The northeastern state of Manipur is located in the eastern Himalayas and is characterised by its spectacular natural beauty, which includes hills, lush green valleys, and forests. Manipur, like the rest of India, has a long and storied history and is home to various people with diversified customs and traditions. Hinduism, Buddhism, and the traditional beliefs and practices of the Meitei community—who represent a majority of the state's population—come together in intriguing ways in Manipuri culture. In addition to Manipuri art and dance, the food of Manipur has also gained recognition on a global scale due to its particular flavour and sound.
Manipur is home to several indigenous tribes, each with its own distinct cuisine. Local ingredients and herbs, as well as the distinct cooking styles of the state's several tribes, give Manipuri cuisine its distinctive flavour. Manipuri cuisine is known for its bold flavours and the prevalence of locally sourced ingredients.
Manipur cuisine features a wide range of veggies and fish in addition to the staple of rice. Manipuri cuisine is famous among those who enjoy spicy foods because of the extensive usage of chilli peppers in its preparation. In addition, sweet-toothed travellers can get a treat in Manipur.
So, without further ado, let's look at 14 famous dishes from Manipur you absolutely must taste.
Alu Kangmet is one of the famous dishes of Manipur. One of Manipur's traditional foods is alu kangmet. Don't let yourself be misled by the fancy name. To prepare this dish, mashed potatoes are sautéed with red chile. Manipur-style Puri is its common companion. One can also enjoy it with rice. This healthy dish is delicious and easy to prepare!
If you are passionate about seafood, the Eromba is the ideal dish for you. The term "Eromba '' originates from the Manipuri phrase "eeru taana lonba," which means "mixing and stirring watery. Eromba is one of the traditional foods of Manipur and is typically prepared with a fermented fish dish known as "Ngari'' along with various vegetables. The dish is served hot and beautifully garnished with fresh coriander leaves, making it even more delicious.
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Nga-Thongba is renowned as one of Manipur's special foods. It is a creamy fish curry produced from local freshwater fish, then cooked in a delectable blend of spices, herbs, and vegetables. Usually, the delicacy is cooked in a clay pot and served with steamed rice. The fermented fish and other regional ingredients give Nga-Thongba its distinctive flavour. Both native Manipuris and visitors to the country love this meal.
Among the many ingredients that go into Chagem Pomba, a traditional dish of Manipuri potpourri, are mustard greens, fermented soybeans, smokey and sun-dried fish, rice, green peas, full leaves, and dried shrimp. Although the sight and smell of this meal may not appeal to those unfamiliar with Manipuri cuisine, it will be unforgettable once tasted.
Singju is a healthy and traditional dish of Manipur. Tossed in a spicy dressing of roasted chillies, ngari (fermented fish), and other local spices, this salad features onions, tomatoes, finely chopped cabbage, lotus stem, and other vegetables. Singju is a popular street cuisine in Manipur, where it is usually eaten as a side or a snack. This salad is simple to make but impressive in its depth of flavour and satisfying crunch.
When one bites into a genuinely decadent dessert, joyous dancing ensues. The feeling one gets after eating a bowl of Chak-Hao Kheer is comparable. The black rice creates a striking and unusual purple tone for the meal. To make this thick and creamy rice pudding, the rice is boiled until tender, then combined with milk and sugar and simmered. Nuts are used as a garnish, and the dish can be served either warm or cold. The Manipuri dessert Chak-Hao Kheer has a long and storied history.
Manipur is renowned for its scrumptious Paknam, a traditional pancake made with chickpea flour, green vegetables, a mixture of herbs and spices, and fermented fish that is considered a staple in the region's cuisine. To eliminate the negative impacts of deep-frying, the batter is enclosed in banana leaves and steamed. Pairing a cup of a hot tea or coffee with some paknam makes for a delightful evening snack.
Peruk Kangsu is a popular traditional food of Manipur that is widely enjoyed due to its unique taste and preparation. It is a form of salad prepared with Peruk, a herb used for medicinal purposes, boiled potatoes, white peas, and fermented fish chutney. This dish is often served as a side dish or an appetiser, and it goes well with other traditional Manipuri dishes like rice-based meals or stews.
Morok Metpa is among the unique and flavorful Manipur dishes. Green chillies are roasted over an open flame, then smashed into a paste with salt and chopped onions using a mortar and pestle. Tomatoes, garlic, and coriander leave all contribute to the dish's depth of flavour. This paste is commonly eaten with rice, bread, or other main foods. Different chillies or spice combinations can be used to adjust the heat and flavour of Morok Metpa to suit individual preferences.