India may be a country wealthy in diversity. With the exception of celebrating varied festivals, we will additionally boast of a plethora of completely different cuisines, across the states! Towards the Northeastern region lies eight states. The states with the best diversity seen and ethnic background.
These states are also well known for the varieties of food found there. The traditional foods processed and prepared by women of Northeastern region are intimately connected to their socio-cultural, ecological, spiritual life and health.
The processing and preparation of ethnic foods not only demonstrate the creativity and treasure of food heritage of tribal women but also their incremental learning to sustain the life and ecosystem as a whole.
Below we have listed 30 best North East Indian Food that you should have and experience once in life.
1. Khar from Assam
Khar is a distinctive Assamese preparation that gets its unique astringent flavour from an indigenous alkaline product. A typical Assamese meal comprises a variety of flavours – astringent, sour, salty, bitter, sweet, pungent etc.
For the curious, this is indeed a taste without any parallel and only in Assamese food do your taste buds awaken to it.
2. Pitha from Assam
Pitha is no different than any other Indian dishes but is famous for its uniqueness. They can be either fried or toasted. These sweet and savoury dishes are an essential part of Assamese tradition and culture.
3. Kumurat Diya Hanhor Mangxo from Assam
This dish from Assam is prepared by duck meat curry cooked with Ash Gourd. It is often reserved for special occasions. The use of whole spices, especially crushed black pepper, gives this dish its unique flavour.
4. Fish Tenga from Assam
Known as a signature dish of Assam. Usually, the dish includes fish cooked in a tomato-based gravy. Veggies like potato, bottle gourd or ridge gourd too are sometimes added to the gravy.
There are obviously many versions where every household has its own recipe.
The gravy is simple, light and mild. Minimum of spices go into cooking this dish and it is best relished with hot steamed rice.
5. Laksa from Assam
Assam laksa is a traditional Malaysian fish-based sour noodle soup. It is one of the numerous varieties of laksa, popular noodle soups widespread throughout Southeast Asia.
The dish includes rice noodles, shredded fish, and sliced vegetables. It has a tangy taste, the sour ingredient generously used to spice the dish. It is one of the most famous street dishes found in the area, and a favourite with both locals and tourists.
6. Poita Bhat from Assam
Assamese Poita Bhat is a very humble breakfast dish and one of the very famous North East Indian Food. It’s a healthy body coolant for summers with Poita Bhat with Aloo Pitika is so comforting!
The fermented rice soupy kind of Bhat is traditionally served with mashed potato which is seasoned with mustard oil and some green chillies for flavour. A very popular, simple, poor man’s breakfast in Assam region is this Poita Bhat with Aloo Pitika.
7. Smoked Pork from Nagaland
This dish is special to Nagaland as pork is the preferred meat. Akhuni comes in powdered or cake form and is used commonly in stews along with other vegetables. Another popular combination is the dried river fish with akhuni.
8. Pork with Bamboo Shoots from Nagaland
This Pork with the bamboo shoot is a traditional and authentic Naga style pork curry recipe. It is an easy and simple zero oil recipe. Here the pork is cooked with dry red chilly, fermented bamboo shoot, ginger garlic and flavoured with Mejenga seeds (Sichuan peppercorns).
Delicious and exotic pork curry with amazing aroma and flavour cooked with simple ingredients and simple cooking technique.
9. Galho from Nagaland
Galho is a soupy concoction of rice and vegetables or meat. It has similarities with North Indian khichdi. It mostly used an assortment of seasonal greens and is flavoured with smoked pork or chunks of pork fat. A vegetarian galho is a very simple dish often garnished with just ginger-garlic or nothing at all
10. Thukpa from Arunachal Pradesh
Thukpa originally originated in Tibet. It is a Tibetan noodle soup. It is widely served in states like Sikkim, Assam, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh. The dish is available for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarian. There are different varieties of Thukpa that include Thenthuk, Gyathuk, Pathug, Drethug.
