Run Entirely By Women, Ranchi’s Ajam Emba Takes You Through Jharkhand’s Tribal Flavours

It's one of those spots that has revolutionised Ranchi's culinary scene

by Tejashee Kashyap
Run Entirely By Women, Ranchi’s Ajam Emba Takes You Through Jharkhand’s Tribal Flavours

Jharkhand boasts a rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and cuisines. Drawing from centuries-old traditions, tribal communities in Jharkhand have crafted various cuisines. Cuisines, that are not only delicious but also deeply rooted in their cultural identity and connection to the land. Aruna Tirkey, a rural development officer, founded Ajam Emba, a restaurant, catering business, and cooking school to serve authentic tribal cuisine.

Essence Of Ajam Emba


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Tribal cuisine in Jharkhand is characterised by its simplicity, reliance on locally sourced ingredients, and emphasis on seasonal produce. The name Ajam Emba translates to great taste in the Kudukh language. And, certainly, the local Adivasi cuisine offered here has quickly become a favourite among the city’s foodies. Tirkey chose to create Ajam Emba in 2018, with an emphasis on indigenous food recovery. Tribal women and girls run this training centre and slow-food restaurant in Ranchi.

It’s one of those spots that has revolutionised Ranchi’s culinary scene and caused heads to turn. The décor is the first thing that catches the eye upon entering the restaurant. Earthenware cups and silverware give a rustic flavour to the eating experience, while painted village sceneries offer colour and richness to the décor.

For Aruna, eating cuisine from her region is important. On the menu, traditional and chemical-free pulse varieties such as red rice, madua, kurthi, urad, and arhar take centre stage. Popular seasonal recipes also use Jheerul and Mahua flowers. The regular menu includes red rice, ragi roti, chilka roti, and several types of pithas. Daily specials include local mutton and country chicken. Additionally, during tribal festivities, special delicacies like rice beer, or peetha, are served.

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What To Eat Here?

The cuisine offered at Ajam Emba is entirely inspired by the traditional Adivasi cooking methods. The restaurant is a pleasant reminder of the simple ways to cook, the rustic taste of tribal food, and the pure joy that preparing and eating food can provide us. You can find local products, tools, and food served in pattals. The emphasis is on the variety of seasonal food used in the regional cuisine. People love to savour seasonal vegetables, flowers, and pulses, which are the restaurant’s most popular meals. Additionally, there is a great need for red rice, marua, and gondli, which were once staples of a typical tribal cuisine but vanished over time.

Ajam Emba offers dishes that combine world and tribal cuisine in addition to traditional Jharkhandi food. Younger diners particularly like the madua (ragi) momo, which is produced from finger millet flour and combines flavour and nutrition. An inspiring endeavour that has produced a real-life success story.

Ajam Emba continues to captivate the hearts and taste buds of food enthusiasts. So, when are you heading here?

Where: Kanke Rd, behind Dr Rash Kujur Clinic, near Hotlips, Jhirga Toli, Gandhi Nagar, Ranchi
When: 11:30 am–9 pm
Cost: ₹400 for two (approx.)

Cover image credits: Facebook, Instagram/Ajam Emba