Saturday, February 11, 2017

NAGALAND CUISINE


Nagaland is a state in Northeast India. Nagaland became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963
It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur.
It has an area of 16,579 square kilometres (6,401 sq mi) with a population of 1,980,602 per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India. 



CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels.The state enjoys a salubrious climate.Summer is the shortest season in the state that lasts for only a few months.The maximum average temperature recorded in the winter season is 24 °C (75 °F). Strong north-west winds blow across the state during the months of February and March

CULTURE
The people of Nagaland, the Nagas, are of Tibeto-Burmese origin and are basically tribal people with a rich tradition of self-governance at the village level. They have high cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, sparkling teeth and a bronze skin, which is quite a combination.The population of Nagaland is made up of sixteen tribal groups with their distinctive cultures. Each tribe wears their Clan Motifs in colorful traditional dresses,

Nagas are known as fierce fighters. The Naga regiment in the Indian army is fearless and dreaded by all.They believed that the human soul lived in the nape of the neck and beheading would set it free.
The trophies (heads) were hoarded in the men’s community house called `Morung’. 



FLORA AND FAUNA

About one-sixth of Nagaland is covered by tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests—including palms, bamboo, rattan as well as timber and mahogany forests.Nagaland boasts of its rich flora & fauna. Each of the sanctuary in Nagaland is different than the other in terms of variety and scenic beauty. The Fakim Sanctuary in Nagaland is close to the Myanmar border. The sanctuary lies in the Pungro circle headquarter in Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Hornbill Festival was launched by the Government of Nagaland in December 2000 to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of the state. Organized by the State Tourism Department and Art & Culture Department. Hornbill Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof. This festival takes place between 1 to 7 December every year. 

COMMON INGREDIENTS

Plain rice, vegetables like potato, and meat are the main ingredients used in the Naga cuisine. Meat could refer to beef, pork, fish, chicken, crabs, frog, snail, spider, insects, and bee larvae.As Naga people are hunters, the meat also includes that of other animals such as dogs, cat, rats, birds, snakes, spiders, monkeys, bear, and even elephant. Animal blood, which is solidified, is cut into pieces and used to prepare curries.Apart from meat, bamboo shoots, lettuce, soya beans, mustard leaves, and yam leaves are also used in cooking. These ingredients are fermented and used to make various dishes.
The Naga king chilli, for which the Government of Nagaland has obtained GI rights, is widely used to add flavor and spiciness to the dishes. Garlic and ginger are other spices used.

COOKING METHOD

The Naga tribes ferment their food, especially meat, in order to preserve it. The food is fermented by first boiling it and then putting it out in the sun or near the fire with axone - fermented soya beans.

The fermented food is then parceled with a banana leaf and stored next to the fire until further use. These are consumed immediately or are sold in the bazaar.When it comes to meat, the entire animal including the skin and intestines are eaten. The food is usually boiled, and the meat and vegetables are cooked together. Lettuce and spinach leaves are also used to cook meat.

EVERYDAY NAGA FOOD

Rice eaten with meat or vegetables is the everyday food of the Naga people. Dal is included along with the meat curries.Dog meat and the meat of wild animals are considered a delicacy. Paanch phoron tarkaari, misa mach poora, bamboo shoot fry, fish rice, and roasted duck are some of the foods made here.

 TRADITIONAL NAGA FOOD

Smoke dried pork curry with akhuni and snails is a traditional Naga food. Akhuni refers to fermented soya beans. Chicken chutney is made with shredded chicken, king chilli, garlic, and green onion. Rice beer is a traditional drink in this region. Zutho, dzutse, and ruhi are other types of drinks consumed here. Koat pitha is a sweet dish made with bananas, rice flour, and jaggery. 

FOOD AS MEDICINE

The Naga people believe that certain meat can cure diseases. The meat of a stone bird is believed to cure renal diseases. Dog meat is considered to cure pneumonia. Bee larvae, snails, and frogs are believed to heal the skin and bones when injured. A fluid full of earthworms is believed to act as an antidote to snake bite.

NAGA CUISINE IMPACT’S ON HEALTH

The health benefits of Naga cuisine is not much studied, although the rice, vegetables, and meat can provide the essential carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins to an extent. However, the food is very spicy and hot with the inclusion of the king chilli in most of its dishes.This generates excess heat and can cause stomach problems, such as gastritis and acid reflux. Hot and spicy food can also cause sleeplessness, bad breath, and can damage taste buds. 

NAGA VIPER PEPPER

Naga viper pepper is a hot pepper of hybrid variety, created by Gerald Fowler of England. The pepper was a result of cross-breeding between the three hottest peppers of the world, the Naga Morich, Bhut Jolokia and the Trinidad Scorpion. The Chili Pepper Company holds the rights for this particular type of pepper which had been recognized as the hottest pepper in the world by the Guinness World Records in 2010. The fame was short-lived with the title going to the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper in March 2011. The pepper is currently sold in the form of a sauce, used for making fiery curries. It is believed to have a numbing effect on the tongue and the entire body as the it moves down the digestive tract. There have been many contests held for tasting the pepper.



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