BENGALURU: When I was in Nagaland last winter, I was curious to explore Naga food. But I was unable to find any local restaurant that cooked authentic local dish.
One of my friends there told me that many locals prefer to have a home-cooked food than a meal at the restaurant because one can get authentic food only at someone’s home.
I got an invitation from my a Naga friend to dine at his place. His grandmother cooks traditional dishes using unique ingredients. She uses bamboo shoots, small fish, local tomatoes, salt and local fresh red chilies which is gently stuffed in cleaned bamboo tubes and covered with banana leaves. It is then placed in charcoal where the dish is cooked. The dish is called Pongsen. Once the fish is cooked, the bamboo tubes are emptied in a bowl and the dish is ready to be served.
Pongsen, which is one of the traditional dish made by locals, had a strong bamboo flavor. Tomatoes added to the dish made it tangy and balanced the taste of the dish.
It was served with white sticky rice. As a chef, it was a great experience to taste the traditional dish where bamboos are used as ingredient and also as cooking vessel.
The concept fascinated me and I gave my own twist to it. I used minced bamboo shoots and red chilies along with prawns (I replaced the small fish with prawns) and I added a little garlic to make the stuffing for Pot Stickers, which I named it as. I pack the minced prawn and bamboo shoot and pack in the flour sheet and cook it in a bamboo steamer.
— Chef Sachin Talwar
Executive Chef, My Fortune Bengaluru