Hello I’m Lidang a.k.a cooking_with_li and I share recipe videos on Instagram.

Food is my love language and I speak it with astounding fluency. Frankly, I’m a girl who loves to eat. When I’m not eating, I’m thinking about what to cook next. This love of food has been my guide, joy, and topic I talk about the most. You will find that most of my recipes are very simple and others will take you up a notch when you want to try something new. They are simply a framework for knowing how to cook. Once these recipes are a part of your kitchen, you’ll be able to change them up and improvise. So be inspired by my recipes but make them your own. It’s important to know that succeeding in the kitchen is all about possibly failing first.

Which love wins: Your love for devouring food or Your love for cooking food? Why?

Definitely my love for cooking food. Getting people into the kitchen, getting them excited about cooking real food, and willing to try new things, is what motivates me. There is something so vital about people reconnecting with real food. I am beyond thrilled that my natural affinity for something I love resonates so positively for others. This is what I know for sure: cooking is not just about cooking. Cooking real food will change your life and transform your soul. I’ve watched that transformation many times. It’s the mantra that greets me each day when I wake up.

What is your take on Dogs/Snakes/Snails/Silkworms as a part of our cuisine?

Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots. That is how we consider food. Food has a culture. It has a history. It has a story. It has relationships.

—Winona Laduke.

Who are the supporting roles around you?

I thank God for my husband everyday. From recipe testing, to being my harshest critic to helping me steer the ship.

To my parents, siblings and in laws: You gave me enough love to last a lifetime. I hit the jackpot when it comes to family.

My Dad, my hero, my best friend, my everything. Thank you for always encouraging me to follow my passion and for helping me realize that passion is what drives us to be happy in life.

Choose between

-Premium Ingredients but Primitive Kitchen

– Premium Kitchen but ordinary ingredients

I would go for Premium ingredients but Primitive kitchen. The quick pace of life today, and all our modern conveniences, disconnect us from enjoying cooking the way people once did. To slow cook a pork shoulder or belly with minimum ingredients in a fireplace for 3-4 hours and pull out something unbelievably delicious-now, that is magic.

One full pig is presented to you. How do you plan to prepare that? Share your ideas for the buffet.

Any Naga celebration is incomplete without a pig. Firstly I will cook the head whole like the Sumis during weddings or any big celebrations. Then I will slow cook the trotters separately and smoke it.

I will also make our famous “khoon sabji” blood curry with the intestines and offals.

I would also love to make some sausages with the large intestines using minced offals and Naga herbs and aromatics.

I would then chop up some meat and fat and cook my dad’s famous pork in bamboo tubers. I’ll take the caul fat and steam some delicious aanphat. A delicacy famous from the Phom community which is a mixture of caul fat, meat, rice powder, indigenous herbs & spices. And lastly, I would smoke some pork belly and make smoked pork with Konyak Taro(Kuchu) and some fresh pork with Zeliang bamboo shoot.

Who is your favorite Celebrity chef ?

My favourite celebrity chef is Yotam Ottolenghi. Yotam is not a vegetarian but he’s famous for bold middle eastern and veg-championing dishes. I’m a hardcore non vegetarian but I love my vegetables just as much and I’m on a whole new path where I’m rediscovering our exotic herbs, leaves & vegetables. Yotam is known for transforming ordinary vegetables to extraordinary dishes with his own twists and makes everything look perfect and that is one of my life’s pleasures-uncovering those elements that transforms food from ordinary to extraordinary.

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