Rahul the owner in the Red T-Shirt along with his customers
It was my pleasure when I met Rahul @ Pintoo Restaurant in Nagpur who took me to a Chillicious Journey of Saojee Food. They had been running this restaurant since last 30 years.. Well known in Nagpur for their food.. Mr. Pintoo used to actually sell Poha in his early days… He had risen from that level and earned his name.. His wife is the source behind the whole venture. The big kitchen is under her supervision and the dishes are awesome..
The red curry is so eye catching that you can’t resist the food.. Its really hot… in true sense can be called nasal cleanser…
The Vidharbha region has its own distinctive cuisine known as the Varhadi cuisine or Saoji cuisine. Saoji or Savji cuisine was the main cuisine of Savji community. This traditional food is famous for its spicy taste. The special spices used in the gravy include black pepper, dry coriander, bay leaves, grey cardamom, cinnamon ,cloves and ample use of poppy seeds (khus-khus). Non-vegetarian food especially chicken and mutton are commonly eaten in Saoji joints at Nagpur. There are numerous Savji bhojanalay ]in Nagpur .
Savji community is known for its hot and spicy non vegetarian delicacies and Savji masala in places where Savjis are concentrated in large numbers. Majority of the Savji people are non-vegetarian and hence preparation of variety of meat dishes is very common in the community. Goat meat, chicken and fish forms major component of Savji cuisine along with other vegetarian dishes. Alcohol consumption is not restricted in the community. Some of the common recipes include edmi (puris made of wheat flour, gram flour, chilies and other spices), khaimo or kheema (minced goat meat), shakanu chaknu (goat and chicken curry) prepared in special Savji spices.
Savji food is famous for its very hot and spicy flavor in many cities (where they are in large number) served in small family style restaurants called Savji khanavali or “Savji hotel” or bhojanalaya, found in large numbers in places like Hubli, Bangalore, Belgaum in Karnataka, Nagpur and Solapur in Maharashtra. There are a line of Savji bhojanalays[ in Nagpur that are very popular in Maharashtra ,” Saoji food is not very rich in terms of ingredients. Simple spices and Bhiwapuri chillies are used. The trick lies in mixing the spices which is known only to Koshti women,” says Rahul. “There is an urgent need to provide some unique identification or this cuisine too would get generic,” .
What has still kept the food so niche is the fact that Saoji can’t be relished by everyone and requires an acquired taste. “It is a combination of around 24 spices mixed in a proportion which remains a closely guarded secret,” says Rahul”
Stressing that it is impossible to replicate the taste and flavours of Saoji food elsewhere, Rahul, who runs Pintoo Saoji RESTOURANT in Nagpur Near TAELEPHONE EXCHANGE areas, says, “The food remains confined to this region as Koshti women make these preparations. The traditional spices are mixed in a method which is not common knowledge and very difficult for any outsider to get to know.” Rahul says that this food is so popular that people from Mumbai and Pune get it packed and carry it. ”
Saoji cuisine is by far the most different in taste feels celebrity I would like to popularize the food outside the region through my blog “I have always stuck to the authentic method and taste. Most of the time people don’t relish it. But I refuse to compromise. Saoji is hot and spicy and people should enjoy it this way,”