Northeast India is a paradise for food lovers. When we talk about the northeastern food, the first thing that comes to our mind is momo. But northeast is much more about just the momos. In fact, there are other dishes, which are much better in taste. Most of the special dishes of northeast are non-vegetarian. Hence, for non-veg people, the northeast is the right place to explore the wide non-vegetarian cuisines.
What to Eat in North East India
Some of the popular dishes of northeast India are mentioned as under:
1. Khar, Assam
The Khar dish of Assam is the identity of Assamese people. Every Assamese is a lover of this dish. Khar means ashes, and the main ingredient of the dish is banana ash, which is filtered in water and used in very less quantity. The other ingredients are raw papaya and pulses. All these ingredients are boiled in water till the papaya gets cooked. The taste of the dish is refreshing to the senses. In the end, the dish is served hot garnered with mustard oil. It is generally consumed with sticky or plain rice and is very healthy for the body.
2. Kumurat Diya Hanhor Mangxo, Assam
Kumura is the Assamese name for Ash gourd. Haah means duck. Duck meat is the favorite dish of every Assamese household. It is tastier than most other meats. Duck meat cooked with ash gourd is a sumptuous delicacy one must not miss to try. It is generally prepared in high mustard oil content and spices. However, black pepper and crushed cardamom add an exotic flavor to the meal, making you hungry for more. This dish is a common preparation during festivities and special occasions. All non-vegetarians must try this dish when visiting the northeast.
3. Pitha, Assam
Pitha is the most popular snack of Assam. It is available in different forms and prepared with rice powder, known as Bora saul. It is both salty and sweet in taste depending on the choice. The round peethas are deep fried in oil and prepared with salt or jaggery and consumed with tea in breakfast. Then there are the long peethas. The long peethas are prepared with rice powder roasted to the shape of a stick. They are stuffed with either black sesame seeds or grinded coconut and sugar. They are also consumed with tea. These peethas are widely prepared during Bihu festival. Then there are also peethas, which are prepared through steam inside hollow bamboos. If you are visiting the northeast, then you should not leave without trying these.
4. Fish Tenga, Assam
Assam is home to a wide species of fishes. Fishes of different sizes are consumed with great zeal. People catch fishes with their own nets from nearby lakes and ponds. People even have own fisheries at their homes. Fish tenga is a tangy fish dish. Tenga means sour. This tangy dish is prepared with big pieces of fishes and OuTenga, Outenga is the Assamese name for Elephant Apple, which adds the tangy flavor to the dish. Different spices are added according to taste. However, black mustards add anearhtly flavor to the dish. The fish is first fried in mustard oil and then cooked with Outenga gravy. It is consumed with white rice.
5. Sanpiau, Mizoram
One of the popular cuisines of Mizoram is the Sanpiau, which is a reflection of their rich culture. This popular snack is widely prepared in all Mizoram households and also sold as street food. The main ingredients of the cuisine are coriander paste, onion, black pepper, tangy fish sauce, and powdered rice. It is considered as a very healthy snack. It is a vegetarian dish. However, sometimes egg Sanpiau is also prepared. The recipe is quite the same but is garnered with a scrambled egg.
6. Vawksa Rep, Mizoram
This is a sumptuous meaty dish to drool upon. This is Mizoram’s special smoked pork dish that is so softly cooked that it seamlessly falls of the bones and melts in your mouth. This is a favorite dish of every Mizoram household that is prepared in times of special festivities. Though there are different ways of cooking pork, this one is quite unique. It makes use of earthly flavors, local herbs and fresh green veggies and leaves. All the herbs and green leaves used in the dish are locally grown in the garden by the people.
7. Smoked Pork, Nagaland
Pork is consumed in huge numbers in the northeastern states. Smoked pork is a favorite of every pork lover. Though you can get smoked pork in different parts of the northeast, the Naga smoked pork is the one you should not miss to try. To prepare the dish pork slices are marinated with salt and spices and steamed in traditional ways. They are then stir fried with bamboo shoots or piquant fermented soya bean or fermented yam leaves to bring out an unparalleled taste. Not much oil is used in its preparation, as the pork meat is already high in oil content. Only local herbs and spices are used in the preparation of smoke pork. The Raja Mircha or Bhoot Jolokia is used in its preparation. The Bhoot Jolokia is the spiciest chilly in the world. This dish is served hot with white rice.
8. Bamboo Steamed Fish, Nagaland
Bamboo steamed fish is a Naga style Steamed Fish, which is an authentic dish popularly found in all Naga households. This dish is very easy to prepare. The main ingredients are red dried chilly fresh pieces of fish, garlic, bamboo shoot juice, and salt. Unlike the traditional way of steaming, this dish is not steamed in normal utensils. It is infact steamed inside bamboo made utensils. Hence, the dish is rich in rich and authentic subtle bamboo flavor. It is served hot with steamed rice.
9. Nga Atoiba Thongba, Manipur
Nga Atoiba Thongba is a disintegrated fish curry, which is a popular delicacy prepared in Manipuri households. It is a must have for all the non-vegetarians. This is a traditional dish of the Meitei tribe of Manipur. To prepare this dish, fish is cut into small sized pieces and mashed a bit. Other ingredients used in the dish are boiled potatoes, fresh bay leaves, onion, cumin, chillies, and chives.
