Axone is a staple in Nagaland.
We are not discussing here the movie ‘Axone’ that is streaming on the OTT platform, but we are definitely talking about a part of the movie that gave it its name. The movie has sparked an interest among foodies across the country; if you’ve seen the movie, you would know what we are talking about. The lead actor (Sayani Gupta) puts in her best efforts to prepare the dish called ‘Axone’ for a celebratory feast, and it instantly ticked us to find out more about it.
Axone: The Background
Axone is actually a very popular food in Nagaland and tribal communities in the north-eastern region of India. Said to be invented by Sumi tribe of Nagaland, this chutney-like food is made by fermenting soya beans. You may find the local people referring to it as ‘akhuni’ also.
Axone is made up of two words – ‘axo’, which means ‘aroma’ and ‘ne’, which means ‘strong’. So it goes without saying that axone is deeply enriched with flavours and aromas, which come through even with a small whiff or bite.
How Is Axone Used?
Axone is largely used as an accompaniment or condiment in the form of chutney or pickle, or simply used as a flavour enhancer by adding it to make all sort of meals including veg and meat gravies, snacks and even stews. But that’s not all. Axone, in its dry form, is also used for garnishing all these meals just to uplift their taste.
What Does Axone Offer?
The answer is simple – its highly pungent and acidic flavour. Since it is a fermented product, the flavours are strong, and for some people too overwhelming that it takes more than one tasting session to develop a taste for it; and once you do, there’s no going back to not liking it.
How Is Axone Made?
Soya beans are picked and cleaned, and then soaked in water overnight, and boiled thoroughly the next day. After draining the excess water content, soya beans are wrapped in banana leaves and leftover kitchen fire to imbue all the smoke, and ferment for up to a week. In the absence of kitchen fire provision, some people also leave the wrapped axone to dry out in the sun to ferment but it may not produce the same taste and smell as the traditional smoke fire method does.
If you watched the movie ‘Axone’ and had been wondering about this mystery dish, you have all your answers here. If and when you visit north-east India, don’t forget to try their staple and come back with fond memories of it.
About Neha GroverLove for reading roused her writing instincts. Neha is guilty of having a deep-set fixation with anything caffeinated. When she is not pouring out her nest of thoughts onto the screen, you can see her reading while sipping on coffee.