HomePregnancyTop 5 Nutritional Recipes of North East India for Pregnant Women

Top 5 Nutritional Recipes of North East India for Pregnant Women

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North-east India is often underrated, but its rich culture, history, and traditions make every state in the province a treat to learn about. Given the cultural diversity in north-eastern India, it isn’t surprising that their cuisines are versatile, fresh, and flavorful.

As a pregnant woman, cravings are fairly normal. And trust us when we say this, the diverse range of dishes in northeastern India can make a huge difference in your otherwise boring pregnancy palate. From sour to spicy and influenced by international cuisines, north-east India packs a fusion of flavors in their dishes.

This article will explore the top 5 nutritional recipes of northeast India for pregnant women that you should know about.

What Makes up the Regional Northeast Indian cuisine?

Northeast India is a mix of eight beautiful states, each bringing unique dishes and flavors to the table.

The eight states include:

  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Sikkim
  • Tripura

To make your search to try out the best northeast Indian food during pregnancy, we will be highlighting the top dishes you can try from each of these states and also look into why they are so great for pregnant women.

What are the Best Northeast Indian Recipes for Pregnant Women?

Inculcating fresh and zesty flavors, northeast Indian dishes are nothing short of a flavor bomb. They are tangy, sweet, and spicy, all enough to satiate each craving that hits you during your pregnancy.

However, given how underrated northeast India is in general, it isn’t surprising that not many people are aware of the staple dishes.

We fail to understand that northeast Indian cuisine isn’t limited to bhut jolokia and momos. Instead, it is a diversity and celebration of various cultures and traditions – all mixed into one.

If you are from northeast India or you live in one of those eight states, and are looking for pregnancy-friendly recipes, we have your back.

To ensure diversity in the list of recipes, we will share one flavorful, healthy and nutritious recipe from each state in northeast India that is great for every pregnant woman.

1. Zan (Finger Millet Porridge) – Arunachal Pradesh

Besides being known for its mountains, snowfall, and picturesque landscapes, Arunachal Pradesh is also known for one of its most popular dishes, Zan.

It is a type of finger millet porridge but savory. It includes a blend of millet flour with a variety of vegetables that make the dish fulfilling, nutritious, and packed with a whole lot of fiber.

Zan is native to Tawang, a popular district in Arunachal Pradesh. It originates from the native people in the area, Monpa.

Why is it great for pregnant women?

Since the dish contains ragi flour, it has a high level of fiber in it, which is beneficial during pregnancy. The water-soluble fiber in the dish prevents complications of constipation and digestive disorders during pregnancy.

The high fiber content in the dish also prevents risks of gestational diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Pair that with all the seasonal and colorful vegetables, and you also get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, adding to the benefits.

What do you need?

  • Ragi flour – 1.5 cups
  • Vegetables of choice – 1-2 cups (cut into small cubes)
  • Fenugreek leaves – One handful
  • Coriander leaves – ½ cup
  • Water – as needed
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper powder – 1-2 tsp
  • Oil – optional

How to make it?

  • Take a kadhai or a non-stick pan and dry roast the ragi flour until it becomes slightly brown and toasty. Set it aside and let it cool down.
  • In a pressure cooker, add all your chopped and diced vegetables and add water. Let it pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • In a separate pan, add the toasted ragi and add 1 cup of water, and mix it using a whisk, ensuring that it doesn’t form lumps.
  • Keep adding water to the ragi mixture until it attains a porridge-like consistency. You can also add your salt and pepper at this stage.
  • Once the porridge is ready, pour it into the pressure cooker with the vegetables.
  • Mix everything and taste to check the seasoning. Adjust if needed.
  • Cook this entire dish for some time until it becomes glossy.
  • Add the fenugreek and coriander leaves at the end.
  • Serve it hot.

Pro tip: Serve it with some toasted bread or a bowl of rice for a more satiating and comforting meal.

