One is either born with a taste or acquires a taste. One can easily acquire the taste of the food of North East India or may take lifelong to acquire it. Being born and grown up in Guwahati, Assam, I am fairly acquainted with some of the flavours of the food of the North East. The North East is made of eight states and it is injustice to coin a term called flavours of North Eastern food because every state has so many unique dishes and flavours, nonetheless we cannot deny that there is a binding taste, and let’s explore that taste.
That taste is defined by a lot of herbs, fresh meat and almost zero oil in a lot of food. This is what the owner of the restaurant, North East Flavours, in Green Park Delhi reinforces while explaining to the guests the different ingredients that goes into the dishes. The tricky situation about running a North-East restaurant far away in Delhi is to procure fresh herbs at regular intervals. Many small restaurants to save from this major logistical hurdle resort to different pickles to bring in the flavours, such as bamboo shoot and bhoot jolokia (Raja Mircha) pickle etc. North East Flavours is one of the few restaurants in Delhi that takes the pain of procuring ingredients from the North East at regular intervals.
I have enjoyed three dishes in North East Flavours --- Kukhura Ko Masu (chicken dish from Sikkim), Buff cooked with bamboo shoot and Raja Mircha and Nga Thongba (fish dish from Manipur). The chicken and fish dishes were new to me and it is not possible to delve into the herbs, but let me talk about the flavours. The chicken dish has a dash of coconut milk and the fish dish tastes more like the mustard oil induced Macher Chor Chori of Bengal and Masor Tel Suruha of Assam. The generous presence of herbs added to the taste. The Buff cooked with Bamboo Shoot and Raja Mircha was a dish that was made on request.
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