Lapongtham

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Lapongtham is an plant that grows about one meter tall. It has light green leaves and produces an indigo colored flower. It is a fragrant plant that grows throughout the year in the warm climate of the Ribhoi district in northeastern India. The fresh leaves are used as a seasoning herb, particularly for cooking fish. One common dish called syrwa dohkha is a soup with lapongtham, onions, chilies, ginger, garlic and fish. The taste is peppery and radish-like.   The local Japngar community in the Ribhoi district has used the lapongtham since time immemorial. It is still used today, but not as extensively as before. The herb became associated with fish, because, in the past, it would take a day or two for fishermen to return to the village from fishing trips, and the fish would begin to smell. This aromatic herb would help to cover the fishy smell. Lapongtham is not sold commercially, but harvested by individuals for personal or family consumption. However, the culinary usage and knowledge associated with this plant is at risk of being lost among younger generations, who lack interest in lapongtham and other traditional wild foods. 

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Territory

StateIndia
Region

Meghalaya

Other info

Categories

Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Indigenous community:Japngar