2. Poita Bhaat and Aloo Pitika – Assam

If you are looking for a filling yet light breakfast option for your pregnant self, the combination of Poita Bhaat and Aloo Pitika works wonders.

It is literally a running rice “porridge” with potato mash with some local spices. The dish is simple and a great dish for cooling down the body during the piping hot summer weather.

Poita Bhaat is a type of congee, a staple across most other Asian countries, including China, Japan, Vietnam, etc.

Why is it great for pregnant women?

Besides its amazing taste, Poita Bhaat and Aloo Pitika are very light on the stomach. If you are experiencing digestive issues during pregnancy, this is a great recipe to try out.

Not just that, the dish is also rich in Vitamin B12, which is great for the optimal well-being of both the mother and the child during the pregnancy period.

What do you need?

For Poita Bhaat

  • Cooked rice – 1 cup (soak it in 2 cups water overnight in the fridge)
  • Dahi or curd – ½ cup
  • Onion – 1 chopped
  • Green chilies – ½ tsp chopped
  • Salt – to taste

For Aloo Pitika

  • Boiled potatoes – 3
  • Mustard oil – 1 tsp
  • Green chilies – 1 tsp chopped
  • Salt – to taste

How to make it?

  • Your prep for this dish starts the night before. Set aside a cup of cooked rice, soak it in 2-3 cups of water, and leave it in the fridge. Traditionally, you leave it outside for the rice to ferment but since the recipe is for pregnant women, we’d recommend keeping it in the fridge to avoid fermentation.
  • Next morning, take out the soaked rice and add the curd into the mixture, and mix everything well.
  • In a separate bowl, add your boiled potatoes and mash them with your hands.
  • Add salt, chilies, and mustard oil and mix everything until it forms a ball.
  • And, that’s all. You can now enjoy your mix of aloo pitika with poita bhaat.

Pro tip: If you want to spice things up more, you can also do a tempering with the mustard oil instead of mixing it raw in the boiled potatoes.

3. Panch Phoron Tarkari – Tripura and Mizoram

Another delightful and delectable vegetarian dish that’s a staple in the states of Tripura and Mizoram is Panch Phoron Tarkari. It is a mixed vegetable dish tempered with the “five blends” spice called Panch Phoron.

It uses all the seasonal vegetables, packs in a whole lot of nutrients, and is bursting with flavor. So, if you are pregnant and you are looking for a comforting curry recipe to add to your lunch menu, this one is a great choice.

Why is it great for pregnant women?

Panch Phoron is a flavor bomb. So, as pregnant women, if you are tired of eating the same kinds of vegetable curries and want to switch things up a bit, we’d recommend giving this a go.

Since it uses seasonable vegetables, you are also getting a host of vitamins and minerals that your body needs during pregnancy. The dish sometimes even calls for spinach, which is great for pregnant women because of its iron content.

What do you need?

  • Choice of vegetables – 1-2 cups diced
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – ½ to 1 cup
  • Panch phoron – 1 tsp

How to make it?

  • Heat a pan and add the panch phoron spices and toast it for a few seconds until it releases the oil and aroma.
  • Let it cool down and ground up the spices in a mortar and pestle or a grinder.
  • In the same pan, add mustard oil and let it heat up.
  • Add the ground spices and let it roast on a low to medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the bay leaves and let it roast for a few seconds.
  • Add the vegetables and mix and toss everything to ensure that the spice mixture coats the vegetable well.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt, and sugar and mix everything well.
  • Add the slit green chilies if you want some spice.
  • Once everything is combined well, add some water and the milk and cover the dish to let the vegetables cook through.
  • You have to wait until all the vegetables are cooked through and the water has dried up entirely.
  • Once done, serve it hot with a bowl of rice.

Pro tip: Always use seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, fresh peas, and brinjal for a depth of flavor and freshness to the dish.

4. Ja Stem – Meghalaya

You can’t really talk about the best northeast food to get pregnant if you don’t include a rice dish from Meghalaya.

