Winter is approaching and with its arrival, food finds a renewed interest with many. It is common knowledge that appetites increase in winter and people in general crave for rich, spicy and deep fried foods.
However, not all such food is healthy. "Metabolism in general slows down for many people in winter, particularly in the very cold places, because of the decrease of physical/outdoor activity. This can have repercussions on digestion and ultimately the vital body organs like the heart and liver," says Kundal Chaudhary a doctor of medicine practicing at a private clinic in Guwahati.
Therefore while it is ok to indulge in gastronomical delights one should exercise a little discretion to eat healthy as well. For after all food is directly linked to good health and immunity. Incidentally the tribal cuisines of North East India are both appetizing and healthy. Owing to some of their ingredients and cooking techniques they also keep the body warm.
Here are some healthy delicious meals from Nagaland that you could explore this winter.
The most popular food of Nagaland during winter is the traditional tribal bread, which is made out of sticky rice along with a few other ingredientsThe most popular food of Nagaland during winter is the traditional tribal bread, which is made out of sticky rice along with a few other ingredients. As a first step, the rice is pounded using traditional methods (which are still practiced in the villages) or with the help of a machine. After the sticky rice is powdered, it is mixed with water along with sugar (actually sugar is a choice and one can add it for a sweeter taste).
After the rice flour is mixed properly with water and sugar and other ingredients (each tribe has their own specialty or unique methods of making this bread) it is made into round shapes by rubbing with both hands and then flattened into thick round forms. This is then followed by a few minutes of frying in a pan filled with refined oil (flipping from one side to the other) until the pieces turn golden brown.
One can also choose to boil, steam or roast the bread over red charcoal. Before the boiling or steaming is done, the bread is wrapped with a special type of leaf found mostly in the villages. After it is leaf wrapped the bread is either steamed or boiled in water, which appears white when done. However, if one wishes to roast the bread they can take the steamed bread, which is cold (and leaf wrapped) and place it on top of red burning charcoals for five minutes or more.
After both the sides are properly heated in the fire, one can unwrap the leaves and enjoy the brown looking roasted traditional bread. Coming back to the first method of frying the bread, after the bread is fried properly with a golden looking finish, one can eat it while it is still warm or it can also be eaten when cold. Most people prefer to eat it hot along with a cup of sweet tasting black tea and this combination warms the body.
Silk worms incidentally are another delectable Naga cuisine that is suited for winter temperatures. Incidentally, most people avoid eating silk worms during summer as it fires up the body and makes an individual sweat profusely. To prepare the silk worm, one can use ginger, garlic and different types of leaves. This depends on the individual or the tribe's preference. This is then followed by frying all the ingredients together along with the silk worm in mustard oil until the silk worm turns golden brown. It can then be eaten along with rice or local rice beer. Some people prefer eating silk worms with a cup of pure sticky rice wine.