The Forbidden One

Image by: Het Shah Studio

I haven’t traveled to North East India, the culture, the people, the food, I am yet to experience in person. One state that has my interest is Manipur, it’s one of the eight northeastern states in India, shares its domestic borders with other northeastern states like Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam and international border with Myanmar. This makes the state play host to different cultures and traditions and cuisine.

Its earthy and nutty in flavour, and has an Umami to it! Best served with sour and tangy fruits to balance the rich, sweet, savoury creaminess of the dish. Wondering what is the dish?

Let me break the suspense, its Chak Hao Kheer. It’s a famous dessert in Manipuri cuisine, Chak Hao means black rice. Due to its propinquity to the far east, Manipur has acquired a unique taste in its cuisine.

Now the history part of the dish, this sweet dessert cooked from the famed black rice from the far east specially China is a treasured delicacy and no feast is complete unless you have served it to your guests. However, in China, during older times this rice was also called as forbidden rice because it was only available to the royal kitchens.

Black rice is cultivated in small proportion in these states and not so widely found in India. Black rice is an excellent source of fibre, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Its colour changes to dramatic purple when cooked.

So, when you wonder “why visit Manipur?”. I just gave you a very good reason!

Fun Fact: After blueberries if there is something rich in antioxidants, it is Chak Hao.

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