From staples to side dishes, meat to vegetables and dessert, Mizo cuisine has something for everyone
North East India is a less explored place, be it its culture, tourism or its cuisine. And the problem arises when we generalize the entire North East and club it as one unit, when actually, each of the seven sisters of the area have beautifully distinct cultures. And while we only look at momo as the sole representative of North Eastern food, the cuisines of every single state go several miles beyond that. One such state that does not get enough recognition for the kind of delicious food that it has is Mizoram. From staples to side dishes, meat to vegetables and dessert, Mizo cuisine has something for everyone. If you are looking to explore the diverse cuisine of this state, here are some dishes you should begin with.
Paanch phoran tarkari
Paanch phoran is one of the very popular spice mixes that is used all over the Eastern parts of the country, including West Bengal. It is a mixture of 5 whole spices that brings out a very different, rustic flavour to the dishes. Paan phoran tarkari in Mizoram can again be made both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, with the latter being made of mostly chicken.
This is one of the most popular dishes of Mizoram that can be found throughout the length and breadth of the state. It is a very healthy dish that is mostly non-vegetarian, but can easily be made into a vegetarian delicacy. In the non-vegetarian version, pork or chicken is added to the rice soup, while the vegetarian one has local seasonal vegetables. It is seasoned with several local herbs and spices.
Mizo cuisine is big on non-vegetarian food and especially fish. Misa maach poora is nothing but shrimp grilled in minimastic fashion, that brings out the true flavours of the sea food. The shrimps are placed on banana leaves and cooked on charcoal to get a smoky flavour. It is served with plain rice and vest enjoyed alongside a bowl of bai.
When we talk about the cuisine of Mizoram, how can we miss out on the local alcohol? Mizo beer is called zu and it comes in three main variationa - Rakzu, Zufang and Zupui. Zu is made with rice, millet or maize and is often enjoyed with regular meals or during celebrations which involve feasts and dance.
Last, but definitely not the least, let us talk about the perfect dessert to end your Mizo meal exploration on a high. Pitha, very popular around East India and even Bihar- Uttar Pradesh, has a variety of ways in which it is prepared, one being the Mizo koat pitha. They are basically sweet fritters made with jaggery, rice flour and bananas. It is crispy from outside but its soft interior melts in your mouth.
Mizo cuisine is very underrated and there are several dishes that need to be explored and devoured. So, foodies, start your introduction to Mizo cuisine by these staples from the state and do not hesitate to go beyond the list and try more!