Crowds flock to cooking demos featuring pure, organic spices from the region
New Delhi, Nov 24: Visitors to the India International Trade Fair (IITF) this year were greeted with the novel sight of exotic dishes from the North-East cooked from scratch and served up for them to taste, with the aroma of fresh organic spices from the region wafting around: courtesy the Spices Board.
An autonomous body and a flagship organization for the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the Board has been enjoying considerable success with its innovative promotional effort at the ongoing trade fair, at once raising awareness about the quality of the spices grown in the North East and giving the public a taste of regional cuisine.
The Board tied up with Rosang, a Delhi-based restaurant well-known for its authentic North-East cuisine, for live demonstrations of regional cooking, featuring a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes flavoured with spices such as bay leaf, peppers, turmeric, coriander, basil and chives, a variety of chillies including the famed Naga King Chilli which was once named the hottest chilli pepper in the world.
The owner of Rosang, Mary Lalboi, a Manipur-born Mizo, and Chef VariMhar from Manipur, manned the stall, preparing 10 dishes over five days. They made two dishes a day for the public to see and taste, with free flyers provided by Spices Board containing full recipes.
The recipes included Gotuai Sa Kan(a meat dish flavoured with chillies, Mizo basil and ginger), NghuiNgosing (Roasted boneless fish marinated in tomato, lemon leaf, coriander and ginger), LaphuTharoPaknam (made with banana flowers, fresh bamboo shoot, onion, chives and chillies, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed) and Singju (a dish made of lotus root, sliced cabbage, sweet potato leaf flavoured with an assortment of North Eastern spices).
MamtaRupolia, Export Promotion Officer, Spices Board, who has been managing the stall said the response has been great including bulk buyer enquiries and retail sales of spices and spice products, given the exotic appeal of the dishes and growing awareness that the North-East region produces some of the best quality spices in India.
“North East is still an unexplored region as far as spices are concerned,” she said. “People must be made aware of the fact that the climate and soil of the region is suitable for an extraordinary variety of spices, many of which are home grown with hardly any fertilizers or chemicals added, making them organic.”
The Board has received export enquiries as well as interest from small start-ups. The stall has a variety of spices on sale, including a special North-East Gift Box containing turmeric, large cardamom and Pippali or Long Pepper; as well as value added products such as Chai (tea) masala and extracts of cardamom, red pepper and chilli.
The five-day cooking demonstration has come to a close, but the stall will remain open until November 27th when the IITF ends.
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