Top 10 Delicacies of Manipur, Delicious Manipuri Cuisines and Dishes, Manipuri Food, September 2019

Manipuri Landscapes (Image Courtesy @Manipur Photography Club)

Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. It is also known as the Switzerland of India. It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Myanmar (Sagaing Region and Chin State) lies to its east. Previously known as ” Kangleipak”, Manipur was a princely kingdom until 1891.

The Manipuris also is known as Meitei, has been in the region for thousands of years. In these long-run legacy, Manipuris have developed many delicious dishes or cuisines over the years. We have perfected the art of healthy cooking. The food of Manipur is considered to be very healthy. Their preparations are simple and yet, tasty. Most of the ingredients we use are organic thereby contributing to a more healthy life.

As the region is surrounded by hilly areas, our people need to have healthier food to gain more stamina and strength. Most of the food items prepared here in Manipur will use very little or no oil thereby contributing to a healthier life again. We the Manipuris will have majorly rice, fish, green and leafy vegetables. Enough beating about the bush. Today I will be writing about ten of the most delicious Manipuri food items. Keep reading for a list of Manipuri delicacies so that you can try out someday.

Manipuri Tradition (Image Courtesy @Manipur Photography Club)

1. EROMBA

It is also known as ” Anoiba”. One of the most common curry in Manipur. It can be prepared in different ways. Fermented fish locally call as ‘Ngari’ is the main ingredient. All type of iromba is prepared by boiling the vegetables, grilling or frying the fermented fish, then the boiled vegetables and fermented fish along with chilies and salt. A little water is added to adjust the consistency of the dish. Then finally it is garnished with Coriander leaves, Spring onions, culantro, chameleon plant,etc. Some examples of eromba include laphu(banana tree)eromba, yongchak(stinky beans) eromba, morok (chillies) eromba, soibum(bamboo shoot) eromba and many more.

Soibum_yendem_eromba
Yendem, Soibum Eromba, Image Courtesy @ google
Yongchak, Alu Eromba, Image Courtesy @ google
Pan, Thangjing Eromba, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam

2. Ootti Thongba​ or Utti Thongba

This cuisine is also one of the most famous delicacies of Manipur. A meal with Utti or Ootti Thongba is considered a heavy meal so it is not preferred in dinner. It is prepared with green peas or soaked lintels. Different varieties of Utti are available which include Utti Asangba (Made from green Peas), Hawai(Lintel) Utti, Torobot (White Guard) Utti and many more.

Utti Asangba
Ootti Asangba, Image Courtesy @ google
Utsoi Ootti, Image Courtesy @ google
Pan Ootti, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam

3. Kangsoi or Chamthong

It is one of the healthiest, simplest and easy to cook cuisine. It is preferred by many people as we do not use oil in cooking this cuisine. It may consist of different kinds of vegetables. So basically, Kangsoi is a kind of vegetable stew with dry fish and fermented fish (Ngari). Some commonly cooked types of Kangsoi include Hawaitharak (Green Pea) Kangsoi, Kobi Lei (Cauliflower) Kangsoi, Khamenasinba(Tomato) Kangsoi, etc.

Khamen Asinba Kangsoi, Image Courtesy @ google
Kobi Lei Kangsoi, Image Courtesy @ google
Kangsoi_PC_Omita Thingujam2
Kobi Masoi Kangsoi, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam

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4. Kangsu

One of the healthiest food in Manipur is Kangsu. Most people prefer this curry. It is also one of the oil-free food. Various kinds of Kangsu are there. Some are Peruk (Centella) Kangsu, Usoi (Bamboo Shoot) Kangsu, Heibong Mana (Fig Leave) Kangsu, Kobi Masoi ( Cabbage Shoot) Kangsu, etc.

Usoi Kangsu, Image Courtesy @ Soroma Mayengbam
Peruk Kangsu, Image Courtesy @ Google
Heibi Mana Kangsu, Image Courtesy @ Satyabhati Yumnam
Usoi-kangsu-2-1
Usoi Kangsu, Image Courtesy @ Soroma Mayengbam
Peruk Kangsu, Image Courtesy @ Anita Nongthombam

5. Nga Thongba (Fish Curry)

Nga Thongba ( Traditional Fish curry) is also one of the most popular dishes in Manipur. For any kind of celebration, this curry is used. Moreover, it is also served in function and celebration like “Mangani Chakouba(Wedding reception for Meitei)”, Ushop (Feast in remembrance of expired family members ), etc. There are various method of cooking amongst which Nga toina thongba ( Nga toithong, Scrambled fish) and Nga ataoba thongba (Fried Fish Curry) is the most famous.

