Rice and meat are staples, and form a part of most meals within the state.
Just like it is the case with other Northeast Indian states, the cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh contributes to its identity. Different tribes eat different dishes, all of which vary with region. Rice and meat are staples, and form a part of most meals within the state. If you’re looking to explore the cuisine of the region, here are eight dishes from Arunachal Pradesh that you must try:
Mainly prepared by the Apatani tribe of Ziro, pika pila is a kind of pickle made using pork fat and bamboo shoot, along with raja mircha or bhut jolokia. It is eaten as an accompaniment to other main dishes and rice. The pickle is spicy but not so spicy that it will scald your tongue.
Chura sabji is a soupy dish that uses fermented cheese (made with yak or cow’s milk), vegetables, and flakes of raja mircha. The chilli gives the dish a spicy flavour. A wholesome dish, it can be eaten both as a curry and as a soup. Chura sabji is one of Arunachal Pradesh’s most popular dishes.
Nou kai noo som
Made with chicken and bamboo, nou kai noo som is a favourite with tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. It is a type of stew that’s eaten in the hills, boiled with spices or just salt. Other types of meat like pork can sometimes replace the chicken. Fish, however, is not preferred for this preparation.
Ngatok is essentially a fish stew that also uses lemongrass and herbs. To make Ngatok, the fish is wrapped in leaves, cooked on hot stones and then minced. Local spices are added to the marinade used for the fish to give it flavour. The stew may be served on its own or with boiled rice.
A common snack within the state and also other areas like Mizroam, koat pitha uses bananas, flour, jaggery and mustard oil. All the ingredients are mixed and then fried like pakoras. The dish has a natural sweetness to it, owing to the addition of banana. It is especially a favourite with kids.
Wungwut ngam is made with powdered rice and chicken. The dish is cooked in a brass vessel because the locals believe that meals prepared in brass vessels have a better taste. To make the dish, rice is first roasted (without oil) until light brown and powdered. Marinated chicken is cooked on a low flame and then mixed with the powdered rice.
A kind of soup made with raw fish, ginger, garlic, chillies and local herbs, pasa was eaten by soldiers who hid from enemies as they could not light fires which might have indicated their locations to the enemies during battles. To make this well-loved dish, the raw fish is mashed and mixed with spices.
A roasted slice of beef is referred to as ‘lukter’. Raja mircha flakes are sprinkled on top of the meat to give it flavour. The meat is cooked until crisp. Usually served with boiled rice, the dish is a winter favourite. Besides being eaten with rice, it also makes a great snack during the winter months.