11. Kelli Chana (Spicy peas) from Manipur
Kelli Chana is popular street food in Manipur and must one our list of North East Indian Food. It is prepared with flavoured herbs and spices with chickpeas being the main ingredient in it. It is usually served on a lotus leaf with the aroma of the leaf.
12.Chak Hao Kheer from Manipur
Chak hao kheer (black rice kheer) is a black rice pudding, a traditional kheer recipe from Manipur. It is made of black rice and sugar. This black rice has a very unique flavour and is very aromatic and flavorful. The aroma that feels the house while cooking this rice is just amazing and feels heavenly.
13. Sana Thongba from Manipur
This is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in Manipur. Sana in Manipur means paneer. This paneer dish is very easy to prepare and contains less amount of spices. It goes well with steamed rice or roti.
14. Eromba from Manipur
Eromba, a preparation from the Meitei community of Manipur prepared with dried and fermented fish and locally available veggies.
The prime ingredient of this dish is the fermented dried fish known as Ngari in Manipuri. It is first sun-dried and then, fermented in locally produced and specially designed earthen pots called koloh or ngari chaphu by repeated smearing with oil without addition of any salt.
Eromba is a regular dish for the Manipuri households except those who are strict vegetarians and the dish varies from house to house who make this in their own way.
15. Usoi Utti from Manipur
This cuisine is also one of the most famous delicacies of Manipur. This meal is considered a heavy meal so it is not preferred in dinner. Green peas or soaked lintels are used for the preparation. Different varieties of Utti are available which include Utti Asangba (Made from green Peas), Hawai(Lintel) Utti, Torobot (White Guard) Utti and many more.
16. Thoiding Asuba from Manipur
Thoiding asuba is a Manipur indigenous side dish. It is an ideal side dish for indigenous Meitei. It requires less time and is simple to make since it does not include many ingredients. Sesame seeds are a good source of minerals, fibre, and even proteins. It takes 20-30 minutes to prepare.
17. Beef Singju from Manipur
This is a Non-Vegetarian product. It is spicy in taste because of the spice ingredients added. Often served as a spicy side dish, it is also popular as an afternoon or evening snack
18. Jadoh from Meghalaya
Jadoh is a very popular dish among the Khasi community of Meghalaya. It is made with rice and pork mixed with the spices, chopped vegetables and garnished with eggs or fried fish. It is mouth-watering because of its rich and unique colour. It is basically red rice, cooked with pork meat, it is also cooked with chicken or fish.
Along with pork a mixture of green chillies, onions, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and bay leaves are added and fried off, and then red rice is added and cooked off. Don’t miss it if you are there.
19. Nakam Bitchi from Meghalaya
It is a delicious soup, which is taken mainly after a heavy spicy meal. This dish is quite popular among Meghalaya People. The people of Meghalaya serve their guests with this delicious soup. This dish is made from dry fish with vegetables. Make it with boiling vegetables and fish. They do not add water to it. It is really nutritious and delicious.
20. Sakin (Rice Cake) from Meghalaya
Sakin Gata is a sticky white rice cake, a sweet delicacy of Meghalayan cuisine. The sticky rice is soaked in water overnight and mixed with sugar. Alternate layers of the rice mixture and roasted sesame seeds are arranged in banana leaves, placed in a special cooking pot and steamed.
21. Kapa from Meghalaya
Kapa is a comforting dish made using boiled tapioca, coconut paste, onion, red chillies, curry leaves and different spices. Do’o Kappa is a Chicken in Garo. Water is added for simmering. Cream and onion leaves can be used for garnishing.
22. Sohphlang Curry from Meghalaya
Sohphlang is native to khasi hills in Meghalaya. It includes ginger and garlic paste along with sweet potatoes and pepper and chillies. The local communities use sohphlang to treat parasitic infections and the tuber is also rich in Phosphorus and proteins
23. Alu Muri from Meghalaya
Alu Muri, was originally brought by Bihari immigrants to Shillong. This is prepared by mixing boiled potato pieces, tamarind juice, puffed rice, shredded radish, onion, red powdered chilly, and a particular black masala which helps in delivering the distinct taste to the snack.
