The gentle and well-spoken Nagaland people don't mind spiciness in their food and every Naga household has some good deals of spices stored in the kitchen & food & dishes of nagaland are so yummy & special. Nagaland is mostly famous for 'Bhut Jolokia' (ghost chillies) and the ginger that is used by this is slightly different from the regular ones and hard to find the taste of it. Principally, the Naga people prefer to steam their food than fry them.
People of Nagaland (usually called as Naga) are much developed and progressive in fashion & food as well. They also speak fluent English as it is the common language to communicate and their behaviours are also much appreciable. The celebration of their intense culture is throughout the year and the Hornbill festival is a popular one to India. From their eccentric headdresses, strange sense of wardrobes and from their handlooms to their unique taste of food, Nagaland is a place of many mystical sites.
Famous Dishes of Nagaland
All the Naga tribes have definite cuisines which use meat, fish, local herbs, ghost peppers, ginger- garlic, and fermented products. As pork is beneficiary and popular among the Naga people, smoke pork with fermented soyabean along with rice and Chutney called 'Tathu' is a signature one among the traditional dishes. Other dishes such as snails with pork, silkworm larvae, and Naga curry made with mashed potatoes are also highly countable.
Here are the top ten traditional and famous Naga recipes/dishes:
Samathu is a well-known dish from the Sema/Sumi district in Nagaland and it is made with the right use of smoke pork and thick curry. It is an important dish loved by all the tribes of Nagaland and the taste is really good.
Samathu Recipe Ingredients:
- Smoked pork - 500 gm
- Chili flakes - 200 gm
- Mejenga (indigenous pepper) - 2–3 tbsp
- Garlic - 3 tbsp
- Ginger - 3 tbsp
- Bamboo shoot vinegar - 4–5 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Cut the meat into small cube-sized pieces. Add 6 to 7 cups of water and bamboo shoot vinegar in a stewing pan and cook the meat till the oil comes out. At the same time, keep checking if the skin of the meat is cooked or not. Add more water if needed.
- Once the oil comes out, remove the meat and keep it aside. Meanwhile, with the oil in the pan, fry the freshly grinded ginger and garlic till it become golden.
- Now, lower the flame and add the local chili flakes, Naga pepper, and the meat, and give it a good stir. Lower the flame, cook for 2 to 3 minutes with a lid on, and then cook for another minute without the lid in high flame. Samathu is now ready.
Akibeye is a flavoursome and spicy non-vegetarian dish of Nagaland with muster leaves and Colocasia roots. The dish is a thick gravy.
- Colocasia roots - 500 gm
- Mustard leaves - 200 gm
- Salt - to taste
1. Peel the outer layer of colocasia roots. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and cook till it becomes tender.
2. Once it is cooked, add the local chives or chopped mustard leaves with salt and cook for two to three minutes. Mash them well.
3. Serve with rice and samathu (pork pickle).
#3. Fish Cooked in Bamboo:
Fish cooked in bamboo is the one of most luscious and unique Naga food dishes. The dish is prepared by filling fish inside the tube of bamboo with some aromatic spices and allowed to be smoked over a fire. It has the taste of bamboo, which gives a unique flavour.
Fish Curry Ingredients:
- Fish - 500 gms
- Green chillies - as per taste
- Ginger - 2 inches
- Garlic - 10 cloves
- Bamboo shoots - 2 tbsp
- Coriander leaves (chopped) - 1/2 cup
- Salt - to taste
- Water - as required
- In a pan add the cleaned fish
- Coarsely ground the green chillies, ginger and garlic and add them to the fish
- Add the shredded bamboo shoots
- Add salt as per taste
- Gently mix them
- Add enough water above the fish level and cover the pan and cook on medium heat
- Continue to cook and when the water is about to evaporate add chopped coriander leaves and let the water evaporate completely which will take approximately about 15 minutes
- Your boiled fish with bamboo shoots is ready
Galho is a soupy mixture of rice, vegetables, or meat similar to a North Indian Khichdi. As this is one of the tastiest Naga food recipes, the dish is mostly prepared with a variation of seasonal greens flavoured with smoked pork. It is garnished with ginger and garlic.
Galho Recipe Ingredients:
- Pumpkin/squash leaves (or any green leafy vegetable)
- Rice - 200 gms
- Axone/Akhuni (Fermented Soyabean) - 1 tbsp
- Salt - to taste
- Smoked Beef/Pork - 1 kg
- Green chilies
- Water - 200 ml
- Put water, axone, and ground green chilies into a pot and cook it for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Next, add chopped (into 1/2″ cubes) smoked beef/pork into the pot and cook it for another 45 minutes or more until the meat becomes tender
- Put in the rice. Add in more water if required
- After the rice is almost done, add the chopped greens
- Let it simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, and turn off the gas. Add more salt if needed
Hinkevju is a simple dish prepared with colocasia, cabbage leaves, mustard leaves, and French beans. All the ingredients are boiled in water with a pinch of salt in it. People of Nagaland eat the Hinkevju daily.