Nga Ataoba Thongba, Image Courtesy @ Rajbobo
Nga Atoiba Thongba, Image Courtesy @ Nanda Ksh
Nga Atoiba Thongba, Image Courtesy @ Nanda Ksh
Nga Ataoba Thongba, Image Courtesy @ Monica Shamurailatpam

6. Chagem-Pomba

Chagempomba is one of the indigenous food of Manipur. Hawaijar (fermented soya bean) and Chagem are the main ingredient in this curry. This curry is found in most of the feasts in functions like Ushop and Firoi. Chagempomba is a dish that we Manipuris enjoy eating but it is a dish of an acquired taste. Anybody who doesn’t have much knowledge or acquaintance with the Manipuri cuisine may be repulsed by the sight or just by the smell of this particular dish. But once a person acquires the taste, it will surely be a dish that cannot be forgotten easily.

Hawaijar Chagempomba, Image Courtesy @ Sangeeta Nameirakpam
Chagem Pomba, Image Courtesy @ Juliana Laishram
Chagem Pomba, Image Courtesy @ Juliana Laishram
Chagem Pomba, Image Courtesy @ Juliana Laishram
Chagem Pomba, Image Courtesy @ Juliana Laishram2
Chagem Pomba, Image Courtesy @ Juliana Laishram

7. Champhut (Boiled Vegetables)

Champhut is the most simple and one of the healthiest food in Manipur. Sometimes, it is also served as a side dish. It is healthy food because it consists of vegetables boiled in only water and in some cases a little sugar is added. Some examples of Champhuts are Khongdrum (Guard) Champhut, Mairen(Pumpkin) Chamfut, Kobi (Cabbage) Champhut, Thabi(Cucumber) Champhut, etc.

Thabi Champhut, Image Courtesy @ google
Mairem Champhut, Image Courtesy @ google

8. Maroi thongba

Maroi(Allium) Thongba is another popular indigenous food of Manipur. The main ingredients of this curry are Maroi(Allium), Bori, Thangjing (foxnut) and Alu(potato). It is a very common dish in all kinds of feasts. But it is a bit difficult to cook as the ingredients required for it are numerous. Still, it is one of the most preferred dishes of a Manipuri.

Maroi Thongba 03 Bishojit Ngangom
Maroi Thongba, Image Courtesy @ Bishojit Ngangom
maroi thongba 02
Maroi Thongba, Image Courtesy @ google
Maroi Thongba 01
Maroi Thongba, Image Courtesy @ google

9. Singju – Manipuri Salad

Singju , a famous Manipuri salad that is filled with green leafy vegetables. Contrary to the salad in other areas, Manipuri Singju does not contain tomatoes or cucumbers. Instead of those Singju is prepared from Kobi ful (Cabbage), Hawai matol (Peas Shoot), Lafu Tharo (Banana Flower), Yongchak (Stinky beans), Komprek (Drop wort), Heibi mana (vangueria spinosa leaves), etc. It is the most popular evening snack for Manipuris. Moreover, it can also be counted amongst the spiciest cuisines around the world.

Singju, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam
Singju, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam
Singju, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam 3
Singju, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam
Singju, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam2
Singju, Image Courtesy @ Omita Thingujam

10. Paaknam and Nganam

Paaknam is a savory cake prepared from Gram Floor (besan) mixed into vegetables, herbs,etc. whereas Nganam is typically prepared from a smaller type of fish available locally. Both are very famous side dishes amongst Manipuris. Both the dishes are prepared by steaming in the leaves of Turmeric. An unusual but very pleasant aroma is created due to the leaves used for steaming.

Paknam, Image Courtesy @ Gurumayum Bijaya Hanjabam
Paknam, Image Courtesy @ Gurumayum Bijaya Hanjabam
Paknam, Image Courtesy @ Ranibina Kh Nair‎1
Paknam, Image Courtesy @ Ranibina Kh Nair‎
Paknam, Image Courtesy @ Ranibina Kh Nair‎

Although I have listed only ten food items, this does not limit the number of food items or cuisines available in Manipur. There are many other varieties of foods, desserts, snacks. Above all, I have also opted out the Meat. But meat is also very popular amongst Manipuri. So the next time you visit Manipur, be sure to try out the above-mentioned specialties. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you like this article, be sure to check the other articles available.

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