Since the western foods crawled into Indian food arena, we saw a marked shift in the food choices towards modern foods like pizza and sushi. Amid the commotion of myriad cuisines in our country, here is a restaurant that has decided to stick to its roots. Notwithstanding the traditional foods being stripped of their worth, Ajam Emba in Jharkhand is doing its best to preserve the tribal or adivasi food. With tribal regions gradually diminishing, tribal food is in the throes of extinction. This tiny eatery tucked away in the quaint lanes of Ranchi is one of the very few places in the country keeping the traditional cuisine alive before it is completely lost.
Ajam Emba - in Kudukh language spoken by Oraon communities - means 'great taste'. And standing true to its name, Ajam Emba serves some indulgent dishes that are also healthy. The restaurant is run by women, which also transforms into a cooking school to uplift the socio-economic status of women. The social initiative was started by owner Aruna Tirkey, who herself is a former rural development professional.
The restaurant, with an earthy and rustic setting, truly lives up to its image of 'traditional' by imbibing ancient cooking techniques. Everything is cooked in earthen pots on wood fires. The food is beautifully served on fresh plant leaves. The eatery also claims to source all the raw ingredients from the local, organic produce. Even the chicken used for non-vegetarian dishes is local instead of industrially farmed chickens. 'The restaurant with a cause' also ensures remunerative benefits to indigenous organic farmers, aiming at promoting regional agriculture industry.
The menu at Ajam Emba offers a range of options to suit all kinds of palates. Some of the popular dishes include - Getu Fish Curry, Desi Magur Curry, Ghonghi Tiyan Veg, Sanei Phool Bharta, Koinaar
Phool Bharta, Jute Flower Curry, and Marh Jhor - herbs cooked in the starch of brown rice.
One thing you should not miss while there is fermented rice tea and millet momos. Millet was a staple grain of adivasis till wheat and other grains took over. So, here is an option to experience the age-old flavours of millet here; along with an unmissable healthy option of our favourite momos.
Ajam Emba, which started operations in the year 2018, is attracting the attention of food connoisseurs from everywhere who wants a slice of the ancient culinary treasures of the bygone era. With some delicious, authentic foods served here, this place is must-visit when in Ranchi, Jharkhand.