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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Arunachal Pradesh Thali from Breakfast to Snack - Tawang Cuisine of Monpa Tribe

Tawang festival recipes

I had no idea about the tribes in northeast and was so curious to hunt for recipe for 7 sister states as we call the northeast states -  Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. I had zero knowledge about these states except for one thing I knew was they are in northeast part of India. Thanks to Mega marathon theme I got to research on some unknown things about these North east states . North east states of India are fully occupied by tribal people and they have their own culture influenced by the western countries. Regarding the food Most of the people rely on pork meat and  some fermented products like cheese and soy beans. One think I like the most about these place is they grow organic vegetable and fruits and consume every organic . Rice is the staple food in the northeast. Coming to todays state we are stopping by in Arunachal pradesh To know and learn about various culinary facts and also very yummy recipes from there.

Arunachal pradesh is situated in the boundaries of Himalayas and is one amaong the seven sister states. They have vivid community of tribes which is influenced in their cuisines as well. The life style of each tribes varies and their culture also differs. The dishes prepared are generally non -spicy  , they use a lot of bamboo shoots in their recipes .In Arunachal pradesh  there is large population of Monpa tribe and so I made a platter of Tawang Cusine and also 2 of the very common dishes prepared there. The traditional Monpa Cuisine is known for its generous use of chillies and fermented cheese. Butter tea ( Po Cha) is said to be the most main beverage , it said that people living the boundaries of himalaya were is freezing cold drink about 60 glasses of butter tea in a day to keep them hydrated. I hate tea But seriously this was an amazing experiment for me the salt tea tasted very very delicious, the one this to be noted is use lipton brand tea / best use tea bags it will sure work and will not give you the bitter taste in the end adding butter is another interesting thing , traditionally they use yak butter but I used Cow butter but anyway it taste yummy. Alcohol is another beverage had by all men and women in the state and they generally have rice beer, Chang ( a variety of alcohol).

Coming to the main meal the monpa tribal people have pork in large amount but there are sure some vegetarian options thats why am even blogging on this state :). Our very own Momos are the most often made in all states in north east but very popular  in Monpa tribe, Most often they filled with meat filling but there is a veg version of preparing them too. Apart from this there are  healthy and yummy dishes which are popular . I have seen the Indian travel shows and encountered a Malayalam travel show flavours of Inida which was very useful for me to cook this state. Chk out the video here. It was like a jackpot when I found some cooked arunachal pradesh dish pics in here Tawang Festival and with a breeze I carried on my cooking..Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#39.

Arunachal Pradesh Thali


Zan ( Porridge/ Broth with veggies)

Main meal

Thenthuk ( Pull noodle soup)
Veg Momos with Tomato Red chilli Chutney
Oying (Vegetable Stew)

Tea Time Snack 

Butter tea

Monpa Tribe recipes

Northeast recipes

Zan ( Porridge/ Broth with veggies)

Zan is a staple food of Monpas, they are usually prepared with millet or any other kind of flours . They are very simple to make even , just like we make our porridge. The flour is cooked in boiling water and Boiled vegetables / Fermented soybeans or cheese can be accompanied with them. I made them with wheat flour and I added cabbage and carrot to this porridge . This a very healthy porridge which the monpa tribe farmers have them first thing in the morning before going to work. Readying content I made my own version of Zan with veggies.


Wheat flour - 1/4 cup
Ghee - 1 tsp ( optional)
Blanched Veggies - 1/2 cup ( I used Cabbage and carrots)
Water as needed to make the porridge thin ( about 1 1/2 -2 cups)
Salt to taste


  • I used Ghee but you can traditionally there is no ghee or any fat used.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and roast the wheat flour till light brown.
  • Add warm water and keep on stiring , simmer and boil for some time. 
  • Add the blanched veggies and cook them in the broth for few minutes.
  • Serve them hot with fermented soybean or some veggies .

