Ingredients From Northeast India That Have Been Awarded PGI Status
Image Credit: Khasi mandarin is known as the king of oranges and is cultivated only in Meghalaya.

Protected Geographical Indication is a tag assigned to certain products or ingredients that correspond with a specific geographical location or origin. The tag ensures that no other item produced outside of the specified region can use that particular name. This helps preserve the purity of produce. Within India, a lot of food items have been awarded PGI status and a few of these belong to the Northeast. We list some ingredients from Northeast India that have been assigned the PGI tag: 

Bird’s eye chilli, Mizoram

Considered one of the hottest chillies in the world, Mizoram’s bird’s eye chilli came into the limelight after it was awarded the Protected Geographical Indication tag. The chilli’s colour changes from green to red as it ripens and it grows only upto half an inch in size. Locals use it to make spicy chutneys and curries. In Assam, bird’s eye chilli is pickled in oil. Never use an entire chilli in one dish: since it's very spicy, even a little goes a long way. 

Boka saul, Assam

A centuries-old breakfast staple from Assam, boka saul is also known as ‘mud rice’ because of its squishy texture. The defining characteristic of this rice is that it doesn’t need to be cooked. It just needs to be soaked in cold water for an hour, after which it swells up and is ready to eat. Boka saul is traditionally eaten with some yogurt, jaggery and banana. It may also be enjoyed hot with butter or ghee. 

Karbi Anglong ginger, Assam

The Karbi Anglong district in Assam is a leading producer of ginger for both domestic and international markets. The ginger is grown as an important cash crop in the Singhasan Hills of the Karbi Anglong district using the age-old cultivation system of ‘jhum’ and ‘tila’. Around 10,000 farmers grow 30,000 tonnes of the ginger annually. The ginger produced has two variants:  Nadia, which is fibrous and Aizol, which is non-fibrous. 

Sei bangenuo, Nagaland

In the Tenyidie dialect, sei bangenuo translates to ‘tree tomato’. It is an egg-shaped fruit that has a sweet and tangy flavour and many health benefits. Locals usually grow this Naga crop in kitchen gardens and farmers raise the seedlings from the mature old plants. This has helped maintain the purity of the crop for generations. Sei bangenuo is found in the hills in Nagaland. It is more tart in taste than regular tomatoes.

Khasi mandarin, Meghalaya

Khasi mandarin is known as the king of oranges and is cultivated only in Meghalaya. The juice of these oranges is fragrant and sweet and the fruit’s popularity goes beyond its taste and smell. Local legend says that Khasi mandarin can help dissipate anger and is often given as a present to make amends for having offended someone. The fruit is traditionally harvested between November and February.