TODAY -

Maroi Napakpi - A common spice for the preparation of Manipuri traditional dishes

Dr N Irabanta Singh *

  Different types of Maroi (Chives - herbs) being in the Ima Keithel
Different types of Maroi (Chives - herbs) found in the Ima Keithel :: Pix - Pinky Hodam



Maroi nakuppi (Botanically Allium hookeri Thawait Enum. Family- Alliaceae, sub genus- Amerallium) is an evergreen, herbacious, perennial plant producing a cluster of leaves, 20-60 cm long and flowering scalps. The plant grows from a cluster of this bulb with thick, fleshy roots. Several studies have demonstrated antioxidant activity and anti inflammatory effect of Allium hookeri.

Range and Habitat

The plant is a popular food in parts of China, South East Asia, India (Northwest, North east including Manipur), Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, etc. The plant is also gathered from the wild, forests, forest margins, moist places and meadows at elavators from 1400 to 4200 metres.

Cultivation and propagation

The plant prefers a sunny position in a light well drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Seeds can be sown in a container. The seed germination over a wide range of temperature, it is faster at higher temperatures. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough.

Allium hookeri cultivation and its preservation has been decreased due to lack of research based information of the plant and due to the concept that wild/traditional plants are poor in nutrition and meant only for the poor.

Food values

The plant is used as a spice/condiment in dry or in fresh form in every household in almost all the traditional Manipuri dishes. It acts as a good supplementary food, producing food security at the household level and help at the time of food crisis. The result of biochemical analysis of the relationship between different antioxidant activity of Allium hookeri as follows:-

Total phenolic and total flavonoid contains of AHE

Allium hookeri root extract (AHE) revealed total phenolic and total flavonoid contents decrease as concentration of ethanol was increased. The lowest total phenolic and total flavonoid content were 1.72 0.105 mg GAE/g and 0.01 0.008 mg QE/g respectively when pure ethanol was used for extraction. The highest total phenolic content was observed when extracted with pure water (4.85 0.135 mg GAE/g). However, no significant difference was observed with 20% and 40% ethanol extracts (p0.005).

DPPH and ABTS Scavenging activity of AHE

Increment of ethanol concentration negativity influenced by DDPH and ABTS antioxidant activity. From the DPPH method, radical scavenging activity of AHE was similar upto 60% ethanol extraction, however it started to decrease significantly (p0.05) with 80% and 100% ethanol extraction, however it started to decrease significantly (p0.05) with 80% and 100% ethanol extraction. ABTS showed similar profile with decreased antioxidant activity values after 60% ethanol extraction (p0.05).

Medicinal values

Although no specific mention of medicinal values has been seen for Allium hookeri ( maroi napakpi), members of this genus are in general very healthy addition to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavor) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help to reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Discussion

There are several studies on antioxidant activity evaluation and antioxidant compounds identification of water soluble fraction of Allium species. Phenolic Compounds of Allium such as Quercelin 4-0--glucoside, quercelin 3,4-0--diglucosides are considered to contribute to their health promoting properties (Roy etal,2007). Flavons (Chrysoeriol-7-0-[2-0-E-feruloyl]--D-glucoside, chrysoereiol, and isorhamnetin-3-b-D-glucoside) from water soluble fraction of Allium vineale and reported their significant antioxidant activity (Demirtas etal, 2013).

From those studies, higher antioxidant avtivity of water extracted AHE than ethanol-water extracted AHE may due to such phenolic compounds and flavonoids. In addition, different composition of various antioxidants makes harder to find a proper extraction solvent, however, mixtures of ethanol and water with various ratios were used in the present study due to the potential application in the food industry.

Economies of Maroi Nakuppi

The result of the survey in the urban markets of Imphal Valley and the rural vendors shows that Maroi napakpi (Allium hookeri Thev. Enum) is of high socio-economical relevance. The cost of one mapun (Bundle) of Napakpi Mana is Rs 10/- at Khwairamband keithel/Khurai keithel/Lamlong keithel. The root of Maroi Npakpi (Mara) is also sold at the rate of Rs 10/- per mapun. For community feast, Maroi Nakuppi root (Mara) is sold at a lump sum of Rs 50/- or Rs100/- for large quantity.

Conclusion

Maroi napakpi is used as spice/condiment in dry or in fresh form in every Maniuri household in almost all the traditional dishes, it is also used as a garnish and flavouring on foods.


* Dr N Irabanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is former Professor (Higher Academic Grade) / Life Sciences, M.U. and Former Dean, School of Life Sciences, Manipur University and can be contacted through irabanta(DOT)singh(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on October 06, 2018.



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