Khlimbra Hon/A Dish Made Of Basil Leaves& Fermented Fish

Khlimbra hon

Every culture has a broth of some sort that they have with bread or with rice. For us, Dimasas, the basic broth is made with fermented fish, alkali, chillies and salt. The mixture is cooked till homogeneous and garnishes like crushed garlic, slivers of ginger or herbs are added. The dish I made today was thickened with a bit of rice flour, the most popular thickening agent that we add to our dishes.

Khlimbra, a variety of basil used in Dimasa cuisine

This is the picture of the herb that I used today. It’s a kind of basil called khlimbra in our language. The smell and the taste is stronger than the variety of basil shown below.

Bahanda/Ocimum basilicum, a popular herb for chutney and for garnishing

Bahanda, pictured above, is more widely used than khlimbra.
khlimbra leaves, a handful
Fermented fish/naphlam, 2 
Alkali, 2 tbs (or a pinch of soda bicarbonate)
Green chillies, 7-8, scored lengthwise
Ginger, a small piece, crushed
Rice flour, 2 tbs
Salt to taste

Heat about 500 ml water in a pan. 
Add the chillies and let the water come to a boil.
Cook till the chillies are half-done.
Add the alkali and reduce the flame because the liquid will boil over.
Season with salt, throw in the crushed ginger and add the fermented fish.
Cook till the mixture is homogenous. This will take about 15 minutes.
Mix a bit of water to the rice flour and make a paste.
Add this paste to the dish stirring all the while with a ladle so that there are no lumps.
Remove from the flame and transfer to a serving dish.
Garnish with some more fresh sprigs of khlimbra if you wish.
This goes best with rice.
(The crushed ginger can be removed before serving).

Today’s lunch was rice with khlimbra hon and pork fried with daomalai which is vegetable fern.
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