Here’s an Ingredient for the Most Notorious Dish of Meghalaya!

Is this the same soya bean or soybean you get there? I would say yes it is! Though believed to be originated in China during the 11th century, soya bean has propagated well enough through out the world.

So why bother on how it’s used in Meghalaya? You wouldn’t believe me if I say that it’s a delicacy here, BUT, its first fermented and then cooked or shall I say flavored.


Let me make it simple! Tungrymbai is prepared from fermented soya bean. At first it’s a brownish sticky food with a somewhat unpleasant smell (if you are new to it) and once cooked with other spices and seasoning it serves as a great side dish.

So here comes the magic of 100 years of tradition. The now brownish food is cooked along with meat, sesame and some garnishing, there you go a traditional smelly and a tasty treat.

How soya bean is fermented?

  • First, soya bean seeds* are soaked overnight and boiled till they are tender and soft, drainig off excess water
  • It is then placed in a basket over a locally grown fresh wrapping leaf
  • This basket is then kept in a jute bag and left to ferment naturally
  • It requires temperatures of about 25–400C, preferably near a fireplace for 3–4 days

Now that you know about the dish, it would be unfair if i didn’t share the health benefits of soya bean with you. Here you go,

How healthy is Soya bean?

Soya bean has high protein content due to the large nitrogen-producing nodules in its roots. Regular intake of soya bean is can help reduce cholesterol, improve blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
In a recent study, British researchers found that soya beans contain chemicals called isoflavones, which mimic the protective attributes of oestrogen. This helps in protecting the bones from weakening, which would have eventually led to Osteoporosis.

There you go, soya bean is fermented and a traditional stinky dish is prepared in Meghalaya. Have any questions? let me know!

Originally published at