In a nutshell:
Naga food stall in Dilli Haat that is a good quick introduction to YUMM but slightly toned down sub authentic Naga Food.
Address & other details: Dilli Haat. Try to take the metro as parking is a big nuisance.
Meal for 2: Rs. 400 onwards
Cuisine type: vegetarian & predominantly nonvegetarian
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
We have been to this place a few times before but this was the first time we really explored the width of this place – courtesy my foodie friends Aalok & Sumit who organized a food walk at Dilli haat.
Naga Food – A cuisine that is very different from most other Indian cuisines –Hot, spicy (not in a Mughal cuisine way), non oily, different & YUMM (if u can taste beyond the ‘hot’). Some of the commonly used ingredients r Raja Mircha (Bhut Jalokia), Bamboo shoot, Yam leaves etc that r otherwise not so common in most other Indian dishes.
For the uninitiated, Raja Mircha was declared to b the hottest chillies on earth. When u eat a dish with Raja mircha, the ‘hot’ hits a few seconds later (unlike in normal chilly) & then leaves behind a strong aftertaste. They say ‘dosage is ½ chilly in curry for 2 people’. This chilly was previously (in 2007) recognized by Guinness World Records as the hottest pepper in the world – ten thousand times hotter than Tabasco sauce!!!!! The pepper is also known as Naga Jolokia, ghost pepper, ghost chile pepper, red naga chilli, and ghost chile.
Did u know that there is a measure of hotness of food? Its called Scoville Scale – the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers!!!! The comparison with tabasco sauce was done using this measure.
Bamboo shoots r usually used in Far east countries & China.
Wanna try out the cuisine from Nagaland & yet not sweat it out? check out the Nagaland stall at Dilli Haat. Unlike the hardcore Naga food at Dzukou, the food here at Nagaland stall is a bit toned down & u r asked the ‘level of hotness’ b4 the dish is prepared.
Winter noons & summer evenings r the best time to visit this place as seating (like all other stalls) is in open area. What might pose to b a problem r the enormous flies in the vicinity. Hardcore foodies usually do not have a problem with this – they love the food so much that they do not mind whitting the flies with their other hand. Others, u might just want to carry a portable tiny battery operated fan to keep the flies away. On windy days this problem does not occur anyway.
Detailed description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:
We tried the pork ribs to start with. These had a very good ‘crackling outer layer’, a very enjoyable ‘crispy outside soft inside’ layer of fat & a ‘crispy outside, suboptimally soft but fibrous inside’ flesh. This was the most ‘non spicy non hot’ item that we had in the menu maybe other than the momos that they sell. I wud rate this at 4/5.
Pork Raja Mircha – The gravy was nice & YUMM on its own but Raja Mircha was nowhere making its presence felt inspite of being told to give generous amounts of it. I wud give this a 3/5
Pork Anishi – Curry made of Yam leaves paste was the tastiest of all the curries. Very very good but as compared to the one at Dzukou, the one at Dilli Haat was more oily & hence the chillies did not hit hard on the face – the extra fat had tamed the extent of hotness. While the authentic anishi at Dzukou had set us up on fire, the toned down version one here did not affect us much & we enjoyed it. Authenticity took a beating. I wud give this a 4.25/5.
Pork Bamboo shoot was a very good curry with strong overpowering Bamboo shoot flavour. In case u do not like bamboo shoot, just forget this one. Pork pieces were almost perfect in terms of texture & were tasty for sure. I wud give this a 4/5.
We also tried another curry made with fermented soy beans called Pork Akhuni & liked it. Aubergines were a welcome & unexpected change when it came to veggies in pork curry. The flavours of Soy beans however did not show up as strong & the dish cud not really stand up amongst the rest. I wud give this a 3.5/5.
Rating for food adds up to 3.75/5 for Nagaland stall at Dilli haat.
In case u r thinking why we had all pork – The answer is that one of our friends is posted in Gujarat & there pork is not served. So he was having his ‘pork refill’ for next 6 months. There r chicken & lamb dishes as well.
I wud surely b here few more times this winter. What r u waiting for?