Christmas 2022: This is How Manipuri Cuisine Celebrates It
Image Credit: Manipuri food thali, saffrontrail@Instagram

One of the most well-known celebrations in Manipur is Christmas. Thanks to the sizable Christian population that inhabits this Indian state's northeast. This celebration ushers new energy and makes the environment livelier and more vibrant. Manipur celebrates Christmas with cheer and happiness; in some wealthier districts, the festivities last for almost a week. Christians make up a specific ethnic group in Manipur, including the Kukis and Nagas. The event unites all communities regardless of their religious affiliations, and practically all communities participating in this holiday fervour, not just Christians. A major attraction of this occasion includes a lavish spread of local culinary festive fares. So, if you visit Manipur during around this time, don't miss out on tasting the indigenous Christmas flavours.

There are a few special dishes that the locals prepare during the celebration.

Nga atoiba thongba

The Meitei population, in particular, includes this delicacy in most non-vegetarian feasts. It is a preparation where the fish is diced into bite-sized pieces and deliberately mashed a little to make the fish crumble. Crushed pepper and other spices are commonly used as seasonings.


Eromba, Image Source: eat_click_planting_repeat @Instagram

It is the Meitei community's ethnic food. Fermented fish and mashed up boiling vegetables are blended with hot peppers to make eromba. This dish's essential feature is fermented, dried fish, or "Ngari" in Manipuri, which is often a variety of small freshwater fishes that have been first sun-dried and then fermented.

Sizou Changal 

Another treat that is served at Manipuri Christmas is sizou-Changal, or beef cooked with sizou leaf harvested from a wild forest tree. This dish uses homemade soda made from distilled wood ash and local rice to thicken the sauce.

Sana Thongba

Manipuri-style paneer dish is called Sana Thongba. In Manipur, Sana denotes paneer, and Thongba signifies curry. This meal is entirely Manipuri and is eaten during the Ushop, a traditional Metei vegetarian feast. This dish resembles matar paneer in many ways, although it contains extremely little or no spices. Additionally, milk is used in place of tomatoes, onions, or garlic while making the gravy.


A pot full of mepoh, Image Source:

Mepoh used to be cooked from smoked beef that was hung above village homes' cooking hearths. To achieve a similar effect, locals brown the meat in the oven before covering it with boiling water and stirring in pre-soaked rice, vegetables, and salt. Until the mixture acquires porridge's consistency, the pot must be constantly stirred with a wooden ladle. It can solidify or, worse yet, burn if left unchecked. Some people also like to add vegetables, such as jonglha, a mehpoh tree bean with a bitter flavour.