From Tomato Fish Curry with Perilla, Doh Jem & Shana Kulai, Tanisha made sure that Delhiites get a taste of tribal cuisine from the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. Known for it's simplicity, this cuisine can surely be termed as a hidden flavours of the country
Food pop-ups have become increasingly popular in recent years, and regional cuisine is at the forefront of this trend. From street food to gourmet meals, pop-up chefs have been showcasing the unique and diverse flavours of different regions and mostly the regional food pop-ups are all about exploring the diverse food culture of the country.
In one such ongoing pop-up at The Park Hotel, Delhi in the capital Chef Tanisha Phanbuh of Tribal Gourmet has brought Meghalaya's lesser-known tribal cuisine to the people of Delhi. Talking about the background of this cuisine it sees a delightful blend of traditional and modern cooking styles. The flavours of Meghalaya are a reflection of the state's diverse cultures and geography. With rice being the staple food, the pop-up was an eye-opener for many who are exposed to the cuisine for the first time.
Tanisha who is known for her stint in Season 6 of Masterchef India showcased her experiential menu for which she made sure that all ingredients were locally sourced from Meghalaya itself. She has carefully crafted the plate with a little bit of everything right from sweet, sour, salty, and more. The menu sees umami-rich dishes from the north-eastern state. The ala carte menu was divided into small plates and big plates, while the small saw names like pickled and sautéed mushrooms or Shana Kulai (roasted red baby potatoes) with an assortment of chutneys, but it was the fermented fish pickle that stole the saw. While the bhoot jolika chicken wings were surely not for the weak hearted they could easily settle with Khasi fried chicken which is her version of fried chicken with Asian influence.
Explaining her food Tanisha says “through the ‘Meghalaya Kitchen' pop-up experience, we are making a conscious effort to showcase the diversity of India's North-eastern region and transform local foods into gourmet delights. I have used a lot of local spices and herbs, along with traditional cooking techniques to give the most authentic taste of the region on the plate”.
Breaking the palate came the crostini one that saw a chicken liver pate while the other was a mushroom pate. Shifting to the mains the veg options saw Dai nei mong (traditional black sesame dal), spicy jackfruit curry and more while for the carnivorous there was Fish Watepa a garo-style fish cooked in banana leaf and yes no meal would be complete without Pork in khasi style black sesame gravy.
Heading to desserts she plated the sha bad ja( tea panna cotta) made with sweetish, fleshy fruit named Sohiong and tea leaves as it happens to an important part of their culture.
This meal was an absolute display of her efforts to showcase the food of the state's tribes - Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya . The pop-up is on till 21st April.