Ever wanted to experiment with new recipes? Try a completely different cuisine using ingredients that are familiar to you?
We requested a few fabulous home cooks from the North east of India to share recipes to a few of our favourite dishes. North-eastern food requires less oil, spices and are quite simple to put together. For most of the recipes, ingredients are readily available and for things like axone ( fermented soya bean) or aromatic black rice, you can order online through www.thenortheaststore.comor www.giskaa.com
Bai by Annie Jamir @longchen guesthouse.
A Mizo dish, easy to prepare and eaten with plain boiled rice.Bai can either be vegetarian or non vegetarian. You need long or french beans, brinjals, green chillies.
Chop beans and brinjals into finger size chunky pieces, don’t slice them too thin.
Heat water in a vessel. The amount of water should not be too much but enough to cover the vegetables. Add salt and a big pinch of baking soda. Once it comes to a boil add the cut vegetables and chillies. You can add strips of ginger too. Put the flame on low and monitor it so that the water will not flow out of the vessel since cooking soda has been added. Don’t close the lid. You can add dry fish too. Once veggies are tender remove from flame.
Smoke pork axone by Ate’ Kevichusa @ate_kevichusa
An Angami Naga dish that’s top on our list especially when Ate prepares it.
Chop smoked pork into small pieces and boil with tomatoes and red chilli powder. Add salt to taste and let it cool for a while.
Add axone (fermented soya beans), cover the lid and let it cook.
Once the meat is cooked add pounded red ginger (rejatha or verada), garlic and fresh green chillies. You may add water according to how dry or how much gravy you want. Cover the lid while you let it simmer. After about twenty minutes, dish will be ready. Best eaten with short staple rice.
P.s. – Use the regular ginger (white bigger one) in case you cannot get the reddish one which is smaller and more pungent. Though the reddish ginger is best suited for this dish.
Black rice kheer by @robbiekhuman
This is a classic sweet dish from Manipur that is a must for us on all our trips to the state usually prepared for ceremonies and festivals. There are many variations to this dish. At Nongpok Sanjenbam village they make one of the best versions of it.
To begin with, take deep bowl and add enough water in it followed by a cup and a half of black rice. Leave the bowl undisturbed over night.
Heat a deep-bottomed pan on medium flame and pour in 12 cups of milk (preferably full-cream milk) in it. Once the milk comes to a boil add the soaked rice in it. Allow the rice-milk mixture to be cooked while stirring it continuously, until the consistency of the mixture thickens. Add 2 teaspoons of cardamom powder and one and half cups of sugar in the rice-milk mixture and mix well. Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan add 2 tablespoons of ghee and heat it on medium flame. Add 2 tablespoons of cashews in this pan and roast them until they get a golden brown colour.
Transfer the prepared kheer into a serving bowl and garnish it with roasted cashew nuts and 2 teaspoons of raisin. Serve hot!
This dish can be prepared with a short staple regular rice but it lacks the fragrance of the black Manipuri rice.
Images by Shalini Siva Prasad @orka.photography