Our curiosity to be a little more familiar with the Khasi cuisine led us to a quaint village called Weiloi, which was 48 km away from the capital city of Shillong on the Mawsynram Shillong highway. We arrived here with our gracious host Linty who coordinated this culinary visit. We were visiting Linty’s friend Joyful Mary and her lovely family to oversee the preparation of a traditional Khasi lunch and to savour the same. The prospect of having a rustic meal made with local ingredients was so fascinating that we started early from Shillong and after an hour and a half drive we reached our destination.
En route to Weiloi, we stopped at a small village named Trysad for some quick refreshments. We checked into a tiny roadside eatery, which was almost full of people having breakfast or just tea. A pleasantly starchy aroma wafted through the space. We ordered some tea for two reasons. First, we were earnestly craving for it and secondly, we were intrigued by the sight of the snacks basket that was being doled out to the customers having this beverage. So along with the tea, the hosts at the eatery placed a neatly arranged basket full of a delightful assortment of rice cakes and biscuits. After you pick the ones that you like, they take them away to the other customers.
There was Pumaloi, Pukhlein, sweet bun, etc. that we had already tried at Lewduh. So on Linty’s recommendation, we tried the Pusla, an elongated, leaf-wrapped steamed rice cake that was made from rice flour and jaggery batter. Other than its mild sweetness, there wasn’t anything distinctive about it. In spite of the absence of a robust taste, these rice-based snacks are hugely popular across Meghalaya because of their wholesomeness that suited the industrious lifestyle of the Khasi people.
Soon we were back on the road and after half an hour's drive, we reached our destination Weiloi. We were greeted by the beautiful rustic surroundings and our genial hosts. Since outdoor cooking is common in villages, we spotted a place in the front yard that was being arranged for the cooking session. There was a portable wood fire oven and the necessary utensils. Before starting with the lunch preparation, we were offered some Putharo(steamed red rice pancakes) with Dohjem(a dish made of pork innards). The humble Dohjem was truly delicious. Moreover, the light Putharos nicely complemented its delicious meaty flavours. We also tasted an interesting combination of Pu Syep(rice cake) with sweet milky tea.
Finally, we were out in the front yard for lunch preparation. Our host, Prup was making the Jado and Khasi style Country chicken curry for us. Both the dishes were cooked in mustard oil along with very few ingredients. In no time the place was full of the tempting aroma arising from the dishes.
After the cooking was over without wasting any time we sat down for lunch. Along with the Jado and chicken curry, there were a few other dishes that the family had already prepared in advance. So our platter comprised of chicken Jadoh, country chicken curry, Phan kleh or potato, and herb mash, stir-fried pork, tungtap, mint chutney, pickled sophie, and some local herbs.
The Jadoh was soggy and very flavourful. The country chicken curry too tasted great. We also like the crunchy mashed potato with herbs and the pickled Sophie that delighted our palette and prepared it for the next morsel. After this soul-satisfying meal, we had the customary kwai. Soon it was time to bid goodbye to the generous family who treated us to such a scrumptious meal. We are truly grateful for this wonderful experience.