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#RECIPE | Desi-Manipuri Fusion Chicken Curry ‘Yen Thongba’ by Robinson Ningombam

Yen thongba is a chicken curry dish from Manipur brought to us by one of our readers, Robinson Ningombam, who has put his own spin on the traditional Meitei recipe. He says, “It is one of my favourite recipes as it involves a fusion of both desi spices and traditional Manipuri ingredients.

Whenever I am in Delhi, I cook this chicken curry. It isn’t as tasty as the one I make in Manipur because the ingredients I get in the city is different from the organic ingredients I get back at home. Nevertheless, I am always reminded of home whenever I cook it, even though I am miles away. All my friends, including my non-north east friends, really like this particular style of chicken. “

It’s a great story of how food-cultures from different parts of India are blended into one and we are able to come together to share something yummy. Enjoy! 

Cooking Yen Thongba, with potatoes and spring onions.


Yen Thongba, Chicken Curry from Manipur



  • 700 g country chicken. Washed and Chopped (young organic chicken is highly preferred)
  • 2 tbsp roughly pound garlic and ginger
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp garam masala (I use Machal, an authentic Manipuri garam masala)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander or 1 bunch of coriander leaves (roughly crushed)
  • 2 tbsp paprika (or Kashmiri lal mirch)
  • A few bay leaves
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kitchen king masala (Garam Masala)
  • 8-10 thorny coriander leaves/ cilantro/ long coriander (Awa-fadeegom in Manipuri)
  • A bunch of coriander
  • Salt
  • 6 tbsp of mustard oil or any vegetable oil
  • Spring onion (optional)
  • 2 medium size potato (optional)


  • In a bowl put pounded ginger and garlic, paprika, hot chili powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, salt and half a cup of water and mix well. This is the chicken masala dressing.
  • Pour the oil into a wok on high heat. Heat up the oil until it smokes.
  • Add bay leaves, crushed coriander or coriander powder and cumin into the wok. Immediately, add sliced onions. Continue to cook until the onions turn light brown.
  • After lowering the heat, pour in the chicken masala dressing prepared earlier and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes or until the spices are well cooked.
  • Now add chicken into the wok, stir it well while keeping at high flames. Keep stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until the masala dressing gets coated nicely onto the chicken.
  • Now lower down the heat again and cover the wok. You will have to stir it occasionally. (If you have chosen to add spring onions, they must be added now.)
  • Add potatoes or you can ignore this if you don’t want to add them.
  • Stir for 2 minutes now add 4 cups of water.
  • Cook until the potatoes are done. (if added)
  • The chicken may take a good 15 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat.
  • Before taking it off the heat, make sure you taste the level of salt.
  • Sprinkle finely minced thorny coriander/awa-fadeegom and coriander.
  • Ready to serve!


  • The chicken will have it’s own natural juices, so pour water towards the end only after the chicken water evaporates considerably. Amount of water can be changed according to your preference.

For more food related content follow Robinson’s food Instagram 


Yen Thonba by Robinson Ningombam


Yen Thongba, Chicken Curry from Manipur

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