The North Eastern states have always lured travellers from various parts of India as well as other countries. The amazing mountain landscape, fascinating wildlife and natural extravaganza of this region has made it a top tourist destination. However, for people with penchant for savouring new and unique delicacies, the Northeastern states hold special interest too. The cuisine of North East is also enthralling, with a wide gamut of meat, produce, herbs and spices used in cooking. Even the pickles of the Northeastern states are unique.
Pickles of the North Eastern cuisine
Like the main dishes, pickles made in North eastern states like Sikkim, Nagaland and Assam are distinct from regular pickles you can buy from food stores. They make use of various meat, vegetables and specific herbs to make these fascinating and distinctive pickles. Below listed are some popular pickles made in the North Eastern states:
This is a very popular dish in Sikkimese cuisine! Made with fermented bamboo shoots, this pickle has a tangy and sour taste hard to forget. It is made in hygienic process and kept in air-tight containers. The main ingredients used to make this pickle apart from bamboo shoots are garlic, mustard oil, chilli powder and salt. It is served with rice or roti in general. Variants of bamboo like Karati bans and Bhalu bans are used to make this pickle.
Sikkimese Tomato Pickle
Tomato pickle is prepared in many states of India but the Sikkimese variant tastes absolutely different from the majority. It can be served with rice or any type of momos. It is also simple to prepare. This tomato pickle is made by mixing boiled and crushed tomatoes with a few green chilies and salt. The pickle has a thick consistency.
Baah Gaaz & Bhoot Jolokia Achar/ Bamboo shoot & Ghost Pepper pickle
This is one Assamese pickle made with the famous fiery chili called Bhoot Jolokia. Other ingredients are Kokum, Turmeric Powder, salt, water and bamboo shoots. It is better to use horn shaped shoots. The shoots are cut lengthwise and grated after which these are mixed with other ingredients except the chilli. The mixture is left in a clean sealed jar for 2 weeks. After the shoots are fermented well they are dried in sun. Thereafter, the shoots are soaked in mustard oil and mixed with chopped Ghost pepper chili. After a few days, the pickle will be ready for consumption.
Aam aru Bhotjolokiar Achar/Mango and Ghost Chili pickle
This is another popular pickle recipe from Assam involving the Ghost pepper chilli. Chopped raw mangoes and Bhoot Jolokia are the main ingredients. Spices like Turmeric powder, Chilli powder and Mustard oil are also used to make it. The raw mangoes are soaked in salt and turmeric for 2 days. Then the pieces are sun dried on banana leaf for a day. Next, the spices are mixed with mangoes and it is kept in a jar, soaked in mustard oil. Finally the fiery red chilies are poured into the jar and it is left for maturing for a month or so.
Bilahi Tok (Swet and sour Tomato Chutney)
This is popular chutney served in Assam in occasions and ceremonies as a side dish. Apart from chopped tomatoes, seedless dates, chilies and salt are used. Paanch phoron and mustard oil also used to make the dish. After heating the spice in mustard oil, the chilies are added. Next the dates are added and after they begin melting, tomatoes are poured in. When it turns pulpy, Bilahi Tok is prepared.