Visiting India after such a long gap was a much needed break and it was also an experience that was a treat for all of one’s senses! It was the most amazing culinary experience. From the spicy ghee dripping parathas of Northern India to the typical fauji mess-style food and the simplistic Meitei cooking…and to add to all of this lots of lovingly made home cooked food everywhere we went. Each morsel was a culinary journey.

The mouth watering ghee-dripping, high calorie, aromatic Dhaba food along a highway in Northern India
Shatabdi express (train) served all this – a neatly packed vegetarian sandwich, a samosa, some sweets & I don’t recollect what the thing was in that red packet. It was all very neatly packed & service was amazing which was a great experience considering the not so great experience on Jet airways!!

This variety of beans I’ve so far only come across in north eastern states of India. Its eaten raw in salads & has a delightful crunchy taste. It goes amazingly well with a paste that’s made with fermented fish or ngaari and it tastes heavenly if you’re into that sort of thing! 🙂

One can never go wrong with deep fried fresh water fish
Singju – It’s the manipuri equivalent of a salad but is 99% of the time way too fiery for the non-north eastern palate! The 1% is for children and tourists! It’s incredibly healthy, crunchy and full of flavours. If you haven’t had singju in Manipur, you’ve pretty much missed the plot! 

And some more fried little fish which were bought from the local fish market in Dimapur, Nagaland… perhaps fresh catch from the nearby river?! I can assure you, it was delicious!  

The Brahmans or Bamons in Meitei culture traditionally prepare the feast for all ceremonial or religious occasions. They have a penchant for making food taste heavenly even without such ingredients like ginger, garlic & onion and even meat and fish. Each dish they prepare is a testimony to an extraordinary culture that spans hundreds of years that is featured in a place as epic as the Mahabharata and in modern equestrian sport. 
And the countless cups of tea daily… so many cups shared over so many thoughts, joys, laughter & pain.
Next destination : Dimapur, Nagaland – the land of mysterious tribes & magical traditions!

Walking through a local market in Dimapur

The amazingly sweet & colourful maize corn that’s commonly found in the northeastern states of India

Bhoot Jholakiya/ ghost chillies/ Oomorok… whatever you’d like to call it… it doesn’t temper the hotness of this chilli variety… tread..i mean taste with care!!

Fat juicy silk worms… high in protein & apparently very yummy.. nope..I didn’t try it! 

So green…so greeennnnnnn

Bee pupae still in their honeycombs
Dried fresh water fish of all possible varieties
Dimapur & Nagaland in general was full of delectable surprises. As is with every ancient tribal or ex-tribal society, there’s an interesting mix of flavours and characters in the local cuisine. Dimapur has some fantastic restaurants that’ll even surprise the seasoned restaurateur. 

 Raj Kachori Chaat at Gangaur in Kolkatta. Kolkatta street-style food is the bestest everrrrr!!!!! When visiting Kolkatta, one must sample all the amazing street food you get there – puchka, jhaal-muri, dahi chaat, momos, chowmein, rolls… yum yum drool drool

The classic egg-chicken roll from Nizams! 
If one begins to write about the varieties of cuisines one can find in India, one would run out of pages. Each cuisine from each region is distinct and an extraordinary experience. I’m sure I’ll still have plenty to write about Indian regional cuisines in the days to come… till then Bon Apettit!!