Wednesday, 14 February 2018

7 course North East Indian Dinner

I remember when I got married the first thing my mother-in-law asked me was : Can you cook? Obviously, I couldn't at all. She said: Let me tell you a little secret if you want to win over the hearts of your new family members. The way to the heart of a man born in Bihar ( India) and obviously the women too, goes through the stomach. Satisfy his hunger pangs and he will be head over heels in love with you. Although I am lucky to have a husband who understands that there's less magic in my fingers than in my mind; he did increase my interest in culinary things. 
So here when we reached Shillong, one of the main cities in North-east India, we started to explore a few traditional dishes in and around this place. 
Read my other blog to know about 05 Exotic places to spice up your love life in Shillong on
Just like the general feeling about the food of this area, even I feared that most of their food would be made of pork and beef, which I was not used to eating, I found this myth to be false. There is so much to explore and taste for every type of eater in these cities: be it roots, shoots, veggies, insects and/ or any other form of edible things. So I have made up a 7 course (signifying the seven sisters of North East India) dinner menu for all those who feel the way to woo their loved ones is a fresh, delicious home-cooked meal.

Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: a love-struck couple
Ingredients: chicken: 01 kg cut into medium size pieces, ginger: 2 tbsp, garlic cloves: 10, minced, green chillies: 2 pieces, turmeric powder: 1 tsp, salt to taste, fresh coriander: a few sprigs
How to make it:
      1.      Wash the chicken and boil it on a high flame in a pan/cooker with enough water to cover it.
      2.     Once it is boiled, add ginger, garlic and green chillies.
      3.     Cook the chicken on a low flame stirring it occasionally until the chicken pieces are tender and the broth becomes thick.
     4.     Add the turmeric powder and salt to the soup.
     5.     Remove the soup from the flame once the chicken is tender.    
     6.     Garnish the soup with fresh coriander and serve it hot to your loved one.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  5 -8 minutes
Serves: 2 love-struck couples
Ingredients: lotus stems, cleaned: 3, chopped spring onions: 50 gms, white/brown sesame seeds: 3 tbsp, gram flour:250 gms, freshly ground dried red chillies: ½ tsp, salt to taste, fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped: 25 gms.
How to make it:
     1.      Slice the lotus stem finely into thin round pieces.
   2.     Roast the sesame seeds on a dry tava on low flame till they turn golden brown.
     3.     Grind the roasted sesame seeds in a mixer to make a fine powder.
     4.     Roast the gram flour on a dry tawa, until it smells good.
     5.     Combine all these ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
     6.     Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve it immediately.


Preparation time:  10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: a love-struck couple
Ingredients: onion: 01, minced and 01 for garnish: cut into rings, potato: 01, large peeled and diced, cabbage: 100 gms, shredded, French beans: 100 gms, mushrooms: 50 gms, mustard oil: 02 tbsp, red chillies:3-4 roasted, salt: 01 tsp, fresh coriander sprigs:01 small cup full for garnish
How to make it:
    1.      Clean the vegetables in water and chop all of them into small dices, shreds and long strips.
    2.     Put all the cleaned and cut vegetables in a non-stick sauce pan (except the onion and red chillies).
     3.     Cover the vegetables with enough water and boil them on a high flame.
     4.     Once the vegetables are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and drain and keep aside.
     5.     Heat 01 tbsp of mustard oil and sauté the minced onion on moderate heat, till it is crispy and golden brown.
     6.     Add the onion, roasted red chillies and salt and with some water.
     7.      Add this mixture to the vegetables gently and heat it together.
    8.    Remove from heat and garnish with coriander sprigs and onion rings.    
    9.     Iromba is ready to be served.

