7 Naga Dishes To Explore The Flavours Of The North East

The usage of spices in Nagaland cuisine is renowned for being robust and tasty. Incorporating fragrant herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, pepper and fermented bamboo shoots into their cuisine is a common practice among the Naga tribe. 

A few must-try famous Naga delicacies are as follows:

1. Bamboo Shoot and Pork Curry:

 A traditional Naga meal, Bamboo Shoot and Pork Curry is renowned for its powerful, deep flavours and well-balanced ingredients. One could characterise the flavour as a lovely fusion of spicy, smokey, and earthy elements.   The curry gains a robust and savoury base from the strong umami flavour that the pork adds to it. The taste of bamboo stalks lends the meal an earthy, slightly woodsy flavour. The flavours of the curry seep into the shoots, bringing out the whole flavour profile. This curry is typical of Naga food, which is known for using spicy chilli peppers. A substantial amount of spice is added by using ghost peppers or other readily available chilli species from the area.  Spices with strong aromas, such as ginger, garlic, and different regional herbs, enhance the overall taste and aroma of the dish.

2. Galho:

 Galho, which has a blend of native Naga spices that contribute to a distinctive and robust flavour profile, is renowned for its complex and spicy taste. The addition of smoked meat, typically pork, gives the meal an earthy, smoky scent that improves its entire flavour. A prominent component in galho, bamboo shoots give the meal a distinct texture and umami-rich flavour. A range of seasonal vegetables and herbs are frequently used in galho, which adds to the dish's flavorful, fresh quality. Sometimes used in Galho, fermented rice, also referred to as "axone" or "akhuni," has a unique flavour. 

3. Smoked Pork With Raja Mirchi:

 A traditional Naga meal that highlights the strong and spicy flavours of Naga cuisine is Smoked Pork with Raja Mirchi. The inclusion of smoked pig, a popular and beloved ingredient in Naga cookery, gives the dish its unique smokey flavour. Raja Mirchi is one of the spiciest chilli peppers in the world, sometimes referred to as King Chilli or Bhut Jolokia. The dish's strong, spicy spice is well-known for giving it a distinct flavour. The dish's umami richness is enhanced by the smoked pork, which also adds savoury nuances and depth. Even though the food is quite spicy, expert Naga cooks frequently temper the heat with other flavours to produce a dish that is tasty and well-rounded. The meal might have flavorful components including ginger, garlic, and different local herbs enhances the overall taste of the dish.

4. Steamed Fish in Bamboo Shoot: 

A genuine Naga cuisine recognised for its unique flavour that highlights the regional flavours is steamed fish in bamboo shoots.   The umami and earthy flavour of the bamboo shoots improves the dish's overall flavour. Local chilli varieties are frequently used in Naga cuisine, and although this dish may be spicy, it is usually milder than other Naga dishes. The fish's inherent freshness and pure flavour are retained during steaming. Depending on the kind of fish and bamboo shoots utilised the flavours may be tempered by a natural sweetness. The dish gains an aromatic flavour and a sensory experience from the use of regional herbs and spices. The pork is prepared using traditional smoking techniques, which add to the unique taste.

5. Zutho:

Traditional Naga rice beer, or "zutho," is fermented, giving it a unique acidic and somewhat sour flavour. Depending on how the fermentation process is carried out and what ingredients are added, some Zutho varieties could have a hint of sweetness. The fermentation process and the usage of native rice varietals can add earthy overtones that deepen the flavour's complexity. Due to fermentation, zutho may naturally have carbonation, giving the beverage a bubbly quality.  In addition to being delicious, zutho has cultural significance in Naga cuisine and is frequently consumed at festivals, celebrations, and community events. 

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6. Axone:

In Naga cuisine, axone is a traditional meal made from fermented soybeans that has cultural importance.  Axone tastes thick and savoury with a strong umami flavour. The dish's depth is improved by the fermenting process, which also gives it a distinct, strong flavour. Axone gains a distinctive scent—one that could be robust and aromatic—from the fermenting process. Axone's flavour can be slightly tart, depending on the degree of fermentation, which gives it an additional layer of complexity. Axone is a dish enjoyed by folks who like robust and fermented foods because of its strong and intense flavours. Soybeans, the main component of Axone, are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. 

7. Nap Naang: The earthy and nutty flavour profile of black rice can give the custard a unique flavour.  Since puddings are usually sweetened, jaggery, sugar, or other conventional sweeteners are used in Nap Naang.  The creamy and cosy texture of nap naang varies depending on how they are prepared. Dietary fibre, which is helpful for the digestive system and can help you feel full, is abundant in black rice. Nuts such as cashews and other dry fruits can be garnished.