The Garo tribe is one of main tribes residing in Meghalaya. The staple food of the Garos is rice. They also eat millet, maize, tapioca, and bamboo shoot which is also known as kalchi or katchi. They relish different meats according to their availability. Along with pork, beef, mutton, wild animals like deer, bison, ducks and the like are also consumed. Do’o Kappa and Galda Nakham are the main dishes prepared in almost every Garo house.
In the ancient days, the tribe used to consume kappa, known as soda, for better digestion. This also helps clean the digestive system of a person. It has also been said that soda can help reduce calories and so it is no surprise that younger generations have included kappa in their daily diet. After all, it helps to keep them fit and toned.
Since the weather of Meghalaya is cold and pleasant around the year, the Garos are very fond of spicy hot food which includes a lot of green chillies and king chilly, also known as Raja Mircha to keep warm.
Since Garos reside in many different parts of the Northeast namely Kamrup, Goalpara, Karbi-Anglong in Assam and Garo hills of Meghalaya, the taste of the same dishes varies from household to household. However, there are more similarities than differences, when it comes to food, and so the use of soda, dry fish, rice powder and bamboo shoot can be seen in almost all Garo households.
Do’o Kappa (Chicken Garo Style):
- 1kg Chicken
- Soda powder
- Ginger, onions, capsicum
- Fresh coriander leaves
Method: Place the chicken in a pot. Add 3tbs of smashed ginger to the chicken, along with capsicum, chopped onions, green chillies, 1spoon of soda and salt to taste. Place it over the fire for around 20 minutes and add a little amount of water so that the curry doesn’t get stuck in the pot and keep stirring in between. When the chicken is soft, the dish is ready to be served hot.
- Red Sorrel leaves / Roselle leaves
- Dry fish
Method: Wash the sorrel leaves (mesta tenga), dry fish and some chillies and place it together in a pot and add salt according to your taste. Cook it till the leaves get a little tender and then serve it hot.
Words: Ruth Sangma