Delicacies at CRPF Mela
By Anubhav Sapra
CRPF, the world’s largest armed police force and the proud sentinel of India’s internal security is all set to commemorate its Diamond Jubilee Year with the CRPF Mela 2014 from the 17th to the 19th of October. The three day extravaganza, organized by the CRPF family Welfare Association (CWA) is held at SDG headquarters, ISTM Grounds, Old JNU campus, New Delhi from 9 a.m. onwards. Reflective of real unity in diversity, the CRPF Mela presents scores of cultural shows, foot-tapping concerts, a delightful food festival which includes food stalls highlighting regional cuisine and a lot more.
The three day event is a confluence of craft and culture and will be based on three themes: family welfare, women empowerment, and youth well-being apart from the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the force.
Mrs. Suneeta Trivedi, President CWA said, “The annual CRPF Mela held on a central and zonal level alternatively, opens a window of opportunity to showcase CWA’s activities. It offers a platform for our homegrown talents and products to display their skills and rightful value. It also connects separated families and soldiers under one roof and gives them the scope to unwind and rejuvenate themselves before they resume their duties.”
The programme will feature CRPF’s 75 year long journey in the form of a short film. CWA members will be honoured and CRPF personnel will be recognized for their bravery and valour.
The CRPF family Welfare Association, a soul associate of the Force establishes firm support for the Force through the welfare and social domain. It works towards domestic empowerment, skill generation in the field of art and craft for families of the force and providing recreational avenues for the soldiers. The CRPF Mela is a conglomerated product of these efforts.
Now coming to food, one can indulge themselves in a wide array of delicious Kashmiri, Gujarati, Punjabi, South Indian, and Rajasthani delicacies at the regional food stalls. Having a sweet tooth, I started my food journey with GC Durgapur food stall and tasted some of the best sweets of West Bengal, my favourite sweet being a burfi with the stuffing of aam papad. In the same food court, Aye 1 Café, Safdarjung enclave has a food stall selling – Awadhi style biryani, roganjosh, chicken curry, and chicken satay. The satay is a must try. It was soft and juicy, covered with a layer of peanut sauce and coconut milk.
I was delighted to meet Prabhu Dayal, the supervisor of the J&K stall. He graciously introduced me to the J&K cuisine. I started with my all time favorite dish – Badarwa rajma and chawal. The beans were bright red in colour and delicious in taste. I also had Goshtaba, Yakhni, roganjosh, Rista, pulao and a delicacy of the streets of Jammu and Kashmir – Kalari Kulcha. Kalari is traditionally a ripened cheese product indigenous to Jammu and Kashmir. It is a very dense cheese that is usually fried in its own fat and salted prior to being eaten. After frying, it ends with a brownish crispy layer outside and soft, creamy, gooey cheese inside. The taste is similar to melted mozzarella cheese. Kalari, onion rings, and tomato slices are filled between the two kulchas with a topping of anardana ki chutney and served hot. The taste of Kalari Kulcha was heavenly. This is another must try in the CRPF Mela.
Next, I visited GC Jalandhar food stall which has a nice welcoming name – “Bibiyan da Chulha”. The beautiful interior has been designed by Team Jalandhar GC led by DIG Mr. Sunil Thorb and Deputy Commandant Parvinder Kaur. The CRPF Jawans, in traditional Punjabi dress are serving food with warmth. I had Amritsari Kulcha with chole, Amritsari fish, chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, keema naan, sarson da saag te make di roti. The dishes must try in Punjab food court is fish and Amritsari Kulcha.
The other food stalls are of Rajasthani, Gujarati, South Indian and Uttar Pradesh. I could not try much at these stalls. However, I am sure the food would be decent.
My food journey ended with a cup of coffee at RAF 1 BN. Apart from the food stalls, folk dances, puppet shows and magic shows promise to add colour, vibrancy and fanfare to the event. So plan a visit to the CRPF Mela this weekend to taste the regional delicacies and experience the culture of different states at one place.