5 Indian dishes you must try from the country's less-explored regions

​From Naga king chilly chutney in Nagaland to Maddur vade in Karnataka, savour these delicious Indian delicacies

5 Indian dishes you must try from the country's less-explored regions
Litti chokha and Bakarkhani roti in Bihar. Image by Nandu Kurne

Avril-Ann Braganza

​From Naga king chilly chutney in Nagaland to Maddur vade in Karnataka, savour these delicious Indian delicacies

Naga king chilly chutney and pork in bamboo shoot in Nagaland

If you're travelling to Nagaland, you cannot miss trying Naga king chilly chutney. Made with Naga king chilly, ginger, bamboo shoot and what I think was mustard leaves, the extreme spice hits you after the first two spoons. It seemed like all the ingredients were coarsely chopped and crushed together and it looks like a thick dip or a very fine salad. While I ate in in a restaurant with fried rice, you could look for in among the stalls on the street as well. While you're there, if you're a pork-eater, try the pork in bamboo shoot. Cooked in bamboo shoot stalk, ginger, spices and bamboo shoot pieces, it has a very light stocky gravy and the taste is a bit acidic (from the bamboo shoot) and spicy, because of the ginger. You can find this in restaurants too.

Mithun stew in Arunachal Pradesh

An animal similar to the yak and bison, the mithun meat is traditionally dried meat used in stews. It is dried over a traditional fire place over a couple of months with whole pepper and ginger/ Spices are added to the dried meat when making the stew. Slightly spicy and stocky it is available at the local dhabbas.

Litti chokha and Bakarkhani roti in Bihar


Litti is made by soaking Bengal gram or sattu and masalas including onion and green chilly. It is made into a dough and then stuffed into a wheat flour dough, which is then made into a ball and deep fried or roasted in a tandoor. A savory, it is found at tea stalls or on street carts and is served with chokha, a salad of crushed onions, red chillies and salt. Bakarkhani roti on the other hand, is made with maida, water, salt and lots of ghee. It is thick and has layers and has an orange-y colour on the top, because it is brushed with milk and kesar. Soft and heavy, it is eaten with telwale chicken or chicken korma and can be ordered in restaurants.

Aloo Mudi in Meghalaya

While many cities boast of a vibrant street-food culture with a lot of variety and variations for each variety, one wouldn’t really say the same for Shillong. Then again, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The home food is quite good. Sure you’ll get the shing and chana, the occasional pani puri, omlettes, vegetarian and non-vegetarian momos…But not much more. If you’re looking for something local and interesting, you have to try the peach-coloured tiny roots that are known to cure worms. While it is something you can munch on, it’s not filling enough for a snack. For that you must try aloo moodi, Shillong’s version of bhel. Like several street vendors in Mumbai, those here also come from Bihar, but the combination they create for this city is slightly different. To puffed rice they add chopped onion, potato, imli chutney, some masala and the ingredient that gives it its distinct taste–mustard oil. It probably gets its inspiration from Jhal Mudi or Jhal Muri that you get in Kolkata and that's not surprising considering the good number of Bengalis living in the city since a long time. At first I didn't like the peculiar taste, but over the duration of my month-long stay, it began to grow on me. Especially the spicy, hot version. But just like mustard sauce, aloo mudi is something you’ll either love or hate.

Maddur Vade in Karnataka

Image Credit: Amarrg

A small towns between Bangalore and Mysore, Maddur is approximately 80 km from Bangalore.

It is well known for a variety of dal vada popularly known as 'maddur vade', pronounced 'madh-dhur fade'. Eaten with freshly grated coconut chutney, it has a slightly hard crust and a soft core. Made with rice flour, semolina and maida flour, which are mixed with sliced onion, curry leaves grated coconut and asafoetida, the ingredients are fried in oil and then mixed with water to make a soft dough. Small amounts of dough are taken and made into a patties and deep fried they turn golden-brown. Found in almost every restaurant in Maddur, it is not very spicy and an extremely popular dish there

Coordinated by Avril-Ann Braganza with inputs from Sana Siddiqi, Nagaraj S S, Pooja Bhula, Rhea D'Souza

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