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Ethnic fare at fair near you

Jan 11: Khorikat diya kekora (barbecued crab), tilot diya gahori (pork cooked in sesame), rongalaut diya xamuk (snail cooked with pumpkin), outengat diya gahori (pork cooked with elephant apples) and matidailot diya xamuk (snail cooked with lentils) — if it’s something new you want, it’s here… nice and warm.

These are not some exotic dishes from faraway shores; they are the traditional ethnic dishes of different indigenous communities of the state, though new to most residents here.

Besides, these dishes are not served even in restaurants here specialising in ethnic food.

The sight of barbecued crab or pork or roasted goroi maas (green/spotted snakehead fish) coupled with the overpowering aroma is very tempting on a cold winter evening. And what better than to enjoy these delicacies with your friends over glasses of sai apong (traditional Mising drink) near a bonfire? Nothing helps beat the biting cold better.

You will find all this and more in the different ethnic food festivals currently under way at different localities here.

“We are preparing khorikat diya hanh (barbecued duck), khorikat diya gahori (barbecued pork), khorikat diya goroi maas (barbecued fish) and outengat diya gahori on the spot and serving these hot to visitors. This is the first time we are participating in an ethnic food festival here. The barbecued items are selling good and we are serving them with a jolokia-dhania (coriander and green chilly) chutney. But many have come to us asking for outengat diya gahori. It is prepared by cooking pork with elephant apple, which gives it a tangy flavour. We cook it in the same manner like lai xaakot diya gahori (pork cooked with lettuce) that, too, is quite popular,” said A. Pegu, who had come all the way from Dhemaji to participate in the Bhogali Mela currently under way at Zoo Road Tinali here.

Outengat diya gahori, a popular ethnic dish of the Mising community, costs Rs 50 a plate while a stick of barbecued fish, duck or meat comes for Rs 100.

“We are serving rongalaut diya xamuk which is a very special ethnic dish of the Karbi community. Here the snail is cooked with pumpkin and it’s very tasty. Hot spicy barbecued crab is also available, which costs Rs 100 a stick. Rongalaut diya xamuk is available at Rs 50 per plate. We are also participating in a similar ethnic food festival at the Rudra Singha Sports Complex, where we are serving matidailot diya xamuk and so far, people have appreciated the flavour,” said B. Injal, another participant at the Bhogali Mela.

Young men in small groups could be seen sitting around tables before the stall selling sai-apong. This traditional drink has been quite a hit here.

“Half a bottle of sai-apong costs Rs 50 and the full bottle Rs 100. We are serving it with barbecued pork and barbecued fish of different varieties. Since this is our traditional drink, the excise officials, too, are allowing us to sell it in the festival here,” said a participant from North Lakhimpur.