- Colocasia root/arbi/sepankazhangu, raw (peeled and sliced) - 2 cups
- Water - 3 cups
- Cabbage leaves (shredded into bite-sized pieces) - 5 cups
- Mustard leaves (shredded into bite-sized pieces) - 5 cups
- Green beans (sliced) - ½ cup
- Salt - to taste
1. Wash and peel the colocasia roots. Slice into about 1 cm-sized chunk. Wash the cabbage leaves and the mustard greens and dry them gently with a cloth. Slice the green beans into 2 cm lengths.
2. Place the water in a pan/saucepan and let it boil on high flame. Add colocasia slices and let it boil on high flame again. Lower the flame, cover, and cook the colocasia for about 10 minutes, till it turns soft. You can keep the lid of the pan half-open so that the water would not boil over the edge. To make the vegetable soft, lift one piece out and try to smash it with a spoon. If it gets mashed, it is soft enough.
3. Now, add the shredded cabbage and greens, stir them and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt. Continue to cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stir and mash the colocasia at the sides of the pan with a spoon. Hold the pan steady with one hand while doing this, so that it does not fall.
4. When the liquid in the pan turns into milky color and becomes thick, turn off the gas and transfer the Hinkejvu to a serving dish. In Nagaland, Hinkejvu is an accompaniment to one or more of their spicy meat curries, chili sauces, and rice.
6. Pork Curry:
Pork Curry Ingredients:
- Pork - 500 gm
- Garlic - 25 gm
- Red Chilies - 10
- Ginger - 25 gm
- Onions - 2
- Red chili powder - 1/2 tbsp
- Salt - to taste
- Prepare the paste for the curry. Grind the ginger and garlic into a paste. Now, cut the pork into medium pieces, wash, and dry properly.
- Put the pork in a pressure cooker with over medium flame. Stir the pork so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the cooker. Stir the pork for about 3 minutes, add the salt and stir the meat again.
- Add the chopped onions and stir fry this again for a minute. Then, add the ginger-garlic paste, the sliced bamboo shoots, and the chopped red chilies (2 King chilies, if available) to this and gently stir for 5 minutes. Cover this, but do not close the lid. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Now, add the red chili powder, stir it for another 5 minutes. Add a cup of water and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Let it whistle for 5 to 6 times, and then turn off the flame. This Nagaland pork curry recipe is one of the favourite recipes of the Naga people. Apart from this, the Naga chicken recipe is also liked by many.
7. Black Sticky Rice Pudding:
- Black sticky rice — ¾ cup
- Water — 1 cup
- Milk — 2 ½ cups (I used 2 % milk)
- Sugar — ½ cup
- Wash the rice and soak it for 4 to 6 hours
- Drain the rice and add it in the pressure cooker with about 1 cup of water and 2 cups of milk. Cook until the cooker lets out 4–5 whistles (about 15–20 minutes)
- Transfer the rice to the pan and add sugar. Let it boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining cup of milk and mix it. Simmer the flame until it reaches the required consistency and then let the pudding cool. 4. Serve black rice pudding cold or at room temperature
8. Rosep Aon (boiled vegetables):
- Ladies fingers
- French beans
- Mustard leaves
- Nagalasan (in Naga)
- Green chilies
- Schezwan peppers
- Dry fish
- Cut all the vegetables in small sizes and put them on a pan/saucepan. Add the bamboo shoots.
- After washing the dry fish with some water, add it with the vegetables and add some salt.
- Let it boil, roast the Schezwan peppers, grind them and mix them with the boiled vegetables before turning off the heat. Rosep Aon is ready!
Zutho is the local beer, which is famous all over North-East India and the most famous beverage in Nagaland.
- Sprouted rice grains
How to Prepare Instructions:
- To make Zutho, un-hulled glutinous rice grains are soaked in water for three days.
- After draining the water, germinate the rice for 3 to 5 days in summer and 7 days in winter.
- After fermentation is over, some amount of water is poured into the vessel containing the mixture and it is filtered through a bamboo mesh.
10. Bushmeat:'Bushmeat' is one of the most favourite dishes of Nagaland and considered to be the most delicious dish.>
- Dog meat
- Ample spices
- Blended tomatoes
Bushmeat Recipe Instructions:
1. Add oil to a pan
2. Add onions, blended tomatoes with pepper
3. Add little water to make the gravy
4. Mix bushmeat and the dish is ready to serve.
Apart from these delicious Nagaland dishes, here are some of the most famous food of Nagaland that people should know are Bamboo shoot, Axone/Akhuni, and Anishi (dry colocasia stems and leaves). Dried or smoked meats are the main food of Nagaland.
As every state and every tribe has its own food habits, dress code, and lifestyle, Nagaland and Manipur are much similar to each other in food habits. It's high time to raise the consumption of traditional fermented food of Nagaland. Nagaland delicacies are also very tasty as well as healthy where people enjoy their veg and non-veg recipes. The people of Nagaland also love consuming Naga chicken recipe and fish curry recipe. Thus, the food of the Naga people is well known for its unique variety and taste.