7 Must-Know Agricultural-GI Products Of North East India
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The GI tag is both an identity and a proud symbol of heritage given to geographically indigenous products that are characteristic of the region they come from. The seven sister states of North East India have a very interesting geography that is not found elsewhere in India. Their local agricultural products are also uniquely diverse due to the soil and climate type of the region. Some of these products, like the ‘Kaji Nemu’ and the ‘Queen Pineapple', have also been given the status of state fruits. Some of them are natural products of nature, while others are more processed, like the ‘Yak Churpi’ cheese from Arunachal.

Whatever the food, their promotion has had an undeniable impact not only on local agricultural communities in terms of economy due to the complex production line involved in their cultivation, processing, and exportation but  also because it has managed to attract curious national and foreign tourists who are exotic food enthusiasts.

1. Kaji Nemu Lemon (Assam, GI 609)

Due to its unique shape, fragrance, taste, and high juice content, the indigenous Kaji Nemu has been used by the Assamese for generations to heal ailments ranging from common cold and indigestion to ayurvedic removal of kidney stones and also on everyday dals to add a subtle distinctiveness to it. It is currently being exported not only to other parts of India for consumption but also to countries as far as the UK for the purpose of turning it into potent essential oils derived from its peels. 

2. Naga Mircha (Nagaland, GI 109)

Also known as Raja Mircha or King Chilli, it is one of the hottest naturally occurring chillies in the world. It immediately burns the senses and is often smeared by locals on the trees and fences bordering villages to fend off wild elephants. Annual Naga Mircha festivals are common in districts like Kohima. Culinary wise, it is often eaten as a condiment after turning it into a paste or as an only spice addition to otherwise bland pork curries. On more festive occasions, the paste is used to infuse the oil in which rice, meat and  vegetables are cooked. 

3. Chak Hao (Manipur, GI 602)

It is a rule in the food kingdom that the darker a food’s natural colour, the higher its nutritional content. Chak Hao is a variety of black rice native to Manipur that has a higher nutritional content than any white or brown rice. When mixed with milk to make kheer, it becomes a complete protein. It is also a traditional ingredient in the state’s local medicines. 

4. Lakadong Turmeric (Meghalaya, GI 741)

Turmeric, which has been recognised the world over for its high curcumin content, is one of the premium spices priced at the higher end of the spectrum, especially when it is organic. It is farmed in the Jaintia Hills of the state. It is used by the local communities of the state to make delicious fermented soy condiments like ‘Tungrymbai’ in which Lakadong turmeric is a major ingredient. 

5. Yak Churpi ( Arunachal Pradesh, GI 809)

A diet of high-altitude grasses in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh has led the Yaks of the state to yield milk of a unique variety with a higher protein content, which gives its fermented cheese a distinctly salty flavour. Yak Churpi is a staple for the local tribes in colder weather when there is not much vegetation around.

6. Mizo Chilli (Mizoram, GI 377)

Mizo chilli is vibrant red in its appearance and looks like a ‘bird’s eye’. It is one of the smaller varieties of chillies. It is known for its unique spiciness . It is mostly sun-dried and used as flakes to flavour local dishes.

7. Queen Pineapple (Tripura, 436)

Tripura is already known for having a higher than national average yield of pineapples but the variety most cherished in this state is the golden-yellow Queen pineapple. It is abundantly grown and can be seen all along the highways through Barak Valley and Karbi Anglong. It’s distinct sweetness makes it perfect for eating fruit salads or making jams, chutneys, and other condiments that go well with both rice and roti.