Khasi cuisine of Meghalaya is unlike other tribal cuisines in the north east where dishes are predominantly boiled and contain bamboo shoots. Yes we do have boiled dishes as well as use bamboo shoot as pickles, but they are not so prominent. Infact boiled food will never be seen in celebrations and feasts. Rice is the staple food and is called Ja, Meat is called Doh and Vegetables are called Jhur. Basic spices are used like pepper, turmeric, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and chillies. Hence the food is not spicy nor is it bland. Infact pepper, tumeric, cinnamon, bay leaf and ginger are found in abundance. Khasi food is predominantly Meat centric and hence veggies take a back seat. Vegetables are mostly sautéed or made into simple salads. However eating different fresh wild herbs is a gastronomical custom. The khasi dishes and items also differ in preparation from sub-tribe to sub-tribe. Now coming to the dishes-
Jadoh is a rice cooked in either pork or chicken stock with some meat pieces. It is like a different version of a less spicy Biryani. If you are lucky, fish Jadoh made out of boiled fish head and added to the rice is a must try. But it is very time consuming as each and every small bone has to be removed, so difficult to prepare.
Jastem is rice boiled in water with addition of a little turmeric for colour and salt for taste.
Jadoh snam is rice cooked like a Jadoh but drops of blood is added. It is difficult to cook as the quantity of blood used may either enhance the tast or completely ruin it.
Ja Dai is rice cooked with lentils. The lentils is first cooked in oil adding onions, ginger an salt. Then water is poured along with the rice.
Dohjem is dish with a mixture of liver, kidneys and intestines of ether pork, beef or chicken cooked like a dry curry with onions, black pepper and grounded sesame seeds.
Dohkhleh is a pork salad dish for the Khasis. The pork is well boiled and then water is drained. The pork is then chopped to little pieces and then salt, ginger and onions are added to it. For the Jaintias (sub tribe), chicken is the preferred meat. The process is same except that the Jaintias add another item, pieces of shredded full boiled egg.
Doh Nei Iong is a pork curry dish with fat and meat cooked in grounded sesame seeds.
Doh Saw Dkhot is again a pork dish comprising of 4 types of organs and cooked in a curry, however no intestines are added in it.
Doh Kylla is a Curry used for cooking pork, beef, chicken and fish. Ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric, bay leaf, pepper, coriander are used but no sesame seeds. The Cherrapunjee method of cooking Chicken Curry using local chicken is very popular.
Doh Kpu/ Shain is grounded meat of either pork or beef made into either kheema or rolled into balls and fried in oil and simmered in boiling water.
Syrwa is boiled method of cooking. Can be for pork, beef, chicken, fish and vegetables. Water, salt, ginger, onions and pepper is added. Pork feet and Beef bone marrow and tendons are a delicacy in this method of preparation.
Doh Thad/doh syang/ Kha rang is Smoked meat of either pork, beef or fish. Pork and beef are smoked and then either fried with onions and chillies or made into a curry. Smoked Fish is either made into a salad with onions and ginger or made into fish balls.
Doh Kha sdieh is fish, big or small, fried in oil. A bit of turmeric and salt is rubbed into the fish and then deep fried.
Dai Doh is pork cooked with lentils. The lentils are fried in oil with onions, ginger and turmeric. Then the meat is added fried for a while and then water is poured and the dish is simmered till the lentils and meat are cooked.
Dohsnam - Basically it's black pudding, Khasi style.
Apart from these pickles are an important part of the dish. There are meat pickles, wild berries pickles, local fruits, wild peaches pickles, tamarind pickles etc etc.
So next time any of you visit Meghalaya, you will be confident on what to order.
Just don't get mixed up with Chinese Pork dishes. You find really good Chinese restaurants in Shillong. Chinese is popular here, mainly because of the affinity to pork. In Khasi cuisine, Pork is the supremo. In celebrations, beef is normally never served. Lately chicken is also popular. Beef is considered a basic meat and is served only at home. It cost lower than Pork & Chicken. Fish is also eaten once or twice a week.
You should make it soon to Meghalaya. However the cuisine I mentioned here is just Khasi /Jaintia cuisine. Garo cuisine is totally different right from the ingrediants, method of preparation etc. Howver it is also a Pork loving cuisine.
Not a bad idea since I already have found one enthusiastic customer even before setting up shop. The taste also will be less exotic and more subtle when compared to other North-eastern cuisines and may be pleasing to the palate of some Delhiites. Funny thing is that there are two Meghalaya State guest houses in Delhi. One next to The Claridges Hotel and the other one in Vasant Vihar. However both kitchens serve either Chinese or North Indian curries, no Khasi/Jaintia or Garo dishes.
Where did you have them? And where did you get Kyiad from?
There are different types of traditional kyiad for different occasions. The major difference is items used to prepare and also the type. Unlike most tribal communities in India, where the common Kyiad is mainly beer made from different items, the Khasis make Kyiad by brewing into a beer as well as distilling it into a spirit.
I still am wondering where did you get your glass of kyiad from?