The North east India offers a diverse array of flavors when it comes to food. The North eastern food are characterized by the use of fresh ingredients and local herbs and spices coked in very little oil. The flavors can vary from simple and subtle to strong and intricate which brings an interesting and fresh taste to the Indian palate. The sweet dishes from the North east are equally interesting. They are simple with little use of Khoa or Ghee making it healthier and more nutritious in comparison to sweet dishes from other parts of India. These sweet dishes cannot be found in shops and restaurants. They are usually prepared in the local households so they are available only within the states. So you have to travel to the the Seven Sister states to taste these exotic and delicious sweet treats. Or you could try and make them yourself right at the comfort of your kitchen! Here are 7 sweet dishes from the Northeast with rough guidelines on how to prepare it.
Assam’s Narikolor Naru
This is one of Assam’s most favorite sweet dish. It is made of grated coconut and sugar that are rolled into a small ladoo. It is a simple, two- ingredient recipe.
Ingredients- Fresh grated coconut and sugar in 2:1 ratio.
Mix the grated coconut and sugar using your hands.
Preparation- Cook the mixture on slow heat and stir. After it is sticky, cool the mixture and make round small balls. Cool them and keep in airtight jars.
This is a sweet dish from the state of Meghalaya that is commonly eaten with tea as a snack. Rice flour and jaggery is used to prepare this sweet treat. It tastes delicious and is very filling.
Ingredients- Rice flour – 1/2 cup, Jaggery – 1/4 cup, Water – 2-3 tbsp, Oil to fry.
Preparation- 1. Add some water to the powdered jaggery and heat it. When it dissolves turn off the heat.
2. In a bowl, add the rice flour, melted jaggery and make a soft dough. Make small balls of it, flatten them a bit and deep fry in hot oil.
3. Serve as snack for hot tea.
Nagaland’s Koat Pitha
Koat Pitha is a very popular sweet dish from Assam as well as Nagaland. It tastes scrumptious and the addition of bananas makes it nutritious as well.
Ingredients: 2 Bananas (Over ripe and mashed), Rice flour – 1/2 cup, Jaggery – 1/4 cup, Oil for frying
Preparation: 1. In a bowl take the mashed banana, mix with jaggery. Slowly add the rice flour to the mixture.
2. Heat oil in a kadai, then spoon the batter in hot oil. Fry it in medium flame. When the pithas have turned golden brown drain them on tissue paper.
3. Enjoy with a cup of coffee
Mizoram’s Chhangban Leh Kurtai
This exotic sounding sweet dish is extremely simple and a tasty treat from Mizoram. It is also a two ingredient dish and is considered to be healthy as the dish is steamed rather than fried and a great snack for the weight watchers.
Ingredients: Rice flour, Jaggery
Preparation: Rice flour is mixed with jaggery paste. The mixture is enclosed in leaves and then steamed.
Arunachal Pradesh’s Khapse
This is a delectable sweet dish from the Arunachal Pradesh and a favourite of the Monpas. It is nutritious and a loaded with fiber. Instead of regular flour a special flour is usually used in the making of this dish called as rajgara or red millet which has good amounts of iron.
Ingredients: Rajgara or all purpose flour – 2 cups, Oil– 2 -3 tbsp, Sugar – 1/2 – 3/4 cup (as per your taste), Milk – 1/2 cup or as required, 1 quart of sunflower oil for deep frying.
Preparation: 1. Dissolve the sugar in 1 cup of warm water.
2. In a wide bowl, take the flour, add oil, slowly add the milk.
3. Mix everything together and knead to a soft dough.
4. Pinch out big balls, dust and roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you don’t use lot of flour as it will dunk more oil. Cut the dough in strips (maybe about an inch or a little less), then cut those strips into diagonal pieces. Try to make the pieces roughly the same size, so that they can cook at the same rate. Slice a slot in the middle of each piece of dough.
5. Pull one corner of the piece of dough through the slot in the middle, creating a twist. Pull the two ends of your nyapsha a little to even out the shape a bit. Once you have a batch ready, heat the oil.
6, Make sure the oil is hot enough. The slowly slide the Khapse making sure you don’t splash the oil. Fry in batches and do not crowd the oil.
7. Cook the khapse on medium, making sure it is cooked all through. Then remove with a slotted spoon on to kitchen towel.
Manipur’s Chakhao Kheer
The traditional rice kheer is familiar to the Indians. The Black rice kheer on the other hand, is another version of rice kheer from Manipur and it makes a delightful sweet dish. It tastes heavenly and it is full of amino acids and vitamins. The black rice turns purple in colour when cooked which gives a beautiful hue to the dish.
Ingredients: 1 Cup Black Rice, 8 Cups Milk (preferably full cream), 1 Cup Sugar or as per taste, 1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder, Raisins as desired (Optional).
Preparation: 1.Wash the rice and soak it in water for about 3-4 hours.
2. Heat the milk in a big vessel till it comes to a boil.
3. Drain the rice and gently add it to the Milk.
4. Cook on medium-low, stirring occasionally, till the rice is cooked and the Kheer reaches a thick consistency.
5. Add the Sugar, Cardamom powder and Raisins. Keep stirring till the sugar is dissolved and desired consistency is reached.
6. The Kheer will thicken more once it cools so adjust the consistency accordingly. If you think it has become too thick, you may add a bit of Milk here.
7. Take it off the heat and garnish as desired. I have used Cashews, Raisins and Pistachios here, you may also use slivers of almonds or any other dry fruit you prefer.
8. You may serve it warm or absolutely chilled as per your choice.
Tripura’s Awan Bangwi
This dish is one of the most popular sweet dish from the state of Tripura. It is a simple dish with just a few ingredients and is very healthy as it is steamed instead of fried.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup rice, 4-5 Cashew, 10-12 Raisins, 1 tbsp. Butter or Ghee,1 tiny piece of Ginger.
Preparation: 1. Soak the rice overnight in water. Soak the raisins in water for an hour. Break up the cashew in small pieces. Grind the rice with very little water along with crushed ginger to form a thick paste. Add the cashews and raisins.
2. Wash the Lairu/ turmeric leaves. Form a cone with the leaf and stuff with the paste. Seal shut with toothpick. Repeat for the remaining paste. I got two cones from the amount I had. Steam the stuffed cones in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. When cooled unwrap.
Picture courtesy: Internet