Flavours from the seven sisters of India | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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India has a lot to offer in terms of its diverse cultures. And when it comes to the North-eastern region, it’s nothing different. This part of our country is not just scenic, but has its own legacy of rich culture and traditions, that changes as we travel from one state to the other. And not to forget, the distinctive tribal community that contributes to it equally.  

The region with its diverse nature consists of more than 250 tribes and sub-tribes, tracing their existence to ancestors in faraway lands of Southeast Asia and Mongolia too. Each indigenous group honours life and death with the customs of their own civilization. Their traditions are reflected through their rituals and celebrations.

 

The North-eastern states of India are the least explored and quite underrated, especially in terms of culinary skills. Hence, the natural surroundings, historical phenomenon and age-old culture remained unaltered through ages. If you dive deep into their cooking styles and their kitchen hacks, it will leave you fascinated by the exquisite tastes and on-point techniques. You will also be surprised by the array of fresh flavours and ingredients that each part of this beautiful region offers.

 

Here’s the food from North East India for you, in all its glory!

 

Assam

Assamese cuisine is an intersection of various cooking styles from the hills! One of its most common traits is using fermentation and drying as methods of preservation. Most dishes of this, and other regions in this part of the country, consist of meat. Although, it is amazing how very light and lip-smackingly delightful they are.  

Trivia – Asia’s largest dry fish market is situated in Jagiroad, Assam. It also exports to neighbouring countries.

 

Nagaland

If you observe typical Naga kitchens, you will find at least one element common in each one of them. For instance, keep an eye for fermented bamboo shoots, michinga leaves, peppercorns and dried yam. These ingredients, alongwith some more, are a part of their daily meals and have been used for many years now.

Trivia – Since tribals are not keen on keeping up with technology; they are deeply connected to their roots. For many years now, the Naga tribes and residents have been consistent on preserving and promoting their traditional food cultures.  

 

Meghalaya

The Meghalayan cuisine is dominated by pork. They eat rice almost every day with zingy fish and meat preparations. They also have a treasure of local brews made with fermented rice. This rice-beer is also an important aspect in various religious celebrations of Meghalaya.

Trivia – Meghalaya hosted a food gathering of indigenous tribes from across the world called the Indigenous Terra Madre. The event was also entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

Sikkim

Sikkimese cuisine is a result of years of ethnicity and a great deal of contribution of previous generations and traditions. They are traditionally less spicy eaters, but, the flavours are a perfect balance of subtle and basic.   

Trivia – Did you know that Sikkim is the first Indian state to implement organic farming?

 

Tripura

People in Tripura are essentially non vegetarians, hence most of their recipes are meat-centred but vegetables are also a must-have! They believe in farm-to-plate eating. They prefer eating fish caught from the closest river, leafy veggies from their own backyard and more...

Trivia – Chuwarak is a scotch champagne from the state made with unique ingredients like pineapple, Mami rice and jackfruit. It is also said to be one of the safest alcohols to drink in the world.

 

Manipur

What stands out about Manipuri cuisine from the rest of Indian culinary is its use of assorted herbs and roots. Their cuisine involves a very rare use of oil. Fish is their staple and it is steamed or stewed with of fresh vegetables and spices.

Trivia – Even though their meals are majorly based on meat and fish, they have a large variety of scrumptious vegetarian dishes too.  

 

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh can be considered as a healthy-eating province, since they barely eat fried foods. Their vegetables and meats are strictly boiled or smoked. People here don’t like their rice simple, hence a lot of variations appear in their everyday meals.  

Trivia – Apong, a type of rice beer, is a traditional drink here. It is free of chemicals, home-made and delicate on the taste buds.  

 

 

 


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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.