India has a huge diversity of land and people. This brings various cultures together. All these cultures together make up the identity of India. In this post we put forward a few quirks of some of these cultures, quirks in their cuisine. And who knows, you might find one (or all) of these quirks fascinating and try it out yourself!
Red Ants Chutney
Known as Chaprah by the locals, it is a chutney which is immensely popular with the tribal people in Chattisgarh. Said to have originated in the Batsar region, it is tangy and hot. Like most other chutneys, it is meant to bring alive the main dish. The ants and their eggs are dried, crushed and salt, sweeteners and spices are mixed with it. The formic acid in the ant is said to have medicinal properties, which is why the dhuruva tribe has been eating it from ages.
Where: Maharashtra (Pune)
Tilli is a street food in Pune which is mostly mutton liver. But authentically, tilli is marinated and char-grilled spleen of a buffalo. You can still get the original version of the tilli in several places in and around Pune. The spleen’s higher iron level is why people eat tilli, is what can be assumed. While some say that there is a distinct smell that ain’t pleasant, some blame the texture.
Where: Uttarakhand (Garhwal)
It’s main ingredients include goat’s liver, stomach, intestines and, as if all that was not enough, it’s blood. It’s mainly curried with lots of spices but you can find a simpler fried version as well. While knowing the ingredients might make you gag at the thought of eating it, those who could brave that feeling find it to be quite a relish.
Where: West Bengal
Hilsa fish is already a favorite in the region. But, did you know coated and fried hilsa eggs is a delicacy too? Forget your caviar. These fleshy chunks, fried in mustard oil are eaten as a snack, mainly during the monsoon season. It’s subtle taste grows on you after a few times of tasting.
Where: Assam ( Majuli)
If the word Indian Cuisine only brings images of kebabs, biryani, curries and naan, then let me welcome you to the other side, where silk worm pupas are relished just like those sheekh kebabs. These pupas are mostly deep fried and simply dusted with salt and tiny pieces of chilli. This exotic dish of Assam is eaten only in certain pockets of the state.
An integral part of the Naga cuisine, dog meat is immensely popular in Nagaland. Just like any other meat, it is prepared in various ways, the most common being roasting over live charcoal.
Made with bamboo shoots and ghost pepper, khorisa is either used as a base to make chicken, pork or fish or it is eaten by itself in the form of pickle. Kokum is also used, to impart a tangy flavor to the khorisa. It’s pungent smell keeps most people away from it. But if you brave the smell and give it a chance, the taste will grow on you and you might even end up loving it!
A few others include Frog legs considered a delicacy in Goa & Sikkim and Snail Stew in Nagaland.