Nagaland, April 3: On the north-eastern part of India lies the beautiful state of Nagaland which is home to diverse indigenous tribes and delicious dishes, with festivals and markets celebrating different cultures.
Also, it is home to the bhut jolokia or ghost pepper, one of the hottest chillies in the world. Even more importantly, Nagaland is known for ‘Naga’ cuisine.
India is home to numerous cultures, multilingual people, fascinating traditions, landscapes full of breathtaking beauty, and most importantly—lip-smacking dishes. Yes, for a foodie, India is absolute heaven.
Dishes such as biryani, kebab, korma, rogan-josh, dosa, dal-makhani, and many more have created an upheaval in the global food scene. Moreover, they have placed Indian cuisine on the world map even more firmly.
All the tribes of Nagaland have their own cuisine, and they use a lot of meat, fish, and fermented products in their dishes.
Here are Top 15 dishes from Nagaland that are worth trying
When Axone is used in smoked pork it is made into a thick curry with the use of a chilli powder called Samanthu which is a vital part of the dish making it more gravy-like and most importantly spicy.
This dish is prepared mostly in Sema/Sumi houses in Nagaland and is their signature food which is loved by all the people of the tribe. The dish is then slow-cooked to give it more flavour and more time to cook.
Aikibeye is a dish that comprises of Mustard leaf and Colocasia roots. This dish is cooked with very little salt and no spices giving it a bland flavour making it perfect for being eaten with the flavorful and spicy Non- Veg dishes of Nagaland.
Very little water is used as this is mostly preferred thick.
Akini (perilla seeds) Chokibo (snails)
Akini Chokibo, doesn’t the name say it all as described in the heading of course. So, this dish is basically made by roasting and grounding the Perilla seeds which are then cooked with paddy field snails.
Other things added to the dish while it is being cooked is a little bit of lard from the pork and Axone.
This is of course ‘THE’ dish of Nagaland. Whichever dish you might find yourself eating will always be accompanied by boiled vegetables like spinach, beans, carrots, Colocasia leaves etc.
Fish Cooked in Bamboo
One of the many ways that Naga people cook their food is by using Bamboo tubes.
The fishes are filled inside the tube along with a little bit of spice and allowed to be smoked over a fire. Once, the fishes are cooked they are ready to be eaten.
As you taste this dish you will feel a hint of bamboo flavour on your tongue, something different and tasty.
Bushmeat/ Dog meat
One of the favourite dishes of the Naga people is the Bushmeat or otherwise known as dog meat. It is considered to be very delicious by the Naga people.
The Wednesday Bazaar in Dimapur is like heaven to all the people as things are sold for cheap where a live dog is sold for Rs.500 to Rs.600.
Everybody knows what Apong is right? Well, if you don’t, let me tell you that Zutho is a famous rice beer that is made all over the North East especially famous in Nagaland and is the main source of enjoyment for the people.
It is a very simple and basic dish that many households of Nagaland enjoy as a part of their daily meal. Hinkejvu is made with colocasia, shredded cabbage leaves, mustard leaves and some French beans.
All of them are boiled to bring out the flavour and just a pinch of salt added.
It is the signature dish of the Ao tribe. Amrusu is prepared from ground rice, chicken, and bamboo shoots that are flavoured with green chillies, ginger and garlic.
It is generally consumed as comfort food and is extremely filling.
A soupy concoction made from rice, vegetable or meat—Galho is the Naga version of Khichdi. Generally, it is cooked with seasonal vegetables along with pieces of pork fat or smoked pork.
The vegetarian version of Galho is prepared using vegetables and garnished with ginger.
Nagaland is one of the highest consumers of pork in the country, and smoked pork is synonymous with the region.
Usually crispy on the outside and juicy and succulent on the inside, smoked pork is made of small pieces of pork tossed with dry spices or cooked into a gravy with local ingredients.
Spiced with bhut jolokia (raja mircha) and served with boiled vegetables on the side, smoked pork makes for a wholesome meal.
Nagas take their pork very seriously and when it comes to pork curry, the stakes go a notch higher.
Cooked with a variety of ingredients including fermented shoots of bamboo or fermented soybean, the Naga pork curry is starkly different from pork curry served in other parts of the country.
Cubed onions and green chillies are added to the curry to make the meat more flavoursome. This sumptuous delicacy is best when paired with a bowl of steamed rice and fish paste on the side.
Rongmei cabbage curry with pork fat
If there’s one place in India that can offer a vegetable curry cooked in pork fat, it has to be Nagaland.
The Nagas add a unique non-vegetarian twist to the local favourite rongmei cauliflower curry by cooking the delicacy in pork fat which makes it a unique binding agent and gives the dish a one-of-a-kind taste.
Also, like most Naga dishes, this one too has a generous dose of chillies and garlic, giving it a solid kick but balancing off well when served with hot chapatis.
Black sticky rice pudding
Ever wanted to end your meal with a hearty dessert but that calorie count held you back?
Let’s face it, this has happened to most of us! But if you’re savouring Naga cuisine, things are a little different! Made from the area’s distinct black sticky rice, the dessert is flavoured with nuts.
The hint of saffron and pistachios gives it a unique taste. Believe it or not, despite being a dessert, the black sticky rice pudding is actually good for your health and can even be consumed by diabetics.
Wouldn’t life be so much better if there were more desserts in the world like this?