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Yaipan, Heimang, Heiribob among listed plants that make India’s 100+recipes

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Yaipan, Heimang, Heiribob among listed plants that make India’s 100+recipes

Special Correspondent
Imphal, April 3:

Manipur’s cherry like tiny tree fruit Heimang, Heiribob-a citrus fruit and even Yaipan-a funnel shaped wildflower besides Awa-Phadigom-a flavouring agent, were listed among the various plants that make India’s 100+recipes.
These plants sourced from local biodiversity were categorically and beautifully described in a recently released ‘First Food: Future of taste’ -a book published by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi based public interest research organisation.
“This book is a primer to survive food shortages brought in by uncertainties of extreme weather events. Many of the plants that make the recipes featured in the book are still found in our backyards or can be grown and harvested for food,” says Director General Sunita Narain of CSE.”India is one of the 17 megadiverse countries and has 11 percent of the world’s plant species. It is only when this biodiversity is lived that it will live.”
In fact, Heimang(rhus chinensis) -a deep red cherry like tiny spherical tree fruit has a citrus like tartness and is packed with nutrients such as polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants. This fruit is useful for indigestion, stomach ulcer, kidney diseases and urinary stones.
Traditionally in Manipur, Heimang (rhus chinensis)is used for gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea and dysentery, according to a write up in the book by Vibha Varshney, consulting editor of Down to Earth magazine.
Stating that locals prepare herbal shampoo (Chinghi) out of Heimang leaves after boiling with rice water in Manipur, she wrote, “In ancient China, certain communities used to add the fruit to food for its salty taste.”
Thus, the promotion of such traditional products will provide livelihood opportunities to communities with access to the tree which grows in warm temperatures, she felt.
On the other hand Yaipan (curcuma angustifolia)-a funnel shaped wildflower with shades of deep purple, blue, pink and white is favourite kitchen item in Manipur. In a write-up by Chitra Balasubramaniam in the book, it is used in Ayurveda for its healing properties and believed to cure tuberculosis, asthma, cough & burning sensation in the body, says a 2015 paper published in Journal of Pharmacology and Phytochemistry.
Also known as tikhur in hindi,keturi haoldi in Bengali and tavakeera in Marathi and East Indian Arrowroot in English,pakoda and chutney of Yaipan which smells of turmeric when eaten raw, are popular side-dishes in Northeast.
A sun-dried candy made from Heiribob (citrus macroptera),a citrus fruit found in Manipur also prominently mentioned in the book.
Similarly, Awa-Phadigom (eryngium foetidum)-Wild coriander which is a popular flavouring agent in Manipuri kitchens particularly in meat and vegetable dishes. This wild aromatic plant which has small leaves spiked at the edges, can also be used as medicine for constipation and epilepsy. It can tolerate heat, drought and has potential to increase marginal farmers’ climate resilience.
Serious efforts to cultivate it(Awa-Phadigom) on a large scale can increase income of growers and sellers, according to another write-up of Chitra Balasubramaniam in the book.
Interestingly tasty rice kheer made from Manipur’s black rice ‘Chak-hao’ which bagged Geographical Indication tag in 2020, is also slowly coming up as a well-known dessert in the Indian cities.

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