Hidden Gems of North East Indian Cuisine

The food in the north-east region of India is very different from other parts of the country. It is influenced by neighboring Burma and China, and there is less use of Indian spices in the cuisine. A staple meat here is yak, which is used in many different dishes.


The rice-based Pukhlein is a traditional dish in Meghalaya. Made with refined oil and rice flour, it has a fluffy texture and is traditionally eaten with tea or coffee. It is a popular dish, especially during festivals. Pukhlein is a simple yet delicious dish.

The cuisine of North East India is rich and diverse, and the regional cuisine reflects the lifestyles of the people living in the region. 


Kheer is one of the most popular sweet dishes of North East Indian cuisine, and it is made with milk, sugar, and pistachios. It can be served either warm or chilled. It can be made with either whole milk or light cream. Adding ghee is optional, but it helps prevent the milk from burning and adds a rich flavor to the pudding.

In Bihar, kheer is known as "Chawal ki Kheer" and is made of milk, rice, sugar, and full cream. Another popular type is made with jaggery.

To make kheer:

    Black rice should be washed and soaked for at least three hours or overnight. 

    To prepare the kheer, use a thick-bottomed pan and stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

    When the milk starts to thicken, add the sugar and cardamom, and once the kheer is ready, serve it warm.


Khar is a North East Indian dish made from the ashes of a banana peel that is a staple food in the state of Assam. The peel is often used as a starter food in Assamese households, and are also regarded as one of the healthiest foods in North East India.

The Khar recipe is surprisingly simple, and the simplest version uses bananas; the best quality bananas are Athia Kol and Bhim Kol. 

    After soaking the bananas in water for five to ten minutes, they're ready to be grated or chopped. 

    The bananas are then dried, usually with the help of the sun, but smoke can also be used. 

    Once the bananas are dry, they are then charred in a pan over medium-high heat, which is useful when it comes time to cook food.


The regional greens, Bhut Jolokia, and meat are used to create these dishes, which are very light in nature and full of flavor. They are also prepared with mustard oil, which gives them a unique flavor. The regional ingredients are fresh and easily available.

Most Khaji dishes consist of meat and rice, with vegetables eaten as salads. The Khaji equivalent of biryani, Jodoh, is a staple dish. Jodoh is made of red rice, pork, and generous amounts of spices.

Kelli Chana

Kelli chana is a popular street food in Manipur, prepared with spices and herbs and served on lotus leaves. Another popular dish is chak hao kheer, which is a sweet and salty mixture made with black rice.

Kelli chana is a traditional dish from Manipur that gets its name from an old woman who used to sell spicy chickpeas under a tree. The chana is cooked with flavorful herbs and spices and served on a lotus leaf, which adds an authentic local flair.

Masor Teng

Masor Teng is an aromatic dish from Assam, in north-east India. It is cooked with a mixture of vegetables and meat, usually fresh from local farms. The meat is typically cooked in pungent mustard oil and can be chicken, venison, or fish, all of which are highly prized in the region.

    The ingredients used in Masor Teng include turmeric, which is used as a spice to rub the fish before it is fried. 

    Ideally, the fish should be marinated for 5 to 10 minutes before frying. 

    The fish should be lightly fried and not overcooked. 

    This dish is traditionally cooked in mustard oil, which gives it a great flavor and is healthier than other vegetable oils.


Tungtap is a fermented fish product consumed by the Khasi and Jaintia people of Meghalaya, India. This preparation differs from other forms of fish fermentation in that the fish is dried to very low water activity. This ensures a favorable environment for the growth of microbial cultures.

The process of making this product is very simple:

    First, a local species of fish is sun-dried and ground into a fine powder. 

    The fish paste is then mixed with wild petioles and put in earthen pots for about a week to ferment. 

    After that, it is eaten as a pickle.