Many a time I am longing our home made 'Mizo bai' which some may called it Mizo cuisine or one of the Mizo food items/dishes. It is right to say that Mizo hardly take food without 'bai' in our home. We may say a simple definition of 'bai' like this 'It is a mixture of vegetables, salt, chingal (or Soda), saum (fermented pig fat) and water that are cooked together in a same pot'. You may also say that it is almost similar with vegetable stew. Mizo oldest dictionary - Pu Buanga dictionary define bai like this: bai, v. to boil in water with the addition of salt, chingal, and sa-um, (occasionally with the addition of salt only). adj. boiled in water with the addition of salt, chingal, and sa-um. n. anything so boiled.
How to cook bai in Mizo style?
The picture shown below is a mixture of potatoes (alu), bean, cabbage (zikhlum) lady-fingers (bawrhsaiabe), chili pepper (hmarchapui), garlic (purunvar), ginger (sawhthing) and dried soya-beans (bekang) and water. By using these ingredients we will try to explain how to make bai:
1. Heat water around 1 or 1.5 litre in a pot. (It's depend upon the number of member that you want to serve, if members are more you may add more water and vegetables.)
2. When it reach boiling temperature and bubbles gone, add vegetables that are harder like chopped potatoes or brinjal/eggplant or beans etc or any stalks or leaves (sliced cabbage/zikhlum) that you want to cook (leaves and stalks should also be cut in smaller pieces).
3. After 10/15 minutes over add 4/5 chili peppers, 4-garlics, 4/5-ginger slices, 1 table spoon of bekang (dried smelly soya-beans), saum (fermented pig fat) and chingal or soda (potassium bicarbonate) with half table spoon.
4. Stirs with spoon in circular motion and reverse sparsely.
5. When potatoes or any other harder ingredients seem to softer form add lady-fingers and salt.
6. Don't forget to stir again and again, you may add water if required, keep the fire/heat in moderate level.
7. After 25/30 minutes or more or wait till all the ingredients are in done (cooked), then off your burner.
8. Your bai is ready to serve :)
Please keep in mind that all kinds of vegetables can be included in your bai ingredients, there is no strict rule that particular vegetables or plants should only be mixed with. Sometime rice also included in bai, it's depend upon the kind of bai you want to make it, for example - if you want to make bai with mustard leaves rice is essential for the ingredients. The selection of bai ingredients are usually depended upon the choice of the individual or family. But, you may not cook a tasty bai without the mentioning ingredients like chingal (lye or potash solution by leaching wood ashes) or soda, saum, salt, chilly, dried smelly soya-beans (bekang). Hope you like this post :)
|Bai - Mizo cuisine, Mizo food item, Mizo dish, Mizo curry.|