Preparation time:  minutes
Cooking time: minutes
Serves: a love-struck couple
Ingredients: cauliflower: 01 medium size, potato: 01 large, diced, French beans: 50 gms cleaned and cut into small long pieces, rice: 01 small bowl, green leafy veggies: 01 bowl (except fenugreek leaves), sodium bicarbonate: 1 tsp, salt to taste.
How to make it:
    1.      Clean the cauliflower stalks and cut the florets into medium-sized pieces.
    2.     Boil 01 litre of water in a pan on medium flame.
    3.      Add the sodium bicarbonate and salt to the water and let it boil on low flame. There will be some froth coming up. Keep stirring until it subsides.
    4.     Add the cauliflower and the potato pieces and stir the water.
    5.     Add the green chillies and beans and stir it once again.
   6.     Add the rice and stir the mixture so that no solids stick to the bottom of the pan. Let it boil on a high flame for some time.  
  7.     Stir the mixture and reduce the flame to low flame and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stop when the rice is tender and the veggies are cooked and there is not much extra water left.
   8.     Serve hot.

CURRY: Mylliem Syiar (chicken curry with black sesame)
Preparation time:  10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 love-struck couples
Ingredients: chicken: 1 kg, cut and dressed into medium-sized pieces, onions: 04 medium-sized and sliced into long straight shape, garlic cloves: 04, crushed, red chillies: 04 dried, bay leaves: 06, black sesame: 02 tbsp, roasted and ground, black pepper corns: 01 tbsp ground, salt to taste mustard oil: 4 tbsp.
How to make it:
    1.      Clean all the vegetables and cut them in the required manner.  
    2.     Heat the mustard oil in a pan till it starts smoking.
    3.     Add the onions, garlic and red chillies to the oil. Saute on moderate heat, till the onions and garlic turn transparent.
    4.     Add the bay leaves to the pan.
    5.     Sauté for a short time and add the sesame seeds to the pan. 
   6.     Keep stirring to ensure that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
    7.     Pour a cup of water to the mixture, add salt and let it boil for some time.
   8.    Add the chicken pieces into the pan, mix them well in the mixture and cover the pan.
   9.     Stir the curry occasionally while letting it simmer on low heat for 25 minutes. Add pepper in the end, just before removing the curry from the heat.
   10.  Serve it hot.

Preparation time:  05 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 love-struck couples
Ingredients: rice: 02 cups, green leafy veggies, any kind: 1 kg, ghee/butter/oil: 2-3 tsp, salt to taste
How to make it:
      1.      Clean the rice with water and drain.
      2.     Boil it with 5 cups of fresh drinking water.
     3.     While the water is boiling, clean the green leafy veggies cut them unevenly and add them to the boiling rice.
     4.     Add the ghee/butter or oil to the rice.
     5.     Cook on low to medium flame stirring it regularly to get the consistency of a stew or khichri. That means, the rice should have some water in it and shouldn’t be completely dry.
     6.  Serve it hot to be eaten with any of the stews and curry.

DESSERT: GHILA PITHA (rice and jaggery dumplings)
Preparation time:  01 night prior and before meal time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: a love-struck couple
Ingredients: rice: 250 gms, powdered jaggery: 150 gms, baking powder: ½ tsp, mustard oil: as required for deep frying
How to make it:
Preparation steps:
     1.      Wash the rice and soak it in water overnight.
   2.     Drain the water and spread the rice in a flat plate to dry for about 30 minutes.  
     3.     Grind the rice into fine powder.
     4.      Mix the powdered jaggery with a little water to make a smooth paste.
   5.     Mix the rice flour into the jaggery paste until it becomes a thick, smooth batter.
     6.     Add the baking powder to the mix.
Cooking steps:
     1.      Heat the mustard oil in a deep non-stick fry pan on a high flame till it starts to smoke.
    2.     Reduce the heat to moderate flame and fry spoonfuls of the batter, till it is golden brown.
     3.     Keep frying till the pithas are cooked evenly.
     4.      Remove the pithas and drain excess oil before serving the pithas.
     5.     Pithas are ready to be served hot.

I hope you all enjoy the 7 course North East Indian Dinner.  You can leave/add chicken/pork/seafood in dishes such as Bai/ Iromba, Soup and/or Salads to match your tastes. 


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