This Khasi food pop-up in Bengaluru brings dishes that act as the perfect introduction to the unexplored cuisine

Curated by chef sisters Daphimanroi & Dakiwanri Warjri, the dishes include Soh Khleh, Phan Rit + Sla Piat & Tit Sdieh and lots more
In frame: Dakiwanri & Daphimanroi Warjri
In frame: Dakiwanri & Daphimanroi Warjri

When one thinks of Meghalaya, the first thing that comes to your mind is its amazing tourist destinations — the rolling hills, the caves and the waterfalls. If not that, it’s the eccentricities of the state — natural bridges, names in song and penchant for singing and music. The last thing, sadly, that comes to one’s mind is the food. A state so rich in food diversity — it is often reduced to a single dish, Jadoh (traditional pork and rice), that is now infamously known across the country.

With the aim of educating gourmands and foodies about the intricacies of one of the cuisines of Meghalaya — the cuisine of the Khasis — chef sisters Daphimanroi & Dakiwanri Warjri curated a special menu, Flavours of Khasi — A Journey of Meghalayan Cuisine, for a popup at The Park Bangalore and we were there to preview it. The idea was to introduce us to the subtle yet interesting flavours of this oft-ignored micro-cuisine and we absolutely loved the experience.

<em>Soh Khleh</em>
Soh Khleh

We began the meal with Doh Thad Syiar Khleh or smoked chicken salad with perilla dressing. The salad was a simple one with basic flavours. The vegetarian version of the salad adds in pomelo and orange. Quite the fresh start to the meal, we admit… we were then served the main course after a cup of soup — a thali with Ja Stem or rice cooked with Lakadong turmeric served alongside two curries, three sides and three pickles.

<strong><em>Phan Rit + Sla Piat & Tit Sdieh</em></strong>
Phan Rit + Sla Piat & Tit Sdieh

For non-vegetarians, the curries included Doh Sniang Thad or smoked pork in a tomato gravy and Doh Syiar Nei-Ïong or chicken in a black sesame paste-based gravy. The pork was an instant hit with its interesting flavours brought out by the sweet-sour- savoury tomato base. The chicken also stole our hearts, all thanks to this unique take on the sesame-chicken flavour profile that is a hit across East, South East and Far East Asia, but pretty uncommon in India. Vegetarians can choose from Phan Rit + Sla Piat or Khasi-style stir fried baby potatoes, Pathaw Nei-Ïong or pumpkin with black sesame paste and Tit Sdieh or oyster mushroom with fermented soy. Served on the side are the common shared dishes that include the Muli Khieh or radish salad with perilla seed paste that we were absolutely wowed by, the Sohbaingon Thang or charred aubergine — a rustic simpler take on the baingan bharta and Sohsaw Phon or the boiled tomato chutney that is now a favourite. There were also the pickles, Ashar Soh Phie or the fiery bayberry pickle, Ashar Muli or the more temperate radish pickle and the cherry on top — Ashar Sohbaingon Dieng or tree tomato pickle that we suggest you pair with everything!

<strong><em>Muli Khleh, Ja Stem & Sohbaingon Thang</em></strong>
Muli Khleh, Ja Stem & Sohbaingon Thang

We ended this quick but filling meal with desserts, not something Khasi cuisine is known for, but right out of the creative minds of Daphimanroi & Dakiwanri. Ja Shulia or sticky rice with soh phoh and Shriew Phon or purple yam with honey glaze were the creations for the evening. The Ja Shulia was one of the best desserts we’ve tasted from the North East and we hope it finds its way onto many menus across the country, while the purple yam, we feel, will take some getting used to. Non-vegetarians can also look forward to dishes with dry fish and beef, as options.

INR 2,050+ taxes/person. Lunch & Dinner. On till February 25. At Monsoon, The Park Bangalore, MG Road. +918025594666.

X: @elromal

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