Thenthuk ( Pull Noodle Soup)

Thenthuk is an noodle soup which is similar to thukpa which can made either veg or non veg.Noodle soups are genraaly called thukpa this is a kind of thukpa. But there is some difference the noodle dough is home made and generally the dough is pulled at little flat pieces and  added in the soup.

Adapted from here and the video which have shared before


For dough
1 cup All purpose flour
Salt to taste
About 1/2 cup Water

For Broth 
Tomato- 1 small ( Chopped)
Onion - Half onion ( Chopped)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Vegetable stock - 1 1/2 cup
Soy sauce - 2 drops
Radish / Potato ( optional)
More water as needed


For Dough
  •  Mix all the ingredients and knead a soft and smooth dough.
  • Rest the dough for at least 20 mins so that it turns flexible.
  • Divide the dough into equal parts, and roll the divide parts in between you hands.
  • Apply oil in you hands  so that they don't stick.
  • Now place the rolled dough covered till your broth is ready.

For Broth
  • In a sauce pan heat Oil add Chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and saute them well till they turn translucent.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and saute them Till they are mushy.
  • Add the vegetable stock and let them boil, add soy sauce. If you want you can add radish/ potato and cook them for a while in the water till tender at this stage.
  • Once they start boiling flatten the rolled noodle dough into thin strips .
  • Pull the noodle into pieces using your fingers and throw down in to the boiling water.
  • You have to pull the noodle as fast as you can.when all the noodle dough piece are in the pan, stir an d cook them for few minutes.
  • At the end add spinach and cilantro and just cook till they are blanched.
  • Serve the soup warm.
Veg Momos with Tomato Red chilli Chutney

Veg Momos  

Momos are very popular among Monpa tribe and so I have made the veg version of momos here. Generally they have veg and meat stuffing too. The veg version is generally made with onion and tofu filling, I have added cabbage too. Served with hot spicy tomato and red chilli chutney. They are just my H's fav..


For dough

All purpose Flour/ Wheat flour - 1 cup ( I used APF)
Salt to taste 
Water to knead a smooth dough.

For Filling 

Onion - 1 small ( finely chopped)
Cabbage - 1 cup ( Finely chopped)
Tofu - 1/2 cup ( Crumbled)
Ginger garlic - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 2-3 Nos ( finely chopped)
Paprika - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/ Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup ( Chopped)
Soy sauce - Few drops
Oil - 1 tbsp


For Dough

  • In a bowl put the flour salt and by adding little water at a time nicely knead a smooth dough.
  • Knead well so that the dough is flexible Same as for the dough we made for Thenthuk noodles.
  • Keep aside covered for 15 - 20 mins.

For filling 

  • In a pan heat oil add chopped onions , ginger garlic paste and saute them well till they turn translucent.
  • Add chopped Green chillies, chopped cabbage  and saute them till the cabbage is cooked well.
  • Add paprika ,Soy sauce, salt , crumbled tofu and mix them well. saute till little moisture from the filling evaporates.
  • Filling is ready. 

Shaping the momos

  • Divide the momo dough and roll the dough using a rolling and cut them with around cookie cutter.
  • You can also take a part of the dough and spread to round circle using our fingers, It should not be too thin nor too thick.
  • Spoon some filling in between the dough circle.
  • Pinch a edge of the momo dough and start folding and pinching as we do for saree fleets . pinch the momo dough all the way around and give it a twist.
  • Do this for the rest of the dough . You can make moon shape too if you like I will make a detailed post some time future on shaping momo.

For steaming 
  • Heat water in a idli cooker and place the shaped Momos on the greased idli tray.
  • Steam them for 30- 40 mins till the skin seems to be translucent.

Tomato Red chilli chutney 


Tomato - 1 No
Dry red chillies - 2-3 Nos  ( Adjust according to how spicy you want the chutney to be )
Garlic clove - 2 No
salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp


  • Add tomato, red chillies, garlic, salt and blend it to a smooth paste.
  • In a pan heat oil add this paste and saute for few minutes till the raw smell goes off
  • Serve them with steaming hot momos.

