Manipuri Dish – Ngaren or the Frozen Fish Curry

 

By Sangeeta Nameirakpam

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Ngaren is yet another dish from Manipur, popular particularly during the winter season, as it traditionally requires some chilling/cooling of the smashed/fragmented fish curry. But nowadays with modern cooling facility (fridge), you can easily set it ( any season) and serve cold with hot rice ! To prepare the dish, I usually use the Rahu fish or the Grass Carp. Here in the picture, I have done with the Grass Carp. For Ngaren or the frozen mashed fish curry, we need to cook the Nga atoiba or the mashed fish curry first and for that the ingredients are listed below :

Ingredients:

1. Grass Carp or Rahu 500 gram (cut into small pieces)

2. One potato medium size (peeled and cut)

3. One big tomato (sliced)

4. Green chilies (4-5 ) or Oomorok/ghost chili (1)

5. One medium onion (thinly sliced)

6. Chinese chives/maroi nakuppi (few strands, cut into an length)

7. Garlic & ginger (well chopped,1 tsp each)

8. Green peas (few)

9. Bay leaf/ tejpatta ( 1)

10. Whole jeera and fenugreek seeds (methi) & mustard seeds ( one tsp each)

11. Turmeric powder & Asafoetida/hing (one tsp each or little more for the turmeric)

12. Coriander and cumin powder ( one tbsp each)

13. Red chilli powder and salt to taste

14. Garam masala or fish masala (2 tsp)

15. Fresh coriander leaves

16. Heiribob/ citrus microptera (2 small pieces)

17. Mustard oil (3 or more tbs approx.)

18. Ngari/fermented fish (1-2 slightly roasted)

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Method:

Heat the oil in a pan. Add whole jeera, methi & mustard seeds. Allow them to splatter, then add the bay leaves, potatoes, ginger, and garlic and stir till they are light brown. Then add sliced onions, maroi nakupi and sauté for a while. Now add the fish pieces into it. Along goes the turmeric, coriander and cumin powder. Stir and mix well. Then add red chilli powder, ngari and hing . Cook a while and then add the garam masala powder, heiribob, salt and the tomatoes and mix well. Then add water, cover it up and let it simmer for some time. In between, add those green peas, slit green chillies plus the coriander leaves, and cook until you feel its done. One may either have the dish served hot as ‘ Nga Atoiba’/ fragmented fish curry, or else let it cool down and then pour into a bowl and then keep in the fridge to set in. Latter could be eaten as Ngaren/frozen curry with hot rice.

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Note: Again, there may be some ingredients missing and the method may also vary, but this is my version of doing it with the ingredients/raw materials available to me.

 

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