Mizo Bai | Mizoram Rice - Vegetable Stew

From one North Eastern sister state - Meghalaya, we move on to another sister state- Mizoram.Mizoram literally means - Land of the Hill people.True to the name this is a land of rolling hills,rivers and valleys and I was surprised to read that there are as many as 21 major ranges of different heights and lengths running across this state with plains scattered in between them!

The origin of the people of this state is shrouded in mystery.The Kukis are the earliest inhabitants of this state and nothing much is known about their earlier existence. Until the British rule in India, these people lived in autonomous villages.

It is indeed great to know that this state stands second in literacy after Kerala and has the second highest urbanization rate in India!

Since this state is blessed with a mesmerizing beauty, the government is trying to increase the revenue by promoting tourism.But due to the lack of essential amenities, the process is getting delayed.

Just like the other North Eastern States, the main food category here too are the non vegetarian dishes. Though vegetables are used and savored, no meal is complete without a few meat based dishes.

Pork, duck, chicken and fish are the most preferred foods along with bamboo shoots and locally grown herbs.

Lard was traditionally and now a day mustard oil is used but in very minimal quantities. Most of their foods are boiled or steamed  and no oil is used in such dishes.

Spices are also sparingly used and the dishes are usually flavored with locally grown herbs and bamboo.Some commonly used spices / flavoring agents are onion, green chili, ginger and garlic.

Meals are usually served on plantain leaves and desserts are not common after a meal. The locals prefer a fresh fruit to desserts.

The use and choice of ingredients can be used as a mark to determine the social / economic status of the family.

It is the job of the women of the household to prepare the daily meal.But in festive times or family gatherings, the male members take over the cooking!You can read more interesting facts about the food and culture of the Mizo people here...

Today's dish is a type of stew from this beautiful state.A soupy -stew kind of dish with rice and vegetables that can be served as a main or a side and can be eaten hot / cold.

Behind the scene :

 As usual, one fine day I went veggie shopping to the farmer's market..I cleaned all the vegetables, removed the stalks of the cauliflower, cleaned the coriander and other greens and put them in containers and neatly stacked all the veggies in the fridge and then sat down to look out for Mizo recipes.

That is when I saw this recipe here.It uses cauliflower stalk as the main ingredient.I was so disheartened as I had just thrown out a huge pile of stalk!I made consecutive trips to the farmers market in the next few days and to my bad luck, I could not find cauliflower anywhere! So I made this with other vegetables.

Coming to the actual dish...Well, this is the only dish that I did not share with any one!!! I made it for breakfast one day and had it all by myself while the rest of the family relished piping hot idlis with sambar.I was sure even the kids will not like this one. So I made it after they had their breakfast! This is very quick to make and I did not really mind the bland taste!

Yes,the taste is a bit bland even for me.May be I should have added more chilies. But it was a really filling meal as it had rice and veggies.

I used:

Rice - a handful
Mixed vegetables
Green chili- 1
Water - as needed
Salt to taste

Chop the vegetables [ I used carrot, cabbage, spinach, bean, cauliflower,potato].Heat 2 cup of water in a pan and bring to boil.Add all the vegetables, green chili and salt and cook for 2 minutes.

Add rice and cover and cook till the vegetables and rice are soft.Add more water in between if needed.

Serve Bai Hot / warm/cold.....

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