain popular.
Picture of a vegetable market in the Byculla area of Mumbai, India. Each vendor either has a little shop or their own little cart on which they sell their wares. In most cases they specialize in one item or a group of items such as certain fruits or certain vegetables.
Collection of pictures from Mumbai and India
The Byculla series of pictures is part of the photographer Kristian Bertel's collection of photographs and vignettes captured on his India journeys. Pictures that capture the adventure through the lens into Mumbai, India. What makes this publication different from others is that it covers the whole of metropolitan Mumbai, from the tip of Colaba, in the city, to the far-reaching suburbs of Dahisar and Mulund. This publication is a collaboration by many different photographers, which gives it the advantage of showing the city through different lenses. What unfolds is a city of amazing diversity. There are few photographs without people, because Mumbai is people. It is they who splash color. He works as a travel photographer and he is available for editorial and travel assignments all over Europe, Asia, Africa and in the Middle East. For further information and inquiries please:
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More pictures from India
If you are interested to see more pictures and imagery from India, you can see one of the slideshows, which also appears on the photographer's website.
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