Indian food is a mix of delightfully rich flavours and tastes, which differ from state to state. As you traverse across the lengths and breadths of the country, you will encounter so many different recipes, ingredients and techniques of cooking. Just like the culture and language, each state also has its own set of culinary delights to offer. These are recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation just like a family heirloom. Each household has its own way of making these dishes, and so, no two dishes will ever taste the same.
The northeast of India, too, is nothing short of a gourmet food destination, with endless opportunities for food lovers to explore. We decided to look at some sensational northeast Indian recipes that will make you appreciate the cuisine of the region and its richness. It's pertinent to mention here that none of these dishes in any way 'define' or 'represent' the cuisine or foods of these states.
Here are 8 amazing dishes from the eight northeast Indian states of India that you must know about:
1. Kangshoi From Manipur
Manipur is the northeast Indian state with the largest variety of cuisines. A traditional Manipuri thali usually consists of 30 different dishes, including salads, curries and stews, as well as the delicious and purple-hued black rice and milk pudding chakao kheer for dessert. One of the most popular dishes from Manipur that you'd love to re-create at home is the vegetable stew kangsoi, which is made from dried and fermented fish. The dish is extremely nutritious and is usually prepared without using even a drop of oil. The fish in the stew can easily be replaced with any other kind of meat or even omitted without changing the cooking method.
2. Smoked Pork Curry From Nagaland
Naga pork curry is probably one of the most delicious non-vegetarian dishes of the Indian cuisine. Crispy, juicy smoked pork is cooked in a wonderfully spiced curry with the famous bhoot jholokia and bamboo shoots to create a dish that is both flavourful and hearty. The curry is usually eaten with steamed rice. This sensational curry has made it to the menus of a number of restaurants around the world. It's a must-try for every non-vegetarian!
3. Ngamtok from Arunachal Pradesh
The meaty preparation is an amazing dish that hails from the Nocte tribal community residing in Arunachal Pradesh. The uniqueness of Ngamtok comes from its cooking technique - with the help of hot stones. Stones are heated and put directly into the meat. The recipe uses ingredients such as ginger, garlic, local peppers, chilli, coriander and basil leaves. The paste of these spices is used to marinate the meat, which is then cooked with the help of the heated stones. The stones along with the meat are wrapped up in leaves and then left to cook for 20-30 minutes. The Ngamtok is served with rice. This is why Ngamtok or 'stone-fry meat' is one of the most well-known and interesting dishes of Arunachal Pradesh.
(Also Read: 5 Best North Eastern Restaurants In Delhi)
With unique blend of preparation and flavour, 'Ngamtok' is a much relished cuisine among #Noctes.#tribalfood#flavoursofarunachal#exoticfoodpic.twitter.com/nFN4DjRAb5— MyGov Arunachal Pradesh (@MyGovArunachal) January 7, 2021
4. Masor Tenga From Assam
The food in Assam is heavily influenced from Bengali and Oriya cuisines, while the food in tribal Assam is characterised by the presence of a number of herbs, and the dishes prepared in lower Assam make generous use of mustard paste. Masor Tenga, which is an Assamese fish curry, is one of the most popular dishes from the state. You can easily prepare this dish at home and relish it during lunch or dinner. The intensely comforting and tangy dish is prepared by cooking fish in a curry made with lemon, wild sour spinach and tomatoes. It is paired with steamed rice with some fresh green chillies.
5. Gorkhali Lamb From Sikkim
Sikkim is known for its thukpa and momos. But, Sikkimese cuisine is hardly just about these two! Sikkimese cuisine makes generous use of soya bean in its dishes, which is consumed in a number of ways and even fermented. Sikkimese food is also influenced from Nepali food. You may find a lot of Nepali street foods like sael roti and Chatamari in this north-eastern state. Sael roti is often eaten with Gorkhali lamb, which is prepared by grilling lamb pieces and sealing them with a chilli mixture before these are added to the curry.
(Also Read: 9 Unique Street Foods From the North East)
6. Bhangui From Tripura
The food in Tripura is influenced from the cooking styles and methods of Bengalis and Muslims, as well as the tribes of the state. The people of Tripura love their rice and the masterfully prepared flavoured rice dish bhangui is proof of that. The popular sticky rice dish is made from the flavourful gobindabhog rice, which is used in West Bengal as well. The rice is first sundried and then boiled with ginger, garlic and onions after being wrapped in banana leaves. Bangui is paired with any fish or meat preparation, like the wahan mosdeng dish from Tripura, which contains pork.
7. Koat Pitha From Mizoram
Mizo cuisine is influenced from the Chinese cuisine. The state's food is famous for using fermented pork fat or sa-um in their dishes. Koat pitha is one of the most popular Mizo snacks, which is prepared by coating bananas in rice flour and jaggery paste and then deep-frying them. The koat pitha, or banana fritters, is often enjoyed with zu, which is a special Mizo tea.
8. Jadoh From Meghalaya
Home to the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia tribes of India, Meghalaya is known for its diverse cuisine and its love for homemade rice beer. Two of the most popular Khasi dishes include the tung-rymbai and jadoh. The former is a fermented soya bean cooked in bamboo leaves; the latter is a rice delicacy with meatballs made from ground meat. Although jadoh is a Khasi preparation; it is something that you may see on the dinner tables of all three tribes. So, the next time you visit Shillong, you have to try these amazing dishes out!
Do yourself a favour and take a trip around these eight beautiful states to treat your palate to a plethora of unique tastes and flavours!
About Sakshita KhoslaSakshita loves the finer things in life including food, books and coffee, and is motivated by self-indulgence and her love for words. When not writing, she can be found huddled in the corner of a cosy cafe with a good book, caffeine and her own thoughts for company.