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Tribal Food of India


Chef Ankit Mathur works as a Chef Instructor at Culinary Academy of India


India or Bharat is second most populated and seventh largest country in the world. It is one of few countries which has got deep rooted and diverse culture. The diversity is in terms of its geographical feature,religion, culture, races, customs, traditions, art and craft.

There are several factors like various foreign invasions, mythological beliefs and political influence has led to India’s diverse nature. India not only has absorbed foreign culture but was also able to hold and spread its unique essence of culture all around the world.

Just like varied culture, Indian food is also influenced by various civilization, seasonal availability and historical background. Each community that lives in India has distinct food ethos. Indian food is mainly characterized by the usage of spices.Food in India is not only considered as meal but it is also an expression which brings people together and binds them with community feeling.

Some sources divide cuisine into regional categories like North Indian, South Indian foods while other sources furthermore divides them into state wise cuisine like Gujarati, Maharashtrian, and Bengali.But I would like to narrow down the culinary difference even further to different tribes.


Tribes are differentiated on the basis of six primary ethnic group, they are Negritos, Pro Australoids, or Austrics, Mongolids, Dravidian, Nordics and western Brachycephals

It is believed that there are five thousand well defined unique ethnical groups (tribes) found in India like Chenchus tribe in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, Dogris, Gujjars and Ladakhis in Jammu and Kashmir and Nagas, Bodos, Mishmis, Gharos and Khasis in the northeast, there are tribes like Jarewas, Onges, Andamanis and Sentinelese in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. All tribes are commonly termed as “Adivasis”. In hindi Adivasis means Original habitant, from “Adi” means beginning or origin and “Vasis”means dweller thus literally meaning Original habitant.


Out of all above mentioned tribes, “Bhil” are considered as third largest tribal group in India. The Bhils are divided into two groups: “Pure Bhils” and “Rajput Bhils”. The Pure Bhil live in mountainous regions of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan and they are also considered as link between Gujaratis and Rajasthanis while Rajput Bhils are mostly found in Tripura. The language spoken by them is referred as “Bhili

In Indian mythology, “Shabri” (Bhil women) offered “Ber” to Lord Rama when he was searching for Sita in Dhandaka jungle. In the history of India Bhil were considered to be warrior as they also have fought war against Moghuls and Britishers.


Bhils were usually hunters,survived mainly on hunting animals like rabbit, wild pigs, birds, fishes and gathering edible plant and fruits from the forest. Nowadays Bhils have settled down, mostly engage in agriculture and like to cultivate their own vegetable and fruits in their home garden or farms. But it is believed that percentage of consumption of protein rich food (meat) is still more due to readily availability of animals from forest and some of them are domesticated. “Kadaknath” popularly known as Black chicken is domesticated and eaten often.

Their staple diet consist of Maize, barley, millet, Rice and vegetable. They are addicted to use of tobacco and alcohol, making liquor from the flower of Mahua Tree and from the bark of Babul tree. Fruits like mango, custard apple, guavas, and jackfruit are consumed. Black gram, Horse gram and Red Gram is mostly used as dal or gruel. Seafood is an integral part of the diet and most families consumes it frequently. Dried “Bubla” (commonly referred as Bombay duck) usually cook with potato and brinjal as curry and eaten with rice. Brinjal and tomato are mostly added to all preparation as it is easily available and grown throughout the year.

Apart from these bamboo shoots, okra, drumstick are also eaten. Chili chutney and Garlic chutney are accompanied with all major meals. The other common

preparation includes Sogra, KachriMirchikiSubzi, Kadaknath Chicken Curry, Ragi

kaHalwa, Bubla fish curry, Bhutekisubzi, Drumstick curry, BajrekaKhicda, Bokde ka Maas.


Bhils also follow traditional methods of preservation which includes drying, roasting. Some families also preserve rice by storing them in bamboo baskets and coating with cow manure. Black gram and red gram are also store by using fire ash as preservative.

Bhils have battled many issues like illiteracy, unemployment and malnutrition. But today Bhil are slowly trying to overcome and has learnt to identify their needs and strength. Some people of the community have taken up animal husbandry and indulge in rising of Kadaknath Chicken.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 BrandCai


Kranthi kiran on September 26, 2020:

Very informative chef and good knowledge about tribal foods

Lakshmi from Chennai on September 22, 2020:

Hi, nice and well-researched article.

manideep on September 18, 2020:

Good one

Sourabh pandey on September 18, 2020:

Very nice chef got so much knowledge by this article really good

Santosh Malkoti on September 17, 2020:

Commendable research Chef... thanks for sharing such a rare information

Netra on September 17, 2020:

Very Nice!

Elviston Miranda on September 17, 2020:

Something new to learn knowing about the tribe food from india very informative

Arohan Mathur on September 17, 2020:

Very informative article. Interesting to know about the tribals and their food habbits.

Vinodh Kumar on September 17, 2020:

Very Intresting article about bhil's culture and it's quite informative.

Ravi on September 17, 2020:

Very nice article . .. ...

Shiva gajavelli on September 17, 2020:

Very nice article with lot of information and very good content of tribal food!!

Deepak Dhiman on September 17, 2020:

Very informative article

Pooja Malu on September 17, 2020:


Ameer on September 17, 2020:

It's very informative chef.!!

Vikas on September 17, 2020:


Sandip Madkaikar on September 17, 2020:

The author is a well experienced Chef and has expressed his views on Bhil tribe of India. The article connects us to our roots, self sustainable ecosystem is the need of the hour, and everyone should eat what they grow, they way our ancestors did. Overall a nice, precise and informative article.

Rajesh Gupta on September 17, 2020:

One must read this article as it has deep information about our own country food. Keep it up chef.

Sibaprasad sahu on September 17, 2020:

Very nice article with lot of information and good content of tribal foods

Reyyi Avinash on September 17, 2020:

Very Nice Article with detailed Information.

Amit Gupta on September 17, 2020:

Excellent work done, with lots of information on the tribal food.

Ajay sai on September 17, 2020:

Very nice article with lot of information and good content of tribal foods

Jeevantika Dhoot on September 17, 2020:

Very informative!!

Durgaprasad namani on September 17, 2020:

Wowww its awesome, a good detailed information...

Vikrant on September 17, 2020:

Great comments and information about food..

Pavani on September 17, 2020:

Very nice article

Sri karan on September 17, 2020:

Great content and a detailed article about tribal foods.!!

Sanika Udgirkar on September 17, 2020:


Zameer Ahmad on September 15, 2020:

I have read many articles on this topic but this article by Faculty member of Culinary Academy has covered all the important points related to Tribal Food Habits and Practices. Highlight of the article is information about “Kadaknath”.

Zameer ahmad

Food Enthusiast

vijay G on September 15, 2020:

very detailed and correct information,I am also from a tribe community

saibaba on September 15, 2020:

Very good article about tribal food

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