Northeast India is finally receiving its due credit of its diversity and rich cuisine, and a fair number of people are intrigued about our culture and forms. All thanks to media across platforms, addressing various aspects of the region. Well, there still may be few who assume that people here are from-the-wild-jungle-hunting-wild-animals-and-eating-it-from-a fire pit (We can’t help but silently smirk at their ignorance). But then, there is this inquisitive, well-informed group, which keeps itself updated with our ways of life. They know what we eat and can easily state that Pitha is from Assam, Jadoh from Meghalaya, Smoked Pork from Nagaland, Iromba from Manipur, Thukpa from Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, Bamboo shoots, soups, meat, exotic vegetables, Momos and noodles being common ingredients or dishes of our culture. With the temperature dipping constantly, layers of sweaters, jackets and bonfires do make winter in this region an experience. However, it would be incomplete without the wholesome comfort food that warms up our souls and tummies.
Here are 7 delectable dishes that we highly recommend to try this winter.
1. Koat Pitha (Mizoram):
We have heard of pithas from Assam and may have had the privilege to try some. They can be addictive to those who like it. And then there is Koat Pitha from Mizoram, also known as the Banana Pitha. These pithas are deep fried fritters made with banana, rice flour and jaggery. Similar to a dish call Unniappam from Kerala. Very flavourful, mostly consumed as snacks and can be quite addictive.
2. Shabaley (Sikkim):
With origins in Tibet, this dish is a common anytime snack, mostly eaten in Sikkim. Imagine a momo, shaped in flat semicircle or circle with meat fillings of choice. Essentially small–medium sized minced meat pies with crunchy dough on the outside. Best eaten with homemade chilli-tomato sauce. Soup is a lovely choice of an accompaniment, along with Shabaley.
3. Do’o Kappa (Meghalaya):
A simple traditional chicken stew made with green chillies, ginger, onions and edible soda. One can relish kappa of different meat types with different vegetables or variants types. Nonetheless, one won’t be disappointed. It could be served as a soup dish or eaten with rice as most Garo tribe people do. The tribe used to consume kappa, known as soda, for better digestion in the ancient days. It has also been said that soda can help reduce calories. So, perhaps this dish could help burn those stored fats away due to lack of exercise during winters.
4. Zan (Arunachal Pradesh):
Never liked porridge? Try Zan and you might change your mind. A popular dish in Arunachal, prepared with millet flour and boiling water. A customisable dish to enhance your taste buds, with vegetables of choice and smoked meat. Local-made spices add the exotic aromas and flavours. Considered to be low in calories and easy to digest, this spicy twist porridge is a dish to savour this winter.
5. Kumurat Diya Hanhor Mangxo (Assam):
A traditional delicacy dish, making it an integral part of any Assamese celebration or festivity. It is a duck meat curry cooked with tender White Ash Gourd with some whole spices, along with crushed black pepper that gives the dish its unique flavour. Best eaten with steamed rice for a savourful and wholesome meal. (Pic B)
6. Chi Al Meh (Manipur):
This healthy delicious soup stew recipe of vegetables will keep you warm like a hug during the winters. ‘Chi Al Meh’ means vegetable soup, wherein you can add noodles to make it a wholesome vegetable stew meal. Assorted vegetables, mushrooms, regular condiments, soy sauce and ginger often blend to make the aromatic delectable dish.
7. Gudok (Tripura):
A favourite and common dish among the locals of Tripura. Earlier, the Tripura natives used to prepare the dish in young wandal bamboo pipes. However, with the variety of bamboo being rare these days, it is being prepared using utensils, which robs the dish of the distinct special aroma and taste acquired from the bamboo pipes. Nevertheless, the ones prepared in cooking pans are still delicious which are prepared in number of variations, mostly made from vegetables and fermented fish. It is a mashed delicacy which is very similar to the Manipuri Iromba.