Mizoram was one of the first NE for which I decided what to make. It was based on various articles I read and thought that will be most appropriate. Then I was busy searching for the other North East states, happy with the thought that I at least have short-listed one state. However, as I said, I stopped cooking for the states after the marathon started and all of a sudden, I started getting worried that I still had a handful pending.
All it took was a weekend, a mind to accept certain things are beyond us and just going ahead making it. The recipe I had short-listed for Mizoram was swapped for another state and voilà, suddenly life looked so much better! I had warned hubby dear that it was going to be North East for lunch, and I made all three states in one shot, served it with Pooris, just to meet my bread clause and served all the states as a side dish. You can’t catch me dodging rules, just maybe bending them a bit..:)
Anyway, I had read about this chutney in Meera‘s blog when she participated in RCI- the North East States. She had written that Asha had sent her the recipe, which was originally from the North-East Cookbook. I read a couple of reviews about this book, however, I couldn’t actually find any recipe shared online.
So being in a dilemma, changing my mind to make this chutney was the best solution I had on hand. I had another shock after making it. Athamma tasted it and said this is exactly what her Mom used to make and also said that she used to add dried salt fish powder to this chutney. The entire chutney is ground in the traditional “Rubbu Rayyai” or the Pistol and Mortar of a bigger size. On the side, they used to pound the dried fish and press with hand, into the roasted green or red chilies. She was all nostalgic and said nothing beats that taste and one can never make that these days.
To say I was shocked was putting it mildly! Imagine, you learn a couple of new things about your own cuisine. However this is a typical rustic village dish, not popularise outside their place. So hearing that this may not be something the younger generation might even know, put me in a better frame of mind.
However imagine you have two states so far apart, yet they have similar food habits, so unexpected. I had Athamma saying the same on a couple of other cuisines as well. So it could only mean that our cuisine has moved away from the older style of cooking and forgotten those dishes.
Anyway, this chutney is also something she said they used to make so often. So I present to you, the fiery roasted green chilies.
I made a small amount of this chutney. And needless to say, it was very tasty.
Hmarcha Rawt – Chili Chutney from Mizoram
Roast the Green or red chillies on the tawa until blackened slightly.
Cool and grind this to a coarse paste with salt.
Mix this with finely chopped raw onions, little grated ginger. Mix well and store.
Red Chillies should be roasted and soaked in little water for 10mins and drain all the water before grinding since they don’t have water like green chillies.