As idli and dosa is to Tamil Nadu, momos and thukpa is to Sikkim. Despite the multi-flavoured variety in the state, people often end up associating it with the two most popular dishes. Well, we are here to bust the misconceptions. Inspired heavily by Nepali and Tibetan flavours, Sikkimese cuisine offers delicious dishes of meats and vegetables. So, what can you eat in the state beyond momos?
Generally a dish for the summers, phagshapa is a pork based dish served with rice. Food from Sikkim is generally regarded to be very spicy and even though this dish contains its fair share of heat, it is still easier on the palate than the rest. The star of the dish is the pork, cooked with subtle spices, chilli and radish in oil. The pork fat is left on the meat to give it the dish’s primary flavour.
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In the bitter-cold winters of Sikkim, it is ideal to try out an alcoholic beverage to keep you warm. A Tibetan drink later adopted by the state, chaang is a must-try drink in the state of Sikkim. It is produced with fermented cereals and sipped through a bamboo vessel with a bamboo straw. The vessels with the millets are topped with warm water to extract the flavour.
A unique dish, the star ingredient of this dish is fermented soya bean. It is one of the most popular dishes of the state for its taste as well as its high protein value. A tadka of turmeric powder, onion, red chilli and tomatoes is added to the gravy to further enhance the taste. The dish is served with rice. This is a great food for the vegetarians visiting the state.
Kodo Ko Roti
A Nepali dish, kodo ko roti has been adopted through Sikkim as a dish of its own. The dish is a simple bread meal, typically served with pickle. With kodo flour or finger millet flour, the batter is kneaded and spread across a banana leaf. The leaf is then covered and baked on a tawa. The dish is known to taste best when a tomato pickle is served as an accompaniment.
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Reminiscent of a soft pretzel because of its ring shape, a sael roti is a bread prepared during festivals in Nepal. This has been roped in Sikkimese cuisine. The dish is made from a batter of fermented rice and then deep-fried. The dish is perfect for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, since it can be eaten with a potato curry or even a meat accompaniment.
Gundruk and Sinki
Another one for the vegetarians, gundruk and sinki are fermented vegetable dishes. Green vegetables are packed into air-tight containers to make gundruk. Various other vegetables including turnip, radish and mustard are cut and fermented to make the sinki. They can be eaten or even added into soups, pickles and curries.
Cheese is loved by almost all, barring the lactose intolerant of course. And while fancy international cheeses from around the world are commonly talked about, there is little discussion about this delicious cheese in Sikkim. chhurpi is manufactured in both hardened and softened versions. The harder cheese is made from Yak’s milk and is either brown or white in colour. It is typically slightly sweet in taste. The softer one can be made from the milk of yak, goat or cow. This kind is slightly tangy in taste.