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What to Eat in Nagaland
Naga cuisine, of the Naga people, features meats and fish, which are often smoked, dried .
21. Tehari and Biriani
Biriani is one of the oldest foods existing within these regions, and has its own food culture that is deeply steeped in history. The rice dish is found all over India and other parts of Asia, and is made slightly differently depending on the location. In Bangladesh, it is often made with mutton or beef, whereas in West Bengal you will find it with potatoes, egg, dal, fish or vegetables, and sometimes chicken. Tehari is a variant of biriani found most commonly in Bangladesh, and is most commonly cooked with beef, onions, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves, creating a very aromatic flavour. To taste some of the best biriani, you must travel to the city of Dhaka and take a rickshaw to Hazir Biriani, which is celebrated throughout the city for its amazing take on this age old dish. Existing for over 70 years and across two generations, you may have to queue for some time but it is well worth the wait.
22. Dried Pork
A traditional Naga kitchen is outdoors because a fire is one of the most essential components of cooking. Hanging above any Naga kitchen fire will be pieces of meat (both pork and beef), that slowly dry out and smoke high above the flames. After weeks or sometimes much longer than that, the meat is ready to be consumed. For one meal we just ate some of the smoked pork, and another time we enjoyed a stew made from the meat. It was crispy on the outside, a little like jerky, but just saturated with an intensely delicious smokiness. It was so good along with rice.
23. Smoked Pork Stew
Just as good as the plain smoked meat, was the smoked pork stew. The dried smoky pork was chopped into bite sized pieces before being boiled in a thin soup that included potatoes, tomatoes, and chillies. It was salty, and so smoky that I could almost taste the fire
24. Nagaland Pork and Dry Bamboo Shoots
One of the most famous Nagaland food dishes is dry bamboo shoots cooked with pork. This was one of the first dishes I had as soon as I arrived to Nagaland, and I was thrilled. In Nagaland, just like in Thailand or Korea, they are serious when it comes to pork. So you wont be eating thin strips of bite sized pork, they cook with huge chunks of pig. Often the pork is quite fatty, often big cubes of pork belly mixed in. If youre a pork lover, youll have a blast in Nagaland. To make this dish, the pork is fried with the Naga signature dry bamboo shoots and lots of chilies. The bamboo gives the pork a lovely aroma and unique flavor. I thought it was wonderful.
25. Boiled Vegetables
With nearly every meal I ate in Nagaland, we had a number of different boiled vegetables
26. Bamboo Steamed Fish
Bamboo grows everywhere in Nagaland, and it has many different uses. One of the common ways to cook is using tubes of bamboo. Cooked by Grandfather himself, fish were stuffed into a hollow tube of bamboo with a few light spices and then placed in the ash of the fire to cook. After the fish were cooked, they were simply emptied out of the bamboo into a bowl and ready to be served. They were quite plain and boney, but I could detect a nice hint of bamboo flavor in the fish. Along with some of the chili sauce, they were really good.
27. Roasted Intestines
Since pig is such a huge part of Naga food culture, you can be assured that nothing is wasted, and internal organs happen to be some of the most prized possessions (and rightfully so, they are some of the most flavorful). These roasted intestines were amazing, like naturally cured strips of bacon combined with sausage.
28. Beans Mix
This healthy earthy mixture included beans, tomatoes, peas, cabbage and all sort of other natural Nagaland ingredients. It was a delicious concoction that wasnt overly strong in flavor, but more of a garnish for rice and intended to be eaten with other stronger chili sauces and curries.
29. Bitter Melon
Being a huge fan of bitter melon, I was happy to see a big bowl of it for one of our meals in Nagaland. They were the little Indian bitter melons. I think they were just boiled, as they were quite shriveled up with little flavor other than their bitterness, but the chili sauce again is what made them so delightful.
30. Chicken Glutinous Rice Soup
We went to the market in Dimapur, chose a nice little chicken, a free range village chicken that is, and went back to the house. The chicken was cooked in a glutinous rice sauce. Just like many other Nagaland foods, it wasnt cooked overly spiced, but it was served along with some chili sauced which provided extreme flavor. I particularly loved this chicken glutinous rice soup. It was extremely soothing, similar to eating congee or Thai joke, and it was warm and comforting
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