The seven sisters or the seven north-east Indian states are famous for their unconventional cuisine. The north-eastern part of India exposes your palate to adventurous dishes from dogs to beef, and frog legs to crabs. They also relish rice and fish like non-vegetarians in the rest of India and are also home to some unique noodle soups that are spicy and flavoursome.
While momos have taken over India as the most popular road-side snack, there are a whole lot of dishes in the north-east Indian cuisine that remains to be explored. If you're travelling all the way to the far east, you must try these mouth-watering dishes. Rice forms a major part of a north-east Indian's diet. You'll find different preparations of rice and fish in this part of India. Have you tried any of these before?
Bamboo shoot fry: This is something you’ll only find in the north-eastern states in India. The crispy delight is healthy and nutritious as bamboo shoots are low on fat and cholesterol content. They are also sources of high potassium, carbohydrates and dietary fiber which are all beneficial when it comes to stomach disorders. This crispy dish is often served as a starter.
Assam laksa: Laksa is a part of the Peranakan cuisine, which a combination of Malaysian and Chinese cuisine. If you’re a fan of noodles and soups, the Assam laksa is a fish based noodle soup that is spicy, sour and full of flavours. There are several other variants of Laksa in Chinese cuisine, but the Assam laksa made its way to World's 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011. The Assam here actually means ‘tamarind’ in Malay, but this is a popular dish in the north-east India too.
Poitabhat is Assam’s favourite meal during the summer season. Cooked rice is soaked overnight in order to prepare poitabhat and served the next day garnished with mustard oil, onion, chilli, and pickles. The 'poitabhat' preparation is sometimes made alcoholic, according to the whims of the person for whom it be prepared and this adds a zing to the Assamese palate.
Tenga: Once you’re in north-east India you’ll find fish and rice to be the most popular part of every meal. The tenga is a light and sour fish dish, another signature class of preparations. The souring ingredient could be mangosteen, lemon, etc., but the most popular is that made with tomatoes. It has a unique aroma that you’ll never forget once you’ve tasted this.
Paanch phoron tarkari: Here’s something for the vegetarians. For all those who thought the north-east was only popular for non-vegetarian dishes, the paanch phoron tarkari is made entirely using vegetables. The gravy is spicy and uses five spices specially found in north-east India. This dish is healthy and nutritious and is best consumed with rice and chapati.
Thukpa: Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup that is popular in Sikkim, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. The noodle-based soup can be prepared with vegetables or meat and will usually be found on top of the menu in any restaurant in north-east India.
Roasted duck: The Peking duck is a part of Chinese cuisine, but the roasted duck known as Poora haah in north-east India is a delight for the non-vegetarians. The duck is roasted as a whole and can be consumed either with rice or roasted potatoes to satisfy your appetite!
Grilled shrimps: There is no dearth of non-vegetarian dishes in north-east India. Grilled shrimps can be appetisers or find a place in the main course too. Shrimps cook fast and the best ones are those that are marinated. The typical flavour of grilled shrimps is something that is unique to north-east India.
Momos: The dumplings from north-east have now become a popular fast food in the rest of the country. Traditionally from Sikkim, momos or dumplings can be enjoyed with cheese, vegetables, meat, or tofu fillings.
Phan Pyut: It literally translates to ‘rotten potato’. If you’re in the north-east, there are people who consider this delicious! The potatoes used to prepare this dish are not harvested when ripe, but are left untouched till they rot. The rotten potatoes are picked and then are either consumed in their natural form or cooked or treated with spices before eating.