Written by Khumtia Debbarma and translated from Kokborok by Luna Debbarma
Meat consumption amongst people differs depending upon the region and cultural connotations. While some people scorn upon one type of meat, others might consume it as a delicacy or it may even be a part of their staple diet. India being a diverse country is home to various communities with varied consumption habits that consume different kinds of meat and also different parts of the meat.
Goat is one of the largest consumed meat in India and it is consumed wholly from head to hooves. Tiprasa food culture considers goat’s head as a quality dish. Let us see how Tiprasa people prepare goat’s head and also the technique of how it is to be eaten.
It all begins with lighting up the fire in a mud stove. The goat’s head is then roasted using a thin stick which is inserted in its mouth. After roasting when it starts to burn a little, the head is removed from the stove and scrubbed with a sharp stick. After scrubbing one side the same process is repeated on the other side of the head. The head is then kept in cold water until it cools down completely.
After the head is all cooled down, it is chopped into pieces in a cooking pot (also known as karai in Kokborok) using a machete (also known as daa in Kokborok). The pieces in the cooking pot are then kept on the mud stove with a high flame. The pot is left to cook for 30 minutes or until its properly cooked.
After it is cooked, the pieces of meat in the pot are again chopped into smaller pieces using a machete, separating the meat and removing the bones, or slicing it using a different kind of machete or a knife (also known as borthi in Kokborok).
In Tiprasa culture it is believed that the brain of the goat is nutritious and tastes very good. The brain is mixed with turmeric leaves, onions, green chillies, turmeric and salt, then it is wrapped in leaves. This combination is further shaken and mixed well.
Now, the sliced goat meat is mixed with mashed fried chillies, onions and ginger. A small quantity of goat’s brain is also added in the mixture which is followed by mixing it all well. Finally, the dish is ready to eat.
Tiprasa food culture symbolises other food cultures which are on the brink of being forgotten. Often such dishes are not cooked and eaten today as they used to be in the olden days. Learning about them and trying to prepare the food in the traditional way is just a step toward keeping the rich culture of Tripura’s tribes alive.
About the author: Khumtia Debbarma is a resident of the Sepahijala district of Tripura. She has completed her graduation and wants to become a social worker. She spends her free time singing, dancing, travelling and learning how to edit videos.