By Nmami Agarwal
India is encircled by assortment of flavors in each and every state. Wherever you go you will find delectable flavors and distinct cooking styles. Talking about the North East region of India i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura are all covered with hills and plains with a luxuriant green landscape and a wide variety of rare and exotic flora and fauna. This place offers indigenous herbs and spices and represents different uses of bamboo in dishes.The different flavor and texture will make you drool for the cuisines.
The Agricultural Grounds Of North East
As we are talking about the agricultural grounds of North East region- the agriculture supports up to seventy percent of the livelihood to the locales of that region. The famous farming of that land are lakadong turmeric, rice, raja mircha (bhootjolokia), bird’s eye chili flakes, Jaiur (winged prickly ash), maroi nakupi (allium adorosum) and dried pepper long.
Spices cultivated in North Eastern part of Indian serve one or the other health benefits. For say, lakadong turmeric- known for its highest curcumin levels that have scientifically-proven for health benefits like boosting immunity, anti-inflammatory properties and much more. Next raja mircha- called as the hottest chilli in the world inducing your metabolism work on a faster pace. None-the-least dried pepper long too has been linked to several health benefits with minimal nutritional values, plant compounds and more water content.
But unfortunately, this part of India, remain unexplored in the cuisine department. So, here we are with a compiled list of flavors offered by 7 sisters.
- Hinkejvu: This simple dish is prepared by using colocasia (arbi), shredded cabbage leaves, mustard leaves and some French beans. The ingredients are boiled in water and then the real flavor comes from the assorted greens by adding a pinch of salt to give it the final taste touch.
Essential Ingredients: Mustard leaves and indigenous colocasia leaves, stem and roots.
Benefits: Colocasia contains nutrients and good amounts of antioxidants which decrease the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Mustard leaves are good for maintaining low cholesterol level.
- Fish with Bamboo shoots: Bamboo is commonly used in most of the dishes. Fish that is prepared in bamboo shoot along with spices gives delicious savory taste. The flavors permeate and make it an aromatic dish.
Essential Ingredients: Bamboo shoots that gives a unique texture and flavor to this dish.
Benefits: Bamboo shoots contain vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E and thiamin and riboflavin that are good for a balanced cholesterol levels and a good immune system.
- Ngaa atoibathongba: If you are willing to try stew, this might be a good option. This fish stew is common in the Northeastern states. Potatoes, tomatoes, lima beans and green peas are cooked along with Maroi napaakpi and other spices with very less oil. This fish stew is perfect for healthy eating.
Essential Ingredients: Hooker chive roots are known as Maroi napaakpi in the northeast (a bulbous herb with thick, fleshy roots) and lima beans.
Benefits: Hooker chive roots act as a tonic to the digestive system and good for a circulatory system as they contain allicin, vitamin K, vitamin c and other nutrients.
- Bai: This popular dish is made using, bamboo shoot, spiced with local herbs and vegetables like cauliflower stalks, florets, potatoes, beans, andrice that is cookedtogether until the rice is done.
Essential Ingredients: Fermented soya bean and dried pepper long or piper longum provides an intriguing medley of tastes.
Benefits: The essential oils in dried pepper help in treating respiratory problems and liver whereas fermented soya has a host of good bacteria that is beneficial for digestion.
- Khar: A nutrient packed dish generally prepared with raw papaya, mustard leaves, vegetables, pulses, fish or any other main ingredient that is mixed with kola Khar and cooked in water. Can also be made by adding meat.
Essential Ingredients: Kola Khar peels- of the banana tree trunk is dried and then burnt to make ash. The word kol means banana and kola means black.
Benefits: Banana contains antioxidants, nutrients like potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, protein, water and vitamins that help to moderate the blood sugar level and improve digestive health.
- Iromba: This fabulous dish is prepared with fermented fish, mashed potatoes, fresh green leaves, and spices. The dish is marked by its strong and piquant taste.This must-have side dish is also relished in evening snacks.
Essential Ingredients: Lakadong turmeric is a special kind of turmeric used in this dish (one of the most superior turmeric). It contains a high amount of curcumin when compared to the other varieties.
Benefits: Lakadong turmeric is a superfood that has a high amount of curcumin, it’s good for a healthy heart and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Dhekia Xaak: A vegetable commonly grown in the hilly regions of India. Dhekia Xaak (pronounced as haak) is cooked with tomatoes, dried shrimps, and dried mangosteen by just a simple stir fry! With all the flavors mixing together its taste is wonderful.
Essential Ingredient: Dhekia Xaak that is grown in this area is a very famous vegetable and is used in many ways in various dishes of Northeast.
Benefits: It’s a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, B-complex that maintain the LDL cholesterol level and aids in constipation.
Over to you
Every day you open a new chapter in your health book, make sure that it’s worth it. Always look forward, to eating healthy foods and your future health will be secure.