Ja Stem is a traditional and local turmeric rice dish that’s eaten for lunch and dinner in the state. It is fairly simple but is bursting with flavors and health benefits. The dish has a very earthy flavor to it, which is what makes it a staple in every pregnant woman’s diet.

Why is it great for pregnant women?

If you are sitting there confused as to why Ja Stem is a must-try dish during pregnancy, it is all about the simplicity of this dish.

It isn’t dominated by a lot of spices and above all, the dish is fairly simple to make. So, if you don’t want the hassle of cooking a lot of things, this is a great dish to indulge in. Also, the dish is a great elevation from the standard white rice.

Furthermore, the turmeric in the rice has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which is great for the overall immunity of pregnant women.

What do you need?

  • White rice – 1 cup
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Onions – ½ cup chopped
  • Bay leaves – 1
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Dried red chili – 1-2
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon stick – 1
  • Cardamom – 2
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – as needed

How to make it?

  • Start by thoroughly washing the rice and soaking it in water for 2-3 hours.
  • In the meantime, heat a pan and add some mustard oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, and dried chili in the hot oil and mix it around until the seeds start sizzling.
  • Add the chopped onions and ginger and garlic paste and fry them until everything turns golden brown.
  • On the side, cook and cool down your rice.
  • To the onions in the pan, add some turmeric powder and keep frying for 1-2 minutes.
  • Let everything fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the cooked rice and salt at this stage.
  • Mix everything together until every grain of the rice turns yellow.
  • Once done, take it off the heat and squeeze some lemon and sprinkle some coriander leaves for some zing and freshness.

Pro tip: If you want to reduce your hassle, you can also add uncooked rice and then cook it in the same pot by adding some water.

5. Naga Galho – Nagaland

We have all grown up eating khichdi with the staple mix of rice and lentils. Naga Galho is a type of khichdi that’s a staple to Nagaland but has a very unique taste and way of making.

It contains meat in it as well, which adds to the heartiness of the dish. The consistency of this dish is quite soupy and runny, which makes it a perfect comfort food during the chilly winter months.

Why is it great for pregnant women?

The highlight of this dish from Nagaland is its versatility. You get everything you’d need in a single dish. You have carbs from the rice, protein from the lentils and meat, and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and leafy greens.

Overall, the dish is also very light on the stomach and very easy to digest as well. If you are pregnant and having a hard time keeping food down, this is a great dish to explore.

What do you need?

  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Spinach – ½ cup
  • Vegetables of choice – ½ cup (optional)
  • Green chilies – 2-3
  • Chopped tomato – 1
  • Ginger garlic paste – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1-2 tsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Meat – 1 cup (chicken, mutton, pork)

How to make it?

  • Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in some water and keep it aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, add the soaked rice, spinach, veggies, chilies, tomato and ginger, and garlic, and mix everything well.
  • Add salt and mix well.
  • Add your protein of choice and mix everything well until the meat changes color.
  • Once done, add 2-3 cups of water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • Let the steam escape on its own. Add some chopped coriander for extra flavor.

Pro tip: If you are vegetarian, you can either skip the meat or add soya chunks to compensate.

FAQs

Which fruits from Northeast India are good for pregnancy?

Northeast India has a diversity of berries growing in different states. Fruits like Sohphie and Sohphie Nam are very popular and good for pregnant women.

Which vegetables from Northeast India are good for pregnancy?

Vegetables like kundru and tree beans are considered amazing and healthy for pregnant women.

Is it safe to eat pickles during pregnancy?

Vegetarian pickles are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy. However, we’d recommend avoiding non-vegetarian pickles that contain chicken, fish, prawns, etc.

Conclusion

Northeast India is not just popular for its stunning mountains and greenery; the food is equally delectable. If you are pregnant and have been looking for the best recipes of northeast India food for pregnant women, we hope this article gives you a few popular ones to try out.

 

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Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.

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