Manipur food is a reflection of typical East Indian food. Due to the large percentage of natural vegetation available in the state, the rice, vegetables and other cereals are highly popular in the cuisine.
Being a state with rich cultural heritage the traditional and classic Manipuri recipes are still thriving in all the states of Manipur.
History Influences on Manipur Cuisine
The unique historical past of the Manipur state has a great impact on the Manipur food. People of the state follow various cultures such as Hinduism, Sanamahism and Christianity and all these cultures have their own food habits that constitute the major part of the cuisine of Manipur.
The agriculture process in the state is also largely affected by the climatic conditions prevailing in Manipur. Rains are quite helpful in enriching the soil of the region that proves beneficial for the cultivation of cereals and vegetables.
Ingredients Used in Manipuri Food
Rice is the staple in Manipur cuisine along with fish and locally grown vegetables. Orange is the main fruit that is typically grown in the state and incorporated in making several Manipuri dishes.
Among the spices, cardamom is the prominent spice that is used to flavor various curry as well as soup dishes in the state. Tea and coffee plantation is also done abundantly, hence increased the local consumption as well. Apart from fish as the main meat source, chicken is also well-liked by the people of Manipur.
Popular Recipes in Manipur
- Ngri – It is a kind of fermented fish prepared in Manipur food that is famous for its flavor and smell.
- Koat pita – It is a kind of Manipuri sweet prepared with mashed bananas mixed with jaggery and rice flour. The mixture is then shape into balls and deep fried.
- Kobok – A dessert prepared by mixing roasted rice with molasses.
Food Serving Traditions in Manipuri Cuisine
Traditionally, the food is served on the banana leaves and eaten by sitting on the floor. It is believed that this posture is quite helpful in proper digestion of food. Manipuri dishes prepared by the community of Vaishnavites are usually vegetarian. This traditional Manipur food is also served at the temple of Shri Govindajee at the time of special ‘Rath (Chariot) Yatra’ festival organized in the state.