India is a secular country and the unity in diversity shows all the time. We live together in peace and harmony (ignoring a few instances of misunderstanding), the food we have is also different. In fact food is the reason we are united!
It’s easy to spot Sambhar Idli in a North Indian home; likewise I know many mums (including my own) who make Pav Bhaji at home because it is easy to cook and has all kinds of vegetables. Indian food has a special place in the cuisine, the International chefs give a hundred names to Samosa, but then ultimately we will call it ‘Samosa’.
Coming to the North East India, the focus right now, I believe it is not so popular among the fellow Indians. The fact is not anything to be happy about because the foods from all over India can be found anywhere but the food from the North East India does not have a popularity that it should have.
The sisters in the North East share quite a lot in common starting from their dressing styles and of course the food. Even though as we all know that most Indian delicacies are spicy, the food from North East of our country is plain and simple most of the times.
If we see it through the eyes of a heath expert, minimal spices equal more healthy lives (Even though we would not want to admit it).
Here are a few secret ingredients that are used in their food and keep them healthy-
You may have this confusion in your mind, “Rice is popular all over so why does it even make it to this list?” Well I’d just ask you if you are kidding because rice is a miracle food and also requires less hard work to eat. Rotis expect us to work harder and not only that, it’s easy to cook. I know you agree with me on this too.
Rice is the staple diet in this region; I truly agree to this fact because I have seen my dad’s friend (from Manipur) who once had a plate full of plain rice for dinner with a green chilli because he was hungry and my mom served the dal late. Our fellow Indians from this region can have rice with anything; I just gave you an example.
Apart from the steam boiled rice, sun-dried rice is also had as a snack along with other methods will leave you in surprise.
I may not know what it feels to be a non-vegetarian, but we all must admit that it is full of all essentials more than the greens we have. Meat is perhaps the most popular kind of food here; they put meat in almost every dish that they produce. Name it, any dish and you will find meat in it. I am not critic of the meat factor in food; it is actually amazing or rather creative to add something we commonly have without meat, with meat.
Several varieties of fish is used in regional cooking, starting from Rohu to Chitala, Borali, Xingi, Xol etc., the names may be troublesome but the cooking is easy, the fishes are eaten dried, fermented, smoked or boiled. A Japanese touch in food is often seen in the food.
Tender bamboo shoots are used in most cuisine of this region, meat and pork are other main ingredients used for the same. Bamboo shoots? Seriously? How do they do that?
Exotic fruits and vegetables are the essentials along with the non-veg give a strong flavour to the food. Spices are used region wise though. Herbs also play an important role in the cuisine.
Foods fascinate us all, but personally I believe that our fellow Indians cook the most healthy kind in all of India. If not a non-vegetarian, why not get a vegetarian version of the North East Indian food and try to bring it in common Indian households?
Image courtesy: idiva
Sumedha is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in
Mass Communication. Since she was bitten by a travel bug in her childhood, she loves to travel and explore new corners along with experimenting with food.
Her interests include writing her heart out and believes in staying true to her work.