Oying (Vegetable Stew)

When I researched for some curries in arunachal pradesh I found that this vegetable stew was very popular but didn't fin the proper recipe so I made out a recipe with the info available and the outcome was a delicious stew but we had it like a soup with some toasts.

Adapted From here


Spinach - 1/2 cup
Cabbage - 1/2 cup
French beans - 1/2 Cup
Potato - 1 small ( Boiled and roughly mashed)
Green chillies- 2-3 Nos ( chopped)
Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1/2 tsp


  • Roughly chop cabbage , french beans and blanch them.Drain and keep them a side.Reserve the stock.
  • In a pan heat oil add green chillies , ginger paste and saute them.
  • Now add the blanched veggies and saute for few mins.
  • Add the roughly crumbled potato , salt and spinach .
  • Mix well then add a little stock to make them of stew consistency.
  • Boil th stew for a while till all the veggie combine well.
  • Serve them Hot with rice . you can actually have them as soup thats what I did with some toast.Just add some pepper pd if needed.

Kharzi ( Monpa spl Pulao)

This an Monpa Version of pulao made with a the greens called "Mann"  which is same like a spring onion but much more flavorful than them. So I used spring onion greens for the recipe.  They are super quick to make and requires very less ingredients . Traditionally  fermented cheese, ginger , and lot of red chillies is mixed  in to the steaming hot rice with the mann greens. I just didn't wanted to try fermented cheese as I was afraid whether my family would like it or not so went on and used mozzarella cheese. There another version the Gyapa-Khazi which includes dry fish in them mine is of course an veg version.

Adapted from the video Here


Cooked Rice - 1 Cups
Spring onion / Mann leaves( An indigenous veggie)  - 1/2 cup chopped
Mozzarella Cheese- 2 -3 tbsp
Red chilli chutney ( which i made to accompany momos)  - 4 tbsp
Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


  • In a pan add Red chilli chutney ginger paste mozzarella cheese and heat them till the cheese melts a bit. I you are using fermented cheese there is no need for heating  you can directly grind them with some chillies and ginger paste.
  • After the cheese and chutney mixture is well combined add the chopped spring onion / Mann greens.
  • Mix this well into the Hot cooked rice and serve them warm.
Butter Tea / Salt Tea

Most of the states in Northeast would serve this deliicous salt tea  ha ha am not joking they really add salt to the tea and Yak butter even . As we south Indians and north Indian rely on cow's Milk and dairy product , the east people rely on all yak products. Butter tea is very usual beverage prepared in every tribe in Arunachal pradesh and also in some other northeast states. I Hate tea and this pleased me a lot as it was salt version just remember to use lipton brand on teabags to get better taste. People in NE have them a lot in a day to keep the hydrated.


1/2 cup Milk

4 cups water

2 tea bags / 2 heaped tsp of loose tea

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp Butter

  •  In a sauce pan heat water and after it boils add the tea/ tea bags.
  • Boil them till the water mixture turns to black in color.
  • Add Milk and salt, switch of the flame and strain them.
  • Traditionally they use a spl churner to churn this tea but i used my blender.
  • Add butter and pulse them in the blender with tea. Pulse it longer to get a better taste.
  • After they are well combined serve them in a bowl.
  • As we are used to the sweet tea and coffee this might be tasting like a soup for us But as the northeast people have to keep them warm they drink this as tea.
  • The prepare tea is stored in a copper tea pot on a very low flame to keep the tea hot every time.

Khura ( Tea time Pancakes)

Khura is another famous Monpa tea time snack which is prepared with rice flour generally. They are pancakes Little chang ( Alcohol ), a little water and formed into thick batter and kept over nite near the hearth and the next day the soft batter is used for making pancakes. These circular pancakes goes well with the butter tea they drink.


