Exploring the ethereal food of Manipur

The food of Manipur is influenced by different countries and communities, the traditional food of Manipur is said to be similar to the cuisine of South-east and Central Asia like that of the Thais and Vietnamese. The staples here are rice, local vegetables and leaves, fish and meats, and last but not the least, lots of herbs like mint, coriander, chives, pepper and basil, that grow in abundance in Manipur.

A typical Manipuri meal will consist of rice, ensaang or athongba, eromba, morok metpa and singju. Athongba is basically a vegetable stew often flavored with fried or dry fish. Eromba is similar to athongba the only difference is the vegetables are mashed and flavored with chilies and fermented fish called ngari. Morok metpa is spicy chutney or paste made of king chilies, garlic, salt and fermented fish and singju is a salad of local herbs, colocasia leaves, banana flowers etc. Even if you are a vegetarian you will find many options to choose from like kangsoi or chamthong, ooti etc. Kangsoi is similar to athongba minus the fish and ooti is another star food of Manipur consisting of mashed peas.

Apart from fish you will find many dishes of meat like chicken, beef, pork, lamb and mutton. Some of the popular meat dishes of Manipur are soibum thongba and yen thongba made of pork and chicken respectively. Many dishes of Manipur are flavored with bamboo shoots and tastes absolutely delicious. Also, the umorok or the king chilies form the basis of almost all vegetarian and non-vegetarian preparations in Manipur. The traditional food of Manipur may appear simple, but the flavors are unmistakably complex and tasty. There is plenty to eat and enjoy in Manipur. And your next visit to Manipur should be for food and all things of gastronomical proportions. 

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Manipuri cuisine

Manipur is one of the eight northeastern states of India also called as ‘the jewel city’. It is famous for so many things in India and one of them is the delicious culinary delights of Manipur. Manipuri cuisine predominantly consists of food eaten by the Meitei’s community which forms the majority of population of Manipur.

The staple food of Manipur is rice like other northeastern states of India and the side dishes of vegetables, meat and fish. Daily Manipurfood would have rice with a gravy based vegetable called ensaang, a dish of stir-fried vegetables called kanghou along with a hot spicy relish like chili paste morok metpa or boiled mashed potato with chilly and fermented fish called iromba. The essence of Manipurfood is the yummy fermented local fish called ngari, it is used to mainly for flavoring relishes and side dishes. A typical Manipuri thali consists of white rice, vegetable fry, meat gravy, chili paste or achar, dal and some other side dishes like papad, yogurt etc. In the Manipurfood raw turmeric, green garlic, onions, ginger garlic are used with mustard oil as cooking base.

A special food of Manipur bora is prepared by sun drying of lentil paste and is used to make curries. Food of Manipur consists of one or the other item of fish dish either as ngaari, roasted or fried. These fishes are sourced from freshwater bodies in Manipur.

Different ethnic groups and communities in Manipur have many unique food items to be placed on the table. The Tangkhul community has more emphasis on organic ingredients in their food. The locals of Manipur eat many organic wild edibles and these items are something everybody must try. Apart from fish Manipuri eat a lot of pork and chicken and also uses Manipuri Naga King Chilly in most of their dishes.

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