Food is a universal language. All around the world, different cultures possess different foods that are peculiar to the people that live there. For food lovers who like to try cuisines from different societies and cultures, Northeast India should definitely be at the top of the list of places to travel. Their amazing variety of cuisine will get your taste buds asking for more.
The Northeast India region used to be regarded as the Seven Sisters because of the seven states (Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh) that make up the Northeast, until in 1975 when Sikkim was included into the Northeast region, and thus became India’s 22nd state. The states in the Northeast boast of different varieties of delicacies and cuisines with different flavors and spices that offer unique tastes peculiar to them.
Compared to other parts of India, the methods of preparing delicacies in the Northeastern region of India are distinct. If you are looking to experiment with the flavours of Northeastern delicacies, here are a few options you can decide to try out.
Kumurat Diya Hanhor Mangxo (Assam)
This delicacy is widely known throughout the Northeastern part of India, especially in Assam. It consists of curry cooked duck meat with ash gourd. This delicacy is often reserved for outstanding occasions. The unique taste of this dish is owed largely to the use of crushed black pepper
Fish Tenga (Assam)
Light, sweet smelling fish curry is one of Assam’s signature preparations. The key ingredient in a tenga is the use of a souring agent which lends the dish a tart tangy taste. There are wide variety of souring agents that can be use to prepare this dish, ranging from the commonly available lemon, star fruit, tomatoes to more exotic elephant apple, roselle leaves and garcinia. In order to improve the flavour, you can add fresh spices.
This Mizoram snack is very popular on the streets. Sanplaiu snacks are homemade treats, packaged and sold on the streets of Mizoram. It is often prepared with rice porridge and served alongside finely powdered rice, crushed black pepper, fresh coriander paste, zesty fish sauce and many more.
Vawksa Rep (Mizoram)
When it comes to delicacies that will leave you craving for more, this meaty dish should be top of the list. It is often prepared with properly seasoned and smoked pork, locally grown fresh leafy greens, herbs and chillies.
Smoked Pork (Nagaland)
Famous for its unique pork taste, Nagaland is home to one of the Northeast’s best pork recipes. The pork is usually roasted the traditional way, leaving the outside crispy and soft and juicy on the inside. Pork smoked with bamboo shoot improves the taste of the dish. Pork with akhuni (fermented soya bean) or anishi (fermented yam leaves) are other popular dishes.
Bamboo Steamed Fish (Nagaland)
This fish delicacy is steamed in a bamboo basket. Packed with robust flavours that fill your mouth when you take a bite. Some fresh spices like raja mirchi can also be used to improve the flavour of the dish. It is best enjoyed with steamed rice.
Nga Atoiba Thongba (Manipur)
A variety of fish curry without deep frying the fish pieces, this pasty fish delicacy is often prepared with boiled potatoes, peas, onion, fresh bay leaves, chillies, cumin and hooker chives. The fish in the dish slowly softens thereby releasing various amazing flavours.
A simple healthy dish, a preparation from the Meitei community, is made with mashed potatoes, fermented fish, and hot chillies. This fish delicacy is often associated with having a strong, pungent taste, but is a delight in Manipur.
In Khasi language, ‘ja’ means rice and ‘doh’ means meat. While most of the Khasi food involves some or the other form of meat, vegetables generally take a back seat and are only consumed as salads. Most opt for the jadoh that is cooked in pork fat itself. The locals also enjoy eating jadoh snam that is cooked in blood. A preparation of rice cooked with meat, using very less or no oil, pork or chicken blood is added for adding a distinct metallic taste to the rice.
Tungtap is a popular fermented fish product commonly prepared and consumed by the Khasi and Jaintia tribes. A distinctive feature is that it does not fall under the category of fish paste or fish sauce but it’s consumed as a pickle and a taste enhancer. The fish is charred and prepared with green chillies, onions and red chillies. This delicacy can be enjoyed with jadoh.
Khazi (Arunachal Pradesh)
A traditional cheesy rice recipe that uses red rice, fermented soya bean, yak cheese, and chives, Khaji is delicious and filling. Some prefer to add spring onion, ginger, and red chilli to make it more flavourful.
Opo (Arunachal Pradesh)
Opo is one of the most common drinks among the Adi-Galos tribe in Arunachal Pradesh. This rice beer is homemade and chemical free. Local leaves called oko and herbs are sun-dried and turned to powder by to prepare opo. The final product takes about 20 days before it is distilled to drink.
For indigenes of Tripura, this dish is most commonly included in lunch and dinner. It is prepared with bamboo shoots that are stir-fried and sliced juicy pork. This dish is both smoky and luscious.
This amazing recipe from Sikkim is in the form of a noodle soup. This flavourful recipe is often filling and can be taken with or without meat. The all natural and refreshing spices add to the flavour of this palatable dish.
Dhindo is prepared by gradually adding flour to boiling water while stirring. Traditionally prepared from ground buckwheat, millet, or corn meal, the sticky paste is consumed by making a small ball with one’s fingers, dipping it in a lentil soup, meat soup or milk, and swallowing without chewing. In addition, it is often served with chutney. This dish is consumed on a daily basis.
There are several others to mention but for we may never stop. Northeast India is blessed with amazing delicacies to choose from. These meals are sure to get you an overall palate pleasing experience.