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 be it the Meitei’s or the Naga hill tribes along with side dishes of vegetables and fish. Daily Manipuri food 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 chilly paste morok metpa or boiled mashed potato with chilly and fermented fish called iromba. The essence of Manipuri food is fermented local fish called ngari, it is used to mainly for falavouring relishes and side dishes.
A Typical Manipuri Thali
In the Manipuri food raw turmeric, green garlic, onions, ginger garlic are used with mustard oil as cooking base. There is a Manipuri specialty food item which is prepared by sun drying of lentil paste called bora, which is used to make curries with chives and peanuts. Fish is also a staple food of Manipur and appears in every meal, either as ngaari or as roasted or fried pieces. The fish is usually sourced out from the freshwater lakes and rivers locally in Manipur.
The Tangkhul community which comes from the hills of Manipur has more emphasis on organic ingredients in their food. The staple food again is rice with a wide variety of organically grown vegetables and quite a few wild edibles from the forest of Manipur. In terms of meats they use pork and chicken with some amounts of fish which is usually fermented and dried. While the entire Manipur uses the famous Manipuri Naga King Chilly in their food there is usage of a colorful and aromatic slender red chillies also. This aromatic Hathei chilly is used for pork dishes,
As rice is staple food of Manipur, a number of verities of rice are grown here including the famous black rice called Chak-hao. This Manipuri black rice us usually cooked as kheer as when cooked it has a sticky consistency.
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