From steaming thukpa to fried pork, The Raintree's Northeast Indian food festival is out of this world
The city has seen all kinds of cuisines from North and South India being served on its tables, however, the dearth of food from Northeast India has always been felt and rightly so, a void to be filled but with authenticity. The Raintree, St Mary’s Road’s is hosting a Northeast Indian menu at the food festival called Incredible Kitchens of North East, helmed by expert Chef Ngaranmi Kasomwoshi from Manipur, delving deeper into northeast Indian cuisine history.
The specially curated extensive menu spans across all seven states with signatures like seasonal stews to spicy fish, chicken and pork preparations, which have to be relished to understand the true essence of the unexplored cuisine. The food is available in a la carte as well as buffet, and goes in depth to get local dishes from Mizoram and Assam to Tripura and Nagaland. The recent drop in temperature in the city makes us crave one-bowl meals, and like a blessing in disguise, the Thukpa Chicken Noodles Soup arrives. An Assamese favourite, the noodle soup is made with shredded chicken and vegetables, making it an ideal comfort food option. The Tangkhul Chicken Salad, which comes next, is an instant hit. Spicy shredded chicken is tossed with french beans and chillies with a strong flavour of ginger, and local chilli sauce, to produce a burst of flavours on our palate.
It is hard to not expect a pork dish when experiencing Northeast cuisine, and we weren’t disappointed at all after the Wahan Mosdeng came to our table. A traditional pork dish from Tripura, it is best had with sticky rice. The dry chilli pork preparation cooked with roasted chilli is made from locally farmed pork, is deep fried, delicious and tender with every bite and we couldn’t help but take a second serving. Northeast Indian cuisine boasts a lot about their meat preparations and the Assamese Maasor Tenga is one of the many unique dishes, which is definitely a must-try. Primarily a fish curry, it is cooked with birds eye chilli and potatoes which blends well with the tang of lime. The fish, unlike other Indian preparations, is fried before being dunked into the curry. Locals, we are told traditionally do not add fresh fish to their curries, they fry them instead, to give an extra flavour to the base curry.
The use of bamboo shoots in the cuisine has always left us intrigued and while a bamboo shoot and pork is more popular, this menu also serves a Manipuri Soibum Thongba dry curry. Simply made from bamboo shoots, dry fish and mashed potatoes, it has a strong flavour of garlic, which lends a delicious flavour to the dish. Still relishing our meal, a Chak Hao Kheer is served to us. Made from sticky rice, coconut and milk, the sweet dish could not have helped us end our Northeast India meal on a better note.
Meal for two is Rs 1,400 plus taxes onwards.
From September 21 to September 30.