Tried and Tasted: Where to find the best north-eastern food in Delhi
This week, we tell you where in Delhi you can find delicious cuisine from states such as Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.Updated: May 13, 2018, 11:00 IST
I was introduced to the food and people of Meghalaya way back in the 70s, during a visit to Shillong one wonderful summer. I had my first taste of sesame pork there – and became an instant fan of this north-eastern dish.
Time was when you referred to the north-east in Delhi, and people thought you meant Dilshad Garden. But one of the nicest developments in the last few years is the opening up of restaurants which serve food from the north-east of India.
To begin with, there was only Nagaland House, where I used to have some delicious pork curry cooked only with greens. Over time, other restaurants opened up, such as and Dzukou, Rosang and Nagaland’s Kitchen. Then I heard about the food being served at a restaurant called North East Flavours in the Uphaar Cinema complex in Green Park – and decided I had to try it out.
The menu has dishes from across the north-east – from Nagaland and Manipur to Mizoram and Meghalaya, and from Sikkim and Assam to Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. The various regions have their own characteristics. But there is a thread that runs through the region – the food is light and delightful. And often hot!
I love the pork preparations from this part of India. I have a friend from Sikkim who makes the most delicious pork dish with bitter gourd. She cuts the gourd into thin slices. In a little bit of oil, she fries garlic and then the pork. When it turns reddish, she adds chopped tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, salt and turmeric. She stirs it well, and then pressure cooks it. For half a kilo of pork, she adds 250g of karela.
The north-east region boasts of a wide variety of pork dishes – smoked pork, pork with bamboo shoots, smoked pork with fermented soya bean, pork with mustard greens and so on.
I had two delicious dishes at the restaurant – spare ribs from Nagaland and black sesame pork from Meghalaya. The ribs were crunchy on the outside and soft and fatty inside, and came with two kinds of chutneys – one red hot, tomato chutney, and one green hot chilli one! The ribs had been boiled, rubbed with green pepper, some herbs from Nagaland, and sesame seeds, and then fried in its own oil. The sesame pork came in thick gravy, flavoured with greens and herbs. Both were scrumptious.
The restaurant has various kinds of dishes -- including Manipur’s ngataoba, dry fish with bamboo shoot, Arunachal Pradesh’s wak-si-heaten-heamong, pork liver, small intestines and bamboo shoots, Nagaland’s honoso-ruchii-rhujak, roasted chicken with herbs, and Mizoram’s bai, a mixed vegetable stew.
The food of the region is light, healthy and truly delicious. And almost as varied as region is.
RECIPE: Food writer Hoihnu Hauzel’s simple pork dish
Ingredients: ½ kg fatty pork, cut into chunks, 1tbsp ginger garlic chopped, 1tbsp onion, green chillies, slit (as many you want), 2 potatoes, Bhut jalokia (Naga or Raja chillies) – optional.
Method: Wash, clean and dry the pork. Stir it in a wok, on low heat, without adding oil. It will release its own fat. Now add the ginger, garlic, onion and green chillies. Stir gently on low heat. Let it simmer. Add salt, chopped potatoes and pressure cook with just a little bit of additional water. Add the Raja chilli if you really like your food hot. Have with steamed rice.
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