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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mizoram cuisine ~ Fried AshGourd

BM theme: Indian states
State: Mizoram
Capital City: Aizawl
Tribes: Mizos like Lushei, Paite, Lai , mara and others tribes 
Non-Mizo tribes like Bru, Chakma, Tanchangya, Arakanese
Official language: Mizo
Major religion: Christianity

The word "Mizoram" literally means the land of the hill people and the state is a land of rolling hills, rivers, valleys and lakes. I don't know how much of the information I found on wiki holds good in the present day scenario but it seems that Mizos are a close-knit society in a true sense. There is no class distinction and the village is like a big family. The Mizo code of ethics focus on something called "Tlawmngaihna" - which somewhat translates to the moral force which finds expression in self sacrifice for the service of others. They are hospitable, kind and unselfish and kind of obligated to help out each other in dire circumstances. 

The people here are basically non vegetarians. They love meat and tend to add them even to vegetarian dishes. Fish, chicken, duck and pork are the popular meats. Rice is the staple food and mustard oil is the preferred medium to cook. Bai is a popular dish served along with rice. It is prepared by boiling spinach with pork and bamboo shoots. Sawchair is another dish prepared using rice and pork or chicken. The food is mild and the vegetables are cooked simple in such a way that the nutrient value is retained. Most of the dishes are served on banana leaves, a traditional way in most of the Indian states and naturally recyclable.

Now to my recipe for today. I found this northeast Indian tribal dish under the name "Mai Kan or Fried Ash Gourd" in Pushpesh Pant's India Cookbook. I had seen earlier a northeast Indian recipe online that called white pumpkin / ash gourd as "Mairen" in the native language. Though the cookbook really has a good collection of Indian recipes, it is hard to not notice the errors regarding some of the recipe names. Some of the recipes with Telugu names have been associated with the neighboring state of Tamilnadu. And there are spelling mistakes too when it comes to the names of dishes - I guess due to the errors that may have occurred during compilation or printing processes. And so, I think this dish may be mairen not maikan.
I guess the dish can be a generic one to the whole region and belongs to no one particular state owing to the fact that the northeast Indian vegetarian recipes are kept basic and pretty simple. It doesn't include even the panch phoran seasoning. Chayote / green papaya or any other vegetable can replace ash gourd. Use a little water if cooking green papaya. 

Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil (preferably mustard oil)
2 - 3 dried red chillies, broken into bits
1 onion, chopped fine
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups peeled, de-seeded and cubed ash gourd
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. Add red chillies and fry for few seconds. Add onion and turmeric. Fry until onion turns light brown. Then add ash gourd and salt. Fry until the ash gourd is tender.





15 comments:

Srivalli said...

It's so disheartening when we come across published books with errors..reflects so poorly on the entire set of ppl. Anyway good that you have got hold of a simple one, that we can include in our regular cooking as well..

Varadas Kitchen said...

It is hard to confirm authenticity with the little information available. Such a simple recipe, must have really accentuated the taste of the ash gourd.

The Pumpkin Farm said...

interesting recipe with ashgourd, good

Priya Suresh said...

Looks like a quick and easy breezy dish, can have with rice happily.

vaishali sabnani said...

Even though it is a basic recipe you have made it well..above all presented well..looks really inviting.

Nivedhanams Sowmya said...

you have made the simple recipe look so great!!!

Jayanthi Padmanabhan said...

simple flavourful veggie dish.. looks tasty

Harini-Jaya R said...

Good one, Suma. I have also come across those errors you mentioned in that book.

Gayathri Kumar said...

This side dish looks so simple yet so yumm...

Pavani N said...

Simple, healthy and delicious curry.

Chef Mireille said...

regardless of spelling, that book was such a great resource

Usha said...

It is indeed a simple recipe.

Nalini's Kitchen said...

This is one such inviting and interesting recipe...

Archana Potdar said...

Such a delicious veggie. Bookmarking it

Padmajha PJ said...

Such a simple recipe but I am sure it would have tasted great.A very different choice for this state..