The world revolves around clichés and run of the mill coincidences. Constantly competing with time, and living a lackluster lifestyle, the food we eat becomes a coping mechanism towards sanity. But what makes our species really cool are the quirks of our souls.Excitement is what we all crave and like the mad hatter once said "You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are". Call it outlandish, freaky, zany or achingly mundane but to stir from quotidian dishes I present you with 5 regional foods that will fill in your thirst for eccentric info.
To all those Pixar fans out there, I call to your vivid imagination and ask it not to picture you eating the famous "Antz" characters. With the diversity of Indian cuisine, most of us know the value of chutney, taking a dish higher a notch.
Baster, a district surrounded by wilderness in the state of Chattisgarh, prefer their chutney fired up with a zing. The main ingredient is fire ants aka red ants and their eggs. It's a pretty chill dish to which you add some masala(salt) here some masala(chilli) there and you have a delicacy beyond your wildest imagination.The elders of the dhuruva tribe believe that this sweet and bitter chutney is a good source of proteins and the ants contain formic acid which is believed to render medicinal qualities. The hunt itself is quite a sport. Check out this awesome experience of Chef Gordon Ramsay trying it out himself.
Khasi is an indigenous tribe with the population spread out over the Northeast India. The people are located in the state of Meghalaya. The tribe is famous for their cultural authenticity. Khasi cuisine is unlike other tribal cuisines in the north east, where dishes are predominantly boiled and contain bamboo shoots. The use of ingredients is still present but is mainly meat-centric. The origin of the word Jadoh is very interesting. Rice is the staple food and is called Ja, Meat is called Doh.
Jadoh snam is a meat and rice dish, but how is it bizarre? Well, the ingredient that makes it stand out is blood. The original recipe requires the addition of pig or chicken blood, which makes the dish very hard to cook, as the quantity of blood could either spoil it or make it delicious. Due to the ingredient being repulsive to many, the recipe could be made without the use of blood too.
3. Eri Polu
Northeast India is known for its untouched serene beauty with nature blooming at its best. With the diversity of tribes, the food culture is brilliant beyond words. Assam, the land of one-horned rhinos and tea stands unique among the different states of the east.
The cuisine of Assam is an amalgamation of authentic styles with a pinch of local variety and minimalist external influence. A peculiar feature of Assam's culinary is the minimum use of oil and spice but extensive use of herbs, wild fruits and vegetables.The dish that stood out during my research phase of the article was Eri Polu or Leta. Silkworm is a food celebrated throughout many Asian countries. With a buzzing market for silk and the variant forms of silk sarees, they have used the word utilisation, at its best. Eri Polu is prepared with silk pupa. Silkworm left after extracting silk is collected and cooked. Since the cocoon is boiled in hot water to take the silk out, the leftover which is called silk pupa is already soft enough, this pupa is further cooked with traditional Assamese herbs and spices and served which smoked bamboo shoots. The texture, a peculiar aroma and unbelievable softness make this dish unique.
4. Doh Khleh
The state of Meghalaya is full of interesting delicacies, which are quite commendable from a cultural aspect. I bring to you yet another dish with a garnish which is going to blow your mind, quite literally so.
As healthy eating becomes a fast growing trend, salads have started to evolve with a variety of flavours bringing out more options for a health conscious person. Doh khleh is a salad comprising of 2 basic ingredients. Onion and pork. While the combination itself sounds quite daunting, there's another catch. The garnish is steamed pig brain. Incredible India, I say.
5. Frog Legs
Like every other kid, I have great memories of reading and loving classic fairy tales. I further grew up to love Disney, and I still jam to the soundtracks, which is why this dish made me very nauseous. The two facts don't quite match up, do they? Well, in the state of Sikkim, Northeast India, frog legs are considered an exotic dish among the Lepchas community. The fact about Disney comes in when my brain screams murder, because of "The Princess and the Frog".
This French delicacy has been pleasing the Indian palate for a long time. There is nothing more exotic than battered fried frog legs. The community believes that these frog legs contains medicinal values and are able to cure dysentery and other stomach ailments. Goa and Kerala are also known for serving this delicacy.
So yet again this beautiful country has left me awestruck. With a diverse food palette to try out, these dishes are a must try on the wild side. I dare your foodie souls to make them and gorge.