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Recipe | Naga Traditional Method to Make Steamed Sticky Rice and Axone Chutney

If you are travelling to Nagaland in the Northeast of India, and trying out local cuisine is your top priority, do not forget to taste the traditionally cooked “Sticky rice.” Sometimes eaten as a substitute for regular rice, it is also quite popular in Nagaland as an afternoon snack/mid-day meal. With the relatively earlier sunrise and super early breakfasts in this part of the country, a plate of sticky rice with some axone (akhuni) chutney on the side and a hot cup of tea is indeed a delightful treat. Sticky rice puris are also very popular as noonday snacks with hot tea [Recipe here]

Our R&L contributor Lidang takes us to her kitchen to show us how their family cooks sticky rice and the very popular axone chutney (fermented soybean chutney). Full recipe and video below:


Lidang cooking steamed sticky rice – the traditional Naga way

Ingredients for Steamed Sticky Rice

  1. 1 kg of Sticky rice soaked overnight
  2. 2 types of pots: earthen pot with small holes at the bottom (like a momo steamer) and an aluminum pot (both medium sized)
  3. 2-3 banana leaves
  4. Some newspapers (to connect the two vessels together – one top of each other. Illustration in the video below)
  5. 1 liter water (or as required)

Method to make Steamed Sticky Rice:

  • Take one banana leaf and make slits on each side of the main stem in the middle (view video below) for illustration
  • Now place the leaf (with slit leaves) at the bottom of the earthen pot to prevent the rice from falling through the holes. Now put the rice into the pot.
  • Place the earthen pot on top of the aluminium pot followed by sealing of the gap with soaked newspaper. Take some ash if there are any gaps between the two vessels – to make sure no steam escapes from between.Now wrap the top of the earthen pot (with the rice) with banana leaves, securing tightly with a string over the mouth of the pot.
  • Carefully lift the pots and place it on top of the fire. When you see the steam coming out from the top of the pot, remove the wrapping leaves and check if the rice is cooked. If it is still grainy or not fully cooked, make sure there are no gaps between the pots – and let it stay over the fire until it’s fully cooked.
  • Once the rice is fully cooked, remove from the fire – and remove the leaf cover; now separate the pot holding the rice from the vessel below.
  • The Steamed Sticky Rice is ready to be served hot – with axone chutney and meat dish/pickle (optional).

Photo: Flavorful Steamed Sticky Rice

Ingredients for Axone Chutney

  1. 100 grams of fermented soybean/axone
  2. 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  3. 3-4 dried chilies as per taste
  4. Salt to taste

Ingredients for making Naga Axone chutney


Chutney ingredients (clockwise from left) : Cherry tomatoes, Axone (fermented soybeans), Dried red chillies and Salt

Directions to make Axone Chutney:

  • Roast the chilies and tomatoes over hot ash in your fireplace (or roast over a tava over your stove – of you don’t have a fireplace)
  • Add salt to the roasted chilies and tomatoes, and mash them to a paste
  • Now add the axone to the mixture, and gently mash and mix them
  • Hopt Axone chutney is ready!


Full Video to make steamed Sticky rice – using Konyak Naga tribe traditional method.


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