India’s North-East is an exciting melange of various tribes and cultures. Their flavors and dishes are as unique as their colourful way of life. Most of their dishes use simple and flavourful fresh ingredients like Bamboo Shoot, Bhut Jolokia and local greens. Though most dishes consist of meat, it is interesting to note how these are very light and lip-smackingly enjoyable. The dishes are prepared with Mustard oil to intensify the flavour.
If you are interested in a culinary adventure, here are 15 dishes from the North-East that you absolutely must try out:
1. Khar (Assam)
Any Assamese meal is incomplete without delicious Khar. This unique dish is prepared with raw papaya, pulses and a main ingredient. All these ingredients are then filtered in water through dried banana ashes for a flavour that is most unusual and refreshing. It is a rich dish generally consumed with lunch.
2. Kumurat diya Hanhor Mangxo (Assam)
This sumptuous delicacy from Assam is a duck meat curry cooked with Ash Gourd ( lauki ), and is reserved for special occasions. The use of whole spices, especially crushed black pepper, gives this dish its unique flavour.
3. Pitha (Assam)
Pitha is the most popular snack from Assam; usually had for breakfast or with an evening cuppa. There are many types of pitha. They may be can be either sweet or savoury, fried, roasted or barbequed inside a hollow bamboo stem. The sweet Pitha is preferred over the salty one.This finger licking Assamese snack tastes best with Doi (curd) and gur.
4. Fish Tenga (Assam)
It’s a light and tangy fish curry that is prepared with Ou Tenga ( Elephant Apple). The sour fruit brings out the subtle sour taste in this scrumptious dish. To enhance the flavour you can add a hint of fresh spices.
5. Sanpiau (Mizoram)
This is a very popular Mizo snack sold in the streets, and served at home. Prepared with rice porridge, it is served with fresh coriander paste, spring onions, crushed black pepper, zesty fish sauce and finely powdered rice.
6. Vawksa Rep (Mizoram)
This chewy meaty dish will instantly make you drool. Prepared with seasoned and smoked pork, chillies and fresh leafy greens, it is a delicacy in Mizoram. Herbs used in the dish are garden-fresh and locally grown.
7. Smoked Pork (Nagaland)
Nagaland is famous for its pork, smoked the traditional way. It is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It can be tossed dry with other ingredients or prepared into a curry with local flavours. Smoked pork with Bamboo Shoot accelerates the taste of the dish and brings out an intense smokiness. Pork with Akhuni ( piquant fermented soya bean ) or Anishi (fermented yam leaves) are other popular preparations. These dishes do not use too many spices. The only spicy accent is from Raja Mirchi: the spiciest chilli in the world. The perfectly cooked pork goes well with steamed rice. It can be enjoyed with a piquant dry fish chutney and boiled veggies on the side .