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Sat, 22 Feb 2020

Northeast Today

Eromba: Lifeline of every Manipuri

Eromba: Lifeline of every Manipuri
September 28
14:15 2019

Barkha Ayekpam

A meal in Manipur is incomplete without the most famous and mouth watering eromba. Every manipuri has fond memories with the dish. Even people outside Manipur fall in love with the dish after taking the first bite.
The primary composition of this dish is boiled vegetables, chillies, dry fish, fish paste and water. The consistency varies from semi liquid to liquid. All eromba can be garnished with coriander leaves, the leaves and roots of the chameleon plant and chopped onions or onion leaves. It is mostly eaten as a side dish but can be eaten as a curry too. A lot of variants of this dish can be made depending on the extra ingredients added to the dish. A few of the variants are:

1) Yongchak eromba (with stink beans)
In this eromba the main vegetables used are potatoes, chillies, beans and stink beans. Stink beans are specialty in northeastern cuisine as well as South East Asia. Even though most would avoid eating it because of its sharp pungent smell, stink beans have a high nutritional value, they contain fibre, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin c, riboflavin and thiamin.

2) Bhelendri eromba (with ladies’ finger/ okra)
In this variation the eromba is made with only 1 primary ingredient i.e., the ladies’ finger. The consistency of this eromba is slimy and slippery. The dish is simply delicious.

3) Thangjing eromba (fox nuts)
Fox nuts are a very important cash crop in Manipur. It grows underwater and has a spiky outer covering and inside there are small seeds. Fox nuts can be put into the eromba raw or boiled. The tiny round nuts are again broken and then the white inside is eaten.

4) Laphu eromba (with banana stem)
Young banana stems are used for this eromba. It is highly fibrous and contains potassium in large amounts. The texture is therefore fibrous too.

5) Soibum eromba (with fermented bamboo shoot)
In this the main composition is boiled potatoes with added chunks of fermented bamboo shoot. This eromba again has a more peculiar smell due the bamboo shoot but is the perfect accompaniment to fish curry, pork or chicken curry etc.

6) Kanglayen eromba (with split gill mushroom)
Again with the base of boiled potatoes with added exotic mushrooms which are said to have health benefits and are prescribed to asthma and tonsillitis patients. It is good for diabetic patients as well.

Some other erombas are the yendem eromba, aloo eromba , mixed vegetable eromba.


(An ardent foodie, the author is a Journalism and Mass Comm. student from Royal Global University. She is also a Manipur Idol finalist. Her other interests lie in acting and painting.)


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