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Golden thread

Hidol is not just the very own delicacy of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community but it is like the golden thread that weaves the whole community people to their origin.

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

As 'makei di roti sarso da saag' relates to the Punjabis, 'macher jhol' to the Bengalis and 'khar' to the Assamese etc, 'hidol' is related to the Bishnupriya Manipuriis. Hidol is the fermented preparation of dry small fish and katchu.

A Bishnupriya Manipuri food habit can hardly be described without the preparation of a dish with hidol. Irrespective of economic status, geographical extremity etc., hidol asserts equal fervor from the whole Bishnupriya Manipuri community people.

A Bishnupriya Manipuri, whatsoever sophisticated he/she may be, maybe ashamed of introducing himself/herself as a Bishnupriya Manipuri, yet their ultimate relish is paltoi or irolpa. Most of the Bishnupriya Manipuris staying away from their home may or may not receive anything else from home by courier but a parcel of hidol is a must!

To prepare a dish with hidol like paltoi or irolpa is very easy but a huge amount of effort is required to prepare hidol. For the preparation, dry small fish is first cleaned and washed and put in the sun until it is completely dry. Than the dried fish is grinded in a 'gahali' or a 'banki'. Once the grinding part is complete, 'katchu' is cut into small pieces and put in it at a definite proportion and grinded until it mixes properly.

Once the mixture is complete, it is put aside. Then in the inside of the hollowed bamboo container known as 'bahar chung' (used to store hidol), cleaned and dried earlier is greased with mustard oil properly. Inside it greased leaves of lemon are put and than hidol is put into it. After the 'chung' is full again a layer of lemon leaves is spread and than the mouth of the 'chung' closed tightly with a ball like structure made with clean clothes and the chung is kept closed for at least a week, allowing the mixture to ferment properly. After a week hidol is ready to be consumed.

Hidol is the main ingredient with which paltoi and irolpa are prepared. To prepare paltoi, a small quantity of hidol is taken and roasted on a tava. This roasted hidol is than again mixed with salt and green chilli, once it is properly mixed water is added to it as required. Sometimes to make the paltoi more tasty roasted 'cheng' fish is put to it. To bring added flavour fresh dhania patta is put, also herbs like tokpaningkong and miangpa are added.

But the preparation of irolpa is a bit different. There are also different types of irolpas too: tomato irolpa, tomato berendi irolpa, kholor irolpa kola thoror irolpa, tera irolpa, choha irolpa , uri irolpa, sepator irolpa, bathkhoi irolpa etc.

To prepare irolpa the desired vegetable is cut and washed and put to boil with dal, green chilli and when the whole thing starts boiling a small quantity of hidol is put to it and salt is added as per required. When it is fully cooked excess water is drained off and the cooked vegetable, dal and chilli are smashed properly and than the water put aside was mixed to it. Different kinds of herbs are also added to enhance the aroma and taste of the dish.

The taste of paltoi and irolpa is awesome but at the same time it is healthy too. As oil is not added to it, it is very healthy. Also paltoi works as an appetizer and it also helps in digestion. A real Bishnupriya Manipuri's morning starts with a dish full of rice with paltoi. It is consumed with same enthusiasm if prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner simultaneously.

Hidol is not just the very own delicacy of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community but it is like the golden thread that weaves the whole community people to their origin.

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  1. Its a virtual presentation of worlds most loved delicacy. Gawd I am going insane. Ranita (Boudi) you forgot to add few things like roasting them in 'Chuchar Jii' and 'lewar dam' next to 'baat' and few 'hukana maachh' if you ask me whome to choose between katrina kaif and paltoi and all the added item I might end up choosing paltoi. I can put aside the world for this. but nowadyas its very rare to have all this at a time. so unfortunately i will take katrina kaif. hehehehehehe. by the way i am samar.

  2. Madam Ranita....

    U have literally mouth watered all the readers.....

    Cud u also clear the term " Uba paltoi"... to our readers of 21st Century BMs... few may not be aware of it.... to add the lighter side....

    Grt.. usual...

  3. Mention hidol! My father narrates an interesting story while he was in Rajasthan.

    Early in the morning, an office-colleague of my father told him that a postman has come bringing a parcel.

    As soon as the postman entered, to my father’s amazement he was covering his nose carrying in his hand a tin box. Face folded in multiple of layers. From the tin box covered by translucent polythene, a thin film of hidol-liquid was oozing out.

    To control the situation and to save his face, he said jerkingly: are bhai ye parcel mera
    Nahin he, bahar phek do!!!!!!!!

  4. GREAT as usually! reminds my mother who used to put a piece of hidol in every dish she makes, even into a fish curry... ha ha..

    well i admit hidol rocks many ways, its contribution toward our diet is just multidimensional,the simplest among all is paltoi just with green chilli + hidol,ahhh!

  5. forgot to thank ranita for this awesome write up...

    Ashim Singha

  6. Mr. BN, sorry to say but i also do not know the term uba paltoi..if u can clear the term i will be greatful..

    And Samar i will add all the things u mentioned..

    Thanks Ashim once again for ur encouraging words..

  7. Dear Ranita,
    Could you allow me to clear the meaning of Uba Paltoi, as I know ? Some one may think the Paltoi made by standing(uba oyaa)is called Uba Paltoi,but it is not.As far as I know,there are three types of Paltoi prepared in our B.M`s homes,one with hukana moksi puria,another with steamed green chilli,and the other one with fresh green chilli and it is called Uba Paltoi.


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