Meghalaya's young Chef Adonijah Lyngdoh takes us through the nuances of Khasi cuisine

Meghalaya's young Chef Adonijah Lyngdoh takes us through the nuances of Khasi cuisine

The chef also share a delectable Khasi dessert recipe for the readers

Since he was 16, Adonijah Lyngdoh discovered his passion for food. “I have been working in the F&B industry since then, which really helped me improve my culinary skills,” says the IHM Shillong graduate chef who recently emerged winner in Hills on a Plate – Meghalaya season 1, an immersive series that takes one on a journey through the culinary and cultural wonders of Meghalaya. We had a chat with the chef to know more about Khasi cuisine prevalent in Meghalaya and he also shared a Khasi dessert recipe for you to try out.

Q

What are the specialities of Khasi cuisine?

A

Khasi cuisine is unique due to its emphasis on fresh, locally sourced Ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Khasi cuisine uses very limited spices and often features a variety of meats, fermented foods, and an array of herbs and spices unique to the region. Specialities include Jadoh (a rice and meat dish), Putharo (rice bread cooked in earthen clay pan) Nakham Bitchi (a dried fish soup), and Doh-neiiong (pork with black sesame).

Q

What’s central to Khasi cuisine?

A

Ingredients like bamboo shoot, fermented soybean (tungrymbai), tung tap (fermented fish), wild mushroom, wild greens, different kind of Protein coming from different part of the state, pork from laitlyngkot, smoke meat (dohthad), using offal part of the meat for dohjem, black pudding (Dohsnam) served as a delicacy, river fish are central to Khasi cuisine. The use of black sesame seeds and indigenous herbs adds distinct flavours not commonly found in other Indian cuisines.

Q

Any special spices that's inherent to Khasi cuisine?

A

The spices include the lakadong turmeric, szechuan pepper known locally as jayur, black sesame seed.

Q

Personally, what are the dishes from Khasi cuisine you enjoy the most and why?

A

I particularly enjoy Jadoh and Dohneilong. Jadoh is a comfort food for me, reminding me of home and family gatherings. Dohnellong, with its rich and nutty flavour derived from black sesame, represents the depth and complexity of Khasi cuisine.

Q

Apart from khasi cuisine, which other cuisines do you love eating and cooking? What are the spices that are always there in your kitchen?

A

I love Indian and Italian cuisines. The use of different spices and different cooking methods like dum, cooking in tandoor, and the rich flavours and complexity of the Indian dishes amazes me. I like Italian cuisine for its simplicity and quality ingredients. Spices that are always in my kitchen include Szechuan pepper, black pepper, turmeric, garam masala, black sesame seeds, and Italian seasonings.

Q

 If you wouldn't have been a chef what would you have been?

A

If not a chef, I would likely have been a bartender.

Steamed Rice Flour Cake with Lakadong Turmeric Custard Sauce and Turmeric Coral Tuile

Ingredients:

For the Rice Flour Cake:

Rice flour 100 gm | 2 eggs | Sugar 50 gm | Refined oil 30 ml | 1 tsp baking powder

For the Lakadong Turmeric Custard Sauce:

3 egg yolks | Sugar 30 gm | Vanilla essence 2 ml | Lakadong turmeric 5 gm | Milk 250 ml

For the Turmeric Coral Tuile:

Turmeric 10 gm | Refined flour 30 gm | Refined oil 30 ml | Water 30 ml

Instructions:

Rice Flour Cake:

In a bowl or mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the refined oil while continuing to mix.

Sift the rice flour and baking powder into the egg mixture. Mix well until you have a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into small steel bowls or ramekins.

Steam the cakes for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Lakadong Turmeric Custard Sauce:

In a pot, heat the milk with the Lakadong turmeric until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla essence until well combined.

Slowly add the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook gently over a double boiler, stirring constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let it cool.

 

Turmeric Coral Tuile:

In a bowl, mix together the turmeric, refined flour, refined oil, and water until you have a smooth batter.

Pour a small amount of the batter into a non-stick pan, spreading it out thinly.

Cook over medium heat until the tuile becomes crispy and develops a lacy pattern. Remove from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.

Assembly:

Serve the steamed rice flour cakes with a drizzle of Lakadong turmeric custard sauce.

Garnish with the turmeric coral tuile for an extra touch of flavour and texture. 

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