All of this results in a spicy and addictive snack which steals you away from conscious existence for the few minutes that you consume it.
24. Chikhvi from Tripura
This dish is quite famous in Tripura and is made from stir-fried bamboo shoots and sliced pork. The flavour of bamboo shoots with pork is delicious and you would find a little bit of moisture in every bite.
25. Sanpiau from Mizoram
This is a North East Indian food for street food fan. This is a very popular Mizo snack sold in the streets and served at home. Prepared with rice porridge, it is served with fresh coriander paste, spring onions, crushed black pepper, zesty fish sauce and finely powdered rice
26. Vawksa Rep from Mizoram
One of the popular pork non-vegetarian dishes from the state Mizoram. Vawksa Rep which is made from smoked pork which is stir-fried with baby spinach, mushroom and Oyster. To make the dish first a little oil is heated in a pan.
Ginger garlic paste is added to it. Oysters mushrooms are added to it along with some salt. It is stirred to remove water from the mushroom. Smoked pork, oyster sauce and chopped chilli are added to it. It is allowed to cook on medium heat. The dish once prepared is served hot.
27. Shapale from Sikkim
A Tibetan dish, quite famous in Sikkim. It is also known as Shabhaley. Shaphaley is a combination of deep-fried flavours, bread, and a whole lot of minced meat. Originally as well.
The preparation begins with a mixture of ground beef, cabbage, and spices stuffed in the bread or the pastry. Later it is folded into semi-circles and finally deep-fried to perfection. The dish received imparts a crispy pastry with a soft flavorful filling inside.
28. Bangwi from Tripura
It is a special type of cake made only by Tripuri. This dish is made up into the shape of a cake by long-grained coarse-textured Guria rice and is fashioned. Rich chunks of garlic, cashew pieces, long-bodied sultanas and ginger gratings go into the making of Bangwi.
Each bite into the Bangwi cake will reveal a burst of textures and flavours that are spicy and aromatic. This dish can be taken at any time of the day and still tastes wonderfully delicious. The best thing about Awan Bangwi is that it comes wrapped in the fragrant Lairu.
29. Gundruk from Sikkim
A Nepalese dish, Gundruk is a vegetable dish full of mustard, radish and cauliflower leaves that are collected and cooked together with spices before fermenting it to a subtle sour taste. It’s often served during chilly or wintery seasons.
It’s made with fermented vegetables, tomatoes, onions, garlic. Traditionally it is cooked in an earthen pot to pack its flavours tightly, but other utensils are also used as per convenience.
30. Khuri from Sikkim
A traditional Sikkimese dish. Khuri is a roll stuffed with meat and vegetables, which is filling and delicious. It is made out of rolled buckwheat crepes with vegetables or meat.
It is an authentic dish belonging to the Lepcha community, who were the first people to settle in this small Himalayan state. If you like spring rolls, you’ll definitely love khuri.
Plus, it is a much healthier option than the former as buckwheat, an underrated superfood, is loaded with plenty of healthy nutrients
Northeast India is characterized by a diverse population with different ethnic backgrounds and delicious North East Indian food. Indigenous and fermented foods are an intrinsic part of the diet of these ethnic tribes.
It is the oldest and most economical methods for the development of a diversity of aromas, flavours, and textures as well as for food preservation and biological enrichment by manipulation of different microbial populations.
The northeastern region has a wide range of variability in the ethnic foods made of soybean, bamboo shoot, lai patta, tree bean and rai. You’d be surprised to see the preparations!
For all the food lovers out there who are looking for different cuisines to try from different societies and cultures, Northeast India should definitely be at the top of the list of places to travel. Their amazing variety of cuisine will get your taste buds asking for more.
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