Manipuri cuisine is known for its unique blend of spices, herbs, and aromatics that create a harmonious balance of flavors. The cuisine is largely influenced by the geography, climate, and cultural diversity of Manipur, a northeastern state in India. Some of the healthiest dishes in the world come from Manipur. Their dishes, while basic, are delicious in their simplicity. The majority of their ingredients are organic, adding to the product's overall healthiness. In this article, we will be talking about 9 awesome delicacies of Manipur that you must definitely try.
Chamthong (Kangshoi) is a clear vegetable soup made with seasonal vegetables, meat, or fish, and flavored with herbs and spices. The consistency can be thick as well. The vegetables used in Chamthong can vary depending on the season, but they typically include leafy greens like spinach, mustard greens, or watercress, as well as other vegetables like potatoes, beans, and carrots. The soup is seasoned with aromatic spices like ginger, garlic, and chilies.
Eromba is a traditional Manipuri dish that is made by mashing boiled vegetables and mixing them with fermented fish and chili paste. The dish is typically made with starchy vegetables like yam, potato, or colocasia, which are boiled and then mashed. The fermented fish and chili paste, known as "Ngari" or "Chamthong Chatni," is added to the mashed vegetables along with salt, ginger, and sometimes tomatoes or coriander leaves. The mixture is then further mashed and kneaded until it becomes smooth and homogenous. Eromba is a flavorful and nutritious dish that is often served as a side dish with rice or bread.
Morok Metpa is a popular Manipuri dish that is made with roasted chili peppers and other ingredients. The dish is known for its spicy and tangy taste and is often served as a side dish with rice or bread. To make Morok Metpa, fresh green or red chili peppers are roasted or grilled until they are charred and the skin turns black. The charred peppers are then peeled and mashed with garlic, ginger, and sometimes tomatoes or coriander leaves. The mixture is then seasoned with salt and sometimes a bit of mustard oil or lemon juice to make it taste better.
Singju is a popular Manipuri salad that is made with a mix of fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices. The salad is known for its crunchy texture and bold flavors, and it is often served as a side dish or a snack. To make singju, a variety of vegetables like cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and green papaya are shredded or julienned into thin strips. The vegetables are then mixed with roasted chickpeas, roasted peanuts, and herbs like mint, coriander, and parsley. The salad is then flavored with a mix of tangy and spicy ingredients like tamarind, chili powder, and mustard oil.
Paaknam, which resembles a pancake, is a savory cake made with a thick batter of besan, herbs, and vegetables, and further flavored with chili and the traditional Ngari. In the end, a banana leaf is used to steam it. Locals and visitors alike delight in this delicious treat. It is a perfect dish for evening-time snacking!
Chak-hao Kheer is a popular dessert in Manipuri cuisine that is made with black rice, milk, sugar, and nuts. The dish is known for its unique flavor and purple color, which comes from black rice. To make chak-hao kheer, black rice is soaked in water for a few hours and then cooked in milk until it becomes tender. Sugar is then added to the mixture, which is further simmered until it thickens to a creamy consistency. The kheer is then flavored with cardamom, raisins, and chopped nuts like almonds and cashews. Chak-hao Kheer is a delicious and healthy dessert that is often served during special occasions and festivals in Manipur. The black rice used in the dish is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, making it a great alternative to the more commonly used white rice.
Alu Kangmet is a popular Manipuri side dish that is made with mashed boiled potatoes and a blend of spices. The dish is known for its spicy, tangy, and smoky flavors and is often served with rice or bread. To make Alu Kangmet, boiled potatoes are mashed and mixed with a blend of spices like roasted cumin powder, chili powder, and roasted sesame seeds. The mashed potatoes are then flavored with salt, mustard oil, and sometimes a bit of smoked meat or fish.
Nga-Thongba is a flavorful and hearty dish that is typically served with rice or bread. Nga-Thongba is a popular fish curry in Manipuri cuisine. It is made with fish, typically a type of freshwater fish known as "nga," which is cooked in a spicy and tangy gravy. The dish is known for its unique flavor and aroma, which come from the use of aromatic herbs and spices.
To make Nga-Thongba, fish is first marinated with salt and turmeric before being cooked in a gravy made with onions, ginger, garlic, and a blend of spices like coriander, cumin, and chili powder. The dish is then flavored with aromatic herbs like fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves, and mint leaves.
Manipuris have a strong preference for curries, so we will have to include more curry options. This time, though, we're using fermented soybeans in place of fish. The fermented soybeans (known as hawaijar and chagem in the region), rice, and spices are all cooked together in a large pot until they reach a thick curry consistency.