Translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma
Tripura’s tribal food is enjoyed by people across the state and even in other states. The food is so tasty that people are seldom satisfied with just one helping. Tripura has 19 tribes, and each tribe’s food culture is different from the other, so Tripura gets to enjoy a wide variety of food. In some of the tribes, every vegetable that is used in cooking is obtained from jhum cultivation, which tribals in Tripura have been practicing for a long time now. During jhum cultivation, no chemical fertilizers are used, and people depend on natural fertilizers to produce fresh and organic vegetables.
Among the beloved dishes of the tribals in Tripura is Bugini curry. What makes this dish unique is that the curry is cooked without any oil or masala—as is usually done in many parts of India. Therefore, the tribals call this curry the “pure curry”.
Cooking Bugini Curry
To cook the Bugini curry, we use the white portion inside the banana tree, potato, salt, chilli, dry fish, beans, cauliflower stem and flour. Sometimes, even potatoes are added to the curry.
The water is first boiled in a pot for about 5-10 minutes. The dry fish, salt, chilly and turmeric are then put in the water. After five minutes, the vegetables are added. A paste is made with 10 tablespoons of flour mixed with water, and that paste is added to the curry. The curry is stirred and mixed properly and cooked for five minutes, and the Bugini curry is ready to consume! Bugini curry can be consumed with rice or roti.
This curry is considered to be very healthy since it is oil-free and made of fresh vegetables and nothing more. Although this is a very old recipe passed down from generation to generation in the tribes of Tripura, people still cook and eat it today. I hope the next generation of tribals continues to cook this tasty dish, preserving the tradition of eating fresh and healthy food from organic vegetables.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.