Though our usual breakfast is a piece of buttered toast or a small bowl of cereals before rushing to work, most of us are aware of the staggering variety of food made in India as the first meal of the day. While several regions in India do not have a traditional practice of eating breakfast, there’s a dizzying array of dishes consumed in the states across the country every morning. Seen together they reflect incredible culinary diversity as well as thread of continuity in the food habits of different regions. Here are some of the most popular and delicious ones from Northeast India:
A traditional Manipuri breakfast includes a savoury flatbread called tan, which is had with changang or black tea. According to Manipuri food blogger Pushpita Aheibam, there are several variations of tan: it can be deep fried or served as a savoury crepe made on traditional iron skillet with rice flour, salt and water. The latter is know as the temai tan and can be additionally seasoned with turmeric powder, maroi nakuppi or garlic chives, and freshly grated ginger to enhance the flavour.
Try this recipe for a sweet tan with jaggery.
Like the rest of Mizo cuisine, morning meals are marked by simplicity. They feature rice with bai, a mixed vegetable stew cooked with fermented pork, green chillies and a dash of baking soda. Bai is usually made with mustard leaf, brinjal, potatoes and cabbage, with no spices and salt.
Here’s a recipe for bai.
Traditional breakfast in Meghalaya comprises several dishes made from either rice or pounded rice flour, with variations among the three main tribes: the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos. Putharo is a sticky rice flour pancake moulded and baked in an earthen utensil, often eaten with pork curry cooked with local neiiong or black sesame seeds. Other variants include pudoh, rice flour patty stuffed with pork and wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed, pumaloi or idli-like steamed rice flour cakes, and pukhlein, a deep fried snack made of rice flour and jaggery.
Here is a recipe for putharo.
Instead of breakfast, mornings in Nagaland start with an early meal that typically includes an indigenous variety of red, brown or black rice, served with a helping of vegetables and a meat dish. Each of the state’s 16 tribes has its own variations. For instance, morning meals for the Sema or Sumi tribe usually include dry pork cooked with either yam leaves or akhuni (fermented soybean chutney), steamed vegetables such as herbal leaves, beans and cabbage, and a spicy chutney made with a fiery local chilli such as raja mirchi and tomato. In contrast, the Aos combine pork with anishi or fermented yam leaves. According to Hukali Sema Akato, manager of the Nagaland House canteen in Delhi, Naga cooking uses very little oil and spices, instead opting for local herbs and techniques such as steaming, roasting and smoking. Mornings are also incomplete without a cup of steaming organic black tea without milk or sugar.
While there are considerable variations in the culinary practices of Arunachal Pradesh’s different communities, an average day starts with a cup of tea, and is followed by a morning meal that consists of rice served with a helping of meat such as smoked pork, steamed vegetables such as the leafy green oik shown in the photograph below and potato fry. Jumyir Basar, a tribal studies professor at Arunchal Pradesh’s Rajiv Gandhi University adds that the locals also make ample use of millet varieties such as Job’s tears, in cakes, porridge and even beer. For instance, the state’s Monpa tribe makes zan, a porridge-like thick broth made with millets, vegetables or meat and ginger and local garlic. However, millets are now gradually being replaced with rice.
Like its neighbouring states, Tripura’s food makes ample use of rice in dishes such as bhater bhat, where it is had with vegetables such as potatoes, broad beans and red pumpkin as well as boiled egg. The indigenous Tripuri people often eat cooked rice with a curry made using a traditional dry, fermented fish called berma which has a sour taste. Bangui is another common morning dish, made with sticky rice which is wrapped in a local leaf, steamed and eaten alone or with lentils. In summer, locals prepare panta bhat, a fermented dish made by soaking cooked rice overnight in water.
Popular Sikkimese breakfast dishes includes whole wheat breads such as the phale,which are eaten with the local cow milk cheese churpi and aloo dum. Each of Sikkim’s three communities, the Bhutias, Lepchas and Nepalis, have their own morning meals, but most families generally start their day with a heavy meal that includes lentils, vegetables, rice, pickle and chutney. Binita Chamling, the owner of the Delhi-based Sikkimese restaurant Nimtho, reveals that there are seasonal variations, with the lighter yellow mung dal being eaten in summer and the heavier black phaheli dal in winter. They make ample use of local vegetables such as squash, bamboo shoots, ferns, beans and rai ka saag, which are boiled and eaten with ghee, with minimal use of spices. Some such as gundruk or mustard greens are fermented to give them a sour taste.
Source: Huffington Post