I made them without chang ( the alcohol)
Rice flour - 1 cup
Water as needed
Salt to taste
Oil to cook the pancakes

  • Mix in water in the rice flour till you achieve a idli batter consistency.
  • Leave it to ferment over nite or if you don't have enough time preheat the oven at 200 F and keep the batter covered for 1-2 hours .
  • You can see the batter would have become soft .
  • Add salt to taste and heat the skillet.
  • Pour in the batter and make round pancakes , roasting both side with a little oil drizzled till there are light brown spots.
  • Serve it warm with Butter Tea.


  1. You really hit a jackpot!! So many recipes and its amazing to see them all so well captured.You have done a great job with this state!Kudos to your efforts :)

  2. Manjula, seeing your post one would hardly say we had a tough time getting recipes from these NE!..Lady are you going to give us shock by cooking up thalis! wow..bring them on...needless to say everything in the picture looks so yum and great efforts..

  3. Fantastic thali again, each and every dishes speaks itself how you put great efforts to search and cook from.

  4. WOW. Now you really have to tell us, how do you manage to make all of them together on one day? Super effort. Great pictures.

  5. Oh god... I dont understand above said recipe names but the whole thali looks so Yummy and appetizing. Appreciate ur hard work.

  6. So will anyone believe that it was a hard time getting recipe for these states. I m eager to see if you have cooked thali for other NE too!!! :) Whole thali looks awesome, such a filling meal!!!! :)

  7. Wow intresting yummy recipes....Hats off to your efforts dear...

  8. Omg!!!!!! Can't believe you made all this together... You are just too good.. and the clicks!! I am just mesmerized... Hats thrown far away at your effort... :D Truly Great! :)

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Wow! Manjula, that was super informative.
    1) Loved the blogging marathon theme! I dont know who's idea it was but do pass on my regards.
    2) your post is so good! AP in a glimpse.
    Loved it! :) Bookmarked :)

  11. Wow. .you got guts to cook so much food from a state like Arunachal Pradesh. Hats off dear ..hope this is nit a thali mela.kudos on the efforts.

  12. I am speechless here!!! I found it so hard to find 1 recipe and here you have all the 3 meals!!! hats off!!!

  13. Awesome! I had hard time finding recipes from NE and you are here with a full platter. :)

  14. wow other thali here... No words to say about your efforts and love towards cooking... I can see NE Thali only here... Well made, butter tea quite sounds well... Loved it all..

  15. Wonderful thali again..sounds very interesting and inviting to know about Arunachal cuisine..

  16. Kalakifying dear.keep rocking and all the best for upcoming posts.i am missing this but enjoying everyone's here

  17. I dont understand how you make all these stuff on the same day. nice one dear

  18. great thali ..great job ...

  19. Wonderful meal with variety food items......awesum job dear!!

  20. Thali looks so appetizing and beautiful dear ..Awesome effort :)

  21. Wow Manjula, amazing thali from Arunachal Pradesh. Kudos to ur research and finding so many awesome vegetarian dishes. Everything looks interesting especially the cheese pulao and butter tea.

  22. Awesome! All the dishes looks so appetizing and are so well presented.

  23. Amazing work, Manjula! I cannot imagine dishing out thalis for every state !!

  24. Wow.. You have made a big spread & presented very well.

  25. wonderful coolection.. hats off for ur amazing collection of recipes.. which v hv never heard abt.. love to try all these..grt work ..

  26. Delicious platter, looks very inviting..

  27. The thali Looks so delicious!!

  28. Hatts off to you every thing looks great

  29. This whole post is such a treasure of information and recipes. Well done with the hard work, we all can understand how difficult it is to compose such posts.. Thumbs up for that !

    Ofcourse all the pictures are very tempting and inviting, bookmarked this page for future references.

  30. Fantastic Manjula. I have been struggling to make one recipe per state and here you are with an array of dishes for each state. All the dishes look so inviting....

  31. How you managed to find all these recipes for this far flung state is amazing and you managed to create an entire meal again - you are too good girl!!!

  32. Omg!! You are awesome!! all the dishes and clicks are irresistible..

  33. Too good manjula! This is just amazing :)

  34. Everything looks delicious! I don't drink tea but am sure butter tea taste delicious. I want to try that vegetable stew.


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