Today’s recipe is a special one that showcases one of the most popular Naga spices – ‘axone’ (pronounced aakhuni). This fermented soybean paste has a very strong and pungent smell that can fill an entire house with its unique aroma. It’s no wonder that young people from Nagaland always carry a packet of axone with them wherever they go, to try and recreate their very own ‘Naga kitchen’ – a home away from home.
While the smell of axone may be intense for first-timers, it’s addictive once you get used to the taste. Nagas use this spice in a variety of dishes ranging from chutneys and pickles to various local dishes like smoked pork with axone, nula (snails) with axone, and a host of stew dishes. To get you started, let’s learn how to make the most popular Naga chutney. Get ready to explore the unique flavors of Nagaland!
Fresh axone is made by boiling soybeans and draining the excess water. Then wrapped in banana leaves and left to ferment for 3-7 days over a fireplace. This results in a paste-like consistency with a pungent aroma and a strong flavor. Learn how to make ‘Axone’
Ingredients to Make ‘Axone’ Chutney
- 5-6 fresh green chilies
- 1 big tomato
- 1″ fresh ginger
- A tablespoon of fresh axone paste
- Salt to taste
Preparing the chutney:
- Chilies: Roast them over the fireplace or stove. Do not forget to punch holes before roasting them
- Tomatoes: Roast the tomato by the fireplace or simply roast them on a flat tawa or grill over the stove. Keep turning to make sure it is cooked well from the inside as well. Once done, peel the tomato and keep it aside.
- Cut the ginger into flat slices so that it can be mashed easily
- Now, use a mortar and pestle to mash all the ingredients to a fine paste. (Here, we have used an aluminum Naga chutney bowl).
- Start with the chili and salt. Mash the chili to a fine paste. Then add the roasted and peeled tomatoes. Now, add the ginger and mash it. Add the axone paste at the end and mash & blend it well with the rest of the ingredients; make sure they are all mixed evenly with each other.
Your axone chutney is now ready to be served! It pairs perfectly with a hot plate of rice and some smoked Naga pork, along with some freshly boiled vegetables on the side. Bon appétit!
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