The ethnic cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh with great nutrients value is simple to cook and scrumptious to consume. The incredible feature of tribal gastronomy is that they avoid using any kind of oil or other dry or packed Indian spices. The tribal cuisines are nutritious and healthy as they regularly use herbs with medicinal properties and indigenous fresh spices which are not found in rest of Indian except in some part of the hilly areas of the North East excluding Assam, Tripura and Sikkim. Maybe because of this reason the tribal’s are very cautious of what they eat while coming to the plain areas. Organic vegetables, curative herbs and fermented bamboo shoots with couple of fresh scented leaves are the integral ingredients of tribal food habits.
Rice is the staple food of all the tribe’s of Arunachal Pradesh. Dung Po (Steam Rice) is the most popular version of cooking rice. Two brass utensils are used for this purpose. In this part of the world, the myth persist that food cooked in a brass utensils are always delicious. Maybe because of this persisting myth, brass has become a popular cooking apparatus found in the house of the poorest of the poor. On the top,the rice is filled with some leaves to secure it from scattering as the pot is hollow from beneath and the 2nd pot is filled with water to generate steams to cook the rice. The cooked rice is wrapped in leaves to serve.
Kholam is also another popular and unique process of cooking rice. In this method a bamboo tube is used instead of metal utensils. The rice is filled with water in a custom made bamboo tube measuring 21/2 feet in height than it is left beside the traditional heath with enough heat to cook it. Before eating the rice the outer layer of the bamboo tube is delicately incised.
Wungwut Ngam (Chicken with rice powder) is a delicious method of preparing chicken with some portion of rice powder. The required amount of rice is fried without any oil till brown and than it is grinded to powder. The rice powder is poured in the half cooked chicken with all the indigenous ingredients than it is left to boil. Boiler chickens are avoided for any kind of ethnic dishes.
The most extraordinary tribal cuisine is a soup called PASA, it is fish soup prepared from fresh raw fish. The head and tail portion is chopped off. The remaining red meat is minced and a paste is prepared. All the ingredients like garlic, ginger, chilly, makat, pee chim khim, phoi hom (indigenous scented spice leaves) are grinded to make a paste. The paste of the fresh raw fish and spices are mixed and flavored with the juice of ooriam (Khumpatt) leaves which gives tint greenish color to the soup. It is said that during war time, tribal soldiers used to prepare this soup instead of cooking food that would have revealed their hideouts.
Ngatok is an ethnic fish curry and the preparing method is incredible. The fish are sliced into small pieces and marinated with the indigenous spices. Thereafter, a medium sized stone is extremely heated than it is kept amidst the marinated fish and wrapped in a particular leave than it is covered by the charcoal or ashes and left to be cooked.
The simple tribal recipes are endless; the aforementioned are the most common cooking method across the state. But if one desires to taste the various tribal delicacies than one has to travel across the state because every major tribes of the state has many sub-tribes and each sub-tribe has different food habits and lifestyle.