Whether eaten hot and steaming as part of every meal or made into cakes and crepes and eaten with sweet red tea, rice occupies a central place with Khasi cuisine and indeed the cuisine of all tribes in Meghalaya.
Pusaw is one such traditional Khasi snack. Made from a very special variety of red rice grown in the hills and paddy fields of Khasi Hills, the most famous Pusaw comes from the small village of Mawranglang in the South West Khasi Hills district.
There are two types of Pusaw –Plain and ‘Special’. The ‘Special’ Pusaw is where local variations in this dish comes in, but common additional ingredients include orange rind and egg. Since the West and South West Khasi Hills areas are famous for their oranges, the flavour of these local oranges and the texture of the local rice make for a beautiful, extremely aromatic combination.
Since this snack has no artificial ingredients or preservatives and neither does it have excess sugar, it is healthy and delicious accompaniment to the sweetened red tea popular among the Khasis. In Shillong one can find authentic Mawranglang Pusaw in Motphran and Iewduh, but also in a few local tea stalls.
Today, nearly 70% of the households on Mawranglang are engaged in making and selling Pusaw as a key livelihood activity and have begun passing this livelihood tradition to the next generation. The Pusaw from Mawranglang is especially popular and in high demand even by urban consumers. It is supplied to several big markets including Mawkyrwat, Nongstoin, Mawngap, Mawsynram, Nongjri and Shillong.
The unique thing about rice dishes in Meghalaya is how their taste varies across different regions of the state, deriving as much from the innumerable indigenous varieties of rice grown here as from a particular recipe.
Source: Meghalaya Basin Development Authority(MBDA)
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