Khangabok (Thoubal District, Manipur) [India], Feb.1 : A 12-day long Singju Festival organised by the Singju Festival Committee under the supervision of Singju Yokhatpa Lup (SYOL), Manipur has been on since January 28 at MMRC and Unity Park in Khangabok, Thoubal district under the theme "Save Our Culture and Identity".
The inaugural function was attended by the Vice Chancellor of University of Culture Professor Naorem Khagendra, deputy commissioner of Thoubal district M Joy, former president of Manipur Sahitya Parishad M Tombi, president of SYOL Kh Menjor Mangang and chairman of Singju Festival Committee Ch Ranbir as the chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.
More than 100 vegetables indigenous to the State would be used to make different kinds of Singju during the festival.
Stating the main objective of organising such festival, convener Rakesh Naorem said the theme of this festival is "Save Our Culture and Identity".
About 150 stalls have erected for the festival and above 11 traditional stalls of Singju are also opened at the Singju Festival.
Large number of public visited the festival site to taste the different varieties of Singju being sold at different stalls.
"Singju" (pronounced as sing-zoo), is a popular Meitei or Manipuri dish, a salad type dish. The word is derived from the word "Mana Masing(vegetables) Suba(to combine or mix)" which got shortened to "Singju" due to rapid pronunciation.
Singju can be eaten as an evening snack with Bora(gram flour fritters) or can be eaten as a side-dish.There are many varieties of the Singju due to the use of seasonal vegetables which forms the main ingredients.
The vegetables and herbs used in Singju are finely sliced or grated. Singju is of two types-veg and non-veg. The Veg Singju is served at ritual feasts during Meitei/Manipuri religious occasions or ceremonies whereas the Non-veg Singju (mixed with Ngari or fermented fish) is eaten at home normally and also served at Manipuri restaurants.
The ingredients in Singju consists of green vegetables like thambou (lotus stem), yongchak(stinky beans), awaa thabi (unriped papaya), kobimana (cabbage), laphu tharo(banana flower), chakhawai (rice beans), tilhou(onion) mixed with salt, chillies, chanaa powder(ground dry roasted pea powder) or thoiding (powdered perilla seeds) and maroi(herbs) like toning khok (chameleon plant), tengnou manbi or winged beans, maroi nakuppi or garlic chive, komprek or water parsley/celery, ekai thabi or water mimosa and many others.
The Singju veg recipe are prepared with kobimana(cabbage), carrot, awaa thabi (unripe papaya), maroi(cilantro, mint) along with dry roasted crushed red chillies, chanaa powder(dry roasted coarsely ground pea-powder) and salt.
Since the Manipuri maroi is locally unavailable here at my current location, I make use of phadigom/cilantro/coriander and mint leaves to prepare Singju.