10. Iromba, Manipur
Iromba is an ethnic dish of the Meitei community of Manipur. It is an healthy dish prepared with fermented fish. It has a strong pungent as the fish is fermented first. The other ingredients are mashed potatoes, green leaves and red chilies. The dish is prepared with very less quantity of oil. This dish is a lifeline of Manipuri cuisine is consumed as a side dish with a main course meal. It is also often consumed as a snack. Contrary to the pungent smell, the dish is mouth watering in taste.
11. Jadoh, Meghalaya
Jadoh is a signature dish of Meghalaya. It is primarily an authentic delicacy of the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya. It is a luscious pork and rice dish, which is a must in every festivity and important ceremonies in a Khasi household. The other ingredients include onion, ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, coriander, and bay leaves. It is prepared with very minimum oil. The appearance of the dish is similar to Biryani, however, the taste considerably varies. This dish is rich in aromatic flavor.
12. Tungtap, Meghalaya
Tungtap is a popular dish of Meghalaya. It is nothing but a dry fish chutney dish. Charred fish is mixed with onions, green and red chilies to bring out a spicy flavor in this delicacy. Small sized fishes are charred or fermented to prepare this dish instead of big fish slices. Fishes are sundried for 3-4 days keeping in jute bags before mixing them with other ingredients. This dish is widely consumed by the Khasi and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya. It is consumed as a pickle with main course cuisine. Besides being daily served on dinner tables, they are also available in local stores in packed form.
13. Gyathuk, Sikkim
Gyathuk is a Thukpa recipe from Sikkim also known as Noodle Soup in layman’s term. This popular dish from Sikkim is somewhat inspired by the Tibetan Thukpa dish. It is basically a boil delicacy that contains thick spaghetti noodles, boiled veggies, and slices of meat. Natural and refreshing home made spices and herbs are added to bring out an authentic Tibetan flavor to the dish. This can also be prepared without meat northeast is non-vegetarian-dominated region. Hence, it is widely prepared with meat content. When visiting Sikkim, this dish is a must try. It keeps your body warm in the chilling winter of the state.
14. Chikhvi, Tripura
Chikhvi is a sumptuous delicacy from Tripura to drool over. The main ingredients of the dish are bamboo shoots and pork. Pork meat is sliced in sleek pieces and cooked with stir fried bamboo shoot. It is a perfect balance of spiciness and smokiness. The pork so perfectly cooked that there is a tinge of moisture in every bite. If you happen to set your feet in the state of Tripura, then you should not miss out on satiating your taste buds with a platter of Chikhvi. Only home made herbs and locally grown spices are used in the preparation of the dish. Chikhvi is generally consumed with steam rice for lunch and dinner.
15. Zan, Arunachal Pradesh
Zan is one of the most popular dishes of Arunachal Pradesh. It is a porridge recipe prepared with millet flour and boiling water. It is an authentic dish of the Monpa tribe of the region. The state has a huge production of millets, maize, and wheat. Hence, most of the dishes are have these as main ingredients. The dish can be consumed with fresh veggies and boiled meat, which is mixed with the dish. It is considered as a healthy snack and consumed in breakfast or as evening snack. It can be consumed with bread slices and tea. Locally grown organic herbs are also added to intensify the flavor.
16. Pukhlein — Meghalaya
Pukhlein is a traditional dish of Meghalaya, which is prepared with rice flour. Though it is found in other Indian states as well, it owes its origin to Meghalaya. The dish is popular for its palatable flavors. The prime ingredients are rice flour, cane sugar, and refined oil. First, the batter is prepared with rice flour and cane sugar and deep fried in refined oil. The dish has a fluffy texture and lightweight. This is consumed as a snack in breakfast and evening with a cup of brewing tea. It is also prepared in times of festivities.
17. Masor Tenga — Assam
Massortenga is a tangy fish curry widely prepared in the state of Assam. There are different ways in which this dish is prepared. The fishes are locally captured from lakes and ponds. Small long fishes are used instead of big fish slices. The main ingredients besides fish are sundried tomatoes, lemon skins, and green chillies. As far as spices are concerned, only local herbs are used. Mainstream spices are not used in the preparation. The sundried tomatoes offer a tangy taste to the dish.
18. Sha Phaley — Sikkim
The Sikkim delicacy is Tibetan origin dish that is a true treat to the taste buds. It has all the favorite ingredients of a foodie soul i.e bread, meat, and oil. To prepare this delicacy, bread is stuffed with ground beef, onion, cabbage, chilies and deep fried in oil. The shape of the dish is similar to that of a dumpling. It is crispy on the outside and delicious in the inside. Now different variations have been added to the cuisine to meet the demand of different tourists. For vegetarians, this dish is also prepared with tofu fillings instead of meat. Almost all cafes and restaurants in Sikkim serve this heavenly dish.
19. Mui Borok And Chuwarak — Tripura
Mui Borok is a traditional dish of Tripura. The main ingredient of the dish is Berma. Berma is a dry and fermented fish, which is the main ingredient of almost of every dish of Tripura. This dish is cooked with local herbs and spices. No oil is used in its preparation, which is why it is utmost healthy. Chuwarrak is the traditional alcoholic drink of Tripura, which is widely consumed in the state. It is prepared with Mami rice, pineapple, and jackfruit, which has an exotic taste. The MuiBorok is generally consumed with Chuwarak by its side.