Akoijam Nirmala Devi1*, Ningombam Bijaya Devi2, Chongtham Umabati Devi2, Eshingchaobi Keisam Chanu3

Food is one of the most important fundamental needs besides shelter and clothing for living. Since time immemorial there is relationship between plant and human being. In a harvesting season when there is plentiful harvest some quantity are used up and some quantity are stored for future use. Fermentation is a process which serves a means of preservation without changing its food value but increases more nutritional value. Manipur is one of the small hilly state of North-East India and has a history of 2 thousand years. Different forms of fermented foods are traditionally available in Manipur like fermented bamboo shoot (soibum), fermented fish (Utonga or ngari and hentak), fermented soybean (hawaijar), brewing of local alcohol (yungou), curd (sangom afamba), fermented meat product of the Vaiphei tribe etc. Fish is consumed everyday in every family of Meitei, the dominant community of Manipur as fish curry, roast on fire or sun dried fish (in making kangsoi), fermented fish (Utonga or ngari and hentak) which is very much essential for iromba (a kind of chutney). There is a saying in Meitei family that “no fish no meal”. Fish are rich in proteins, lipids, minerals and vitamins. Due to this nutritional properties, fish is preferred as very important for every day consumption by Meiteis.

Keywords: Traditional fish fermentation, no fish no meal, Utonga or Ngari, hentak.

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