we of the north east indian tribes have a reputation for being a rather carnivorous bunch, and fairly so. we love our meat, though not all of us eat dog. what a lot of people don’t know is that we also love our vegetables. heh. maybe we just love food.
zo cooking is rather anarchic, like most home cooking is. the difference, i guess, is that we don’t have an ‘official’ or ‘best’ version, unlike the delicately crafted spices-herbs recipes of the indian mainland. skill and experience count, though, as they do in *all cooking. most zo food is boiled–i know of three different words for boiled food, depending on how it is done. this particular recipe is what mum used to make, and is vegetarian, also oil, dairy and (i’d imagine) gluten free.
stalks+leaves of one cauliflower, chopped (add a few florets if you’d like)
1 large potato, diced
1 handful sliced beans (frozen beans work *fine)
1 large chili, sliced (i use red medium chilies with seeds in)
1 teaspoon(ish) cooking soda
1 teaspoon(ish) salt, or to taste
1 litre(ish) water
1 handful rice
bring the water to boil in a pot, then add the salt and cooking soda. once the frothing has reduced, add the cauliflower stalks and the potatoes. stir. add chili and beans. stir. add rice. stir. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. let the pot boil open, stirring it every few minutes. the dish is done when the rice has absorbed the water, about 15 minutes.
this is traditionally eaten hot with a rice meal and other dishes, but we prefer (dee and i) to eat it as a meal in itself, and i particularly love it cold. expect to taste a bit of the soda, and some heat depending on how much chili you use. it has what i think of as a very ‘green’ taste–mild, but a nice rounded flavour from all the mixed veges. the remaining liquid is to be eaten as well. those of you used to spice-heavy indian cooking may find it quite bland. makes a great meal for chilly nights, or out in the open when you can’t be bothered with a complicated meal.
i’d love to hear the experiences of those of you who try this, and would be glad to hear of any improvements/variations you know about! even better, maybe swap bai recipes?
UPDATE: here’s an interesting piece on mizo food by daydreambeliever chhangte