The farming community in Maharashtra excitedly looks forward to the winter season, not only because this is the time when the crops are harvested, but also because this is when they can enjoy a delicacy called hurda—the tender and sweet seeds of jowar freshly plucked off the plant. Hurda is high in fibre and provides them with much-needed nutrition.
What started as a recreational snack slowly gained popularity and today, farms all over the state conduct and celebrate Hurda parties!
A Hurda party is a party like no other. Farms in Pune, Solapur, Baramati and several other districts in Maharashtra, welcome guests, and the focus of the party is this simple snack that farmers love dearly. The drinks on offer are buttermilk or sugarcane juice!
Jowar grains are cleaned by hand and then roasted on a small heap of dry cow dung.
It requires skill to roast jowar in a way that it retains moisture and does not become too dry. All this hard work results in a delicious heap of Hurda!
Hurda is usually served with yoghurt, garlic or groundnut chutney, and sometimes, along with ‘kharda’ an extremely spicy pickle made of green chillies.
It can also be enjoyed with jaggery.
The newfound fascination for Hurda parties has prompted various recipes with this ingredient as a base. If you happen to visit a party, you might be offered Hurda chaat or fritters, Bhakri (flatbread), and Pithla (a curry made from gram flour). Occasionally, corn, eggplant, and onion are roasted along with Hurda.
Loksatta estimates that around 300-400 people travel to villages every weekend during the winter season to relish this delicacy. Hurda parties typically begin in the afternoon and can continue until midnight.