April 2, 2014

Vegetarian Thukpa | Tibetan Noodle Soup from Arunachal Pradesh | How to make Vegetarian Thukpa

To me, personally, India came alive via a different kind of geography class this Blogging Marathon. The North Eastern (NE) States of India (aka the 7 sisters) posed such a googly to us marathoners that we were constantly in a state of confusion, clarifications and even recipe sharing when it came to authentic recipes from these Northern States. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Miozram, Meghalaya, Manipur & Nagaland comprise the 7 sisters. 

Never in the history of BM, have we all been so frenetic in planning for the dishes ! What seemed to belong to one NE State also seem to be made in another. Vegetarian dishes were rare to source out, and what seemed ok had either unviable ingredients or strange sounding masalas. Amongst these NE states, we were so desperate at one point that we  decided that whoever makes one veg recipe should simply share and others would make the same. In the end, I guess it all went well, and each of us present these NE states from our own kitchens with our little own substitutes or personal interpretations. However, it must be said that most of the main course consists of beef and pork and dried fish, and is consumed with very little oil and in a semi broth form. Some chutneys and pickle forms do exist, but we definitely need to have an evolved palate to appreciate this cuisine.
The 7 sisters - map courtesy : google images
When India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947, only three states covered the area. Manipur and Tripura were princely states, while a much larger Assam Province was under direct British rule. Its capital was Shillong (present day Meghalaya's capital). Four new states were carved out of the original territory of Assam in the decades following independence, in line with the policy of the Indian government of reorganizing the states along ethnic and linguistic lines. Accordingly, Nagaland became a separate state in 1963, followed by Meghalaya in 1972. Mizoram became a Union Territory in 1972, and achieved statehood - along with Arunachal Pradesh - in 1987. (Source - wikipedia.org)

Today’s recipe is a Vegetarian Thukpa (pronounced as 'Thuppa' with a silent K), and is essentially a broth with veggies and noodles. Its predominantly made with Chicken, but as I said, we have made our slight modifications with NE recipes to suit our palate and vegetarianise or veganise them.

The ethnic cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh with great nutrients value is simple to cook and scrumptious to consume. The incredible feature of tribal gastronomy is that they avoid using any kind of oil or other dry or packed Indian spices. Rice is the staple food of all the tribe’s of Arunachal Pradesh. Dung Po (Steam Rice) is the most popular version of cooking rice. Kholam is also another popular and unique process of cooking rice. In this method a bamboo tube is used instead of metal utensils. The rice is filled with water in a custom made bamboo tube measuring 21/2 feet in height than it is left beside the traditional heath with enough heat to cook it. Before eating the rice the outer layer of the bamboo tube is delicately incised.
Source : http://www.amazingarunachal.com/cuisine.html

Coming back to today’s recipe, It’s a quick to make, hearty broth – which is sipped as a soup / appetizer or even had as a main course. Lets get to the recipe. Add chicken if you planning to make this non-vegetarian. Tofu is also added, but as I have no takers for that at home, I simply went ahead with the available ingredients.
BM : 39 ~ Indian State : Arunachal Pradesh
Recipe : Veg Thukpa
Dish type : Main Course / Soup as Appetiser
Spice Level : Medium
Accompaniment : None or with bread
Prep Time : 15 mins, Cooking time : 10 mins ; Serves : 2
  • Veg Noodles – I used hakka  - 50  gms
  • Veg Stock – 2 cups
  • Diced veggies (each about 25 gms) : Cabbage, Carrots, French Beans, Cauliflower, Broccoli
  • Salt – to taste
  • Green chillies – slit (1- 2)
  • Spring Onions – to garnish (optional)
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  1. Boil the noodles as per packet instructions. Drain and reserve.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil, and sauté the veggies. Add the vegetable stock, salt and green chillies and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once the veggies are ¾ done, add the boiled noodles and turn off the stove.
  4. Ladle it out into a soup bowl. Garnish with spring onion and serve immediately

  •  Mushrooms can also be added to the veg Thukpa
  • If too bland, recommend adding a dash of soya sauce or sweet chilli sauce to liven up.
  • Any veggies can be added – it’s totally a personal choice.


  1. Not sure if I comment came through earlier...your thukpa looks nice. We have all made different varieties for thukpa..,I loved the bowl you have served and the picture

  2. so many varieties of thupka today!!! yours is looking delicious

  3. Loving the variety of thupka's served today. After a ravishing start yesterday with lots of khaja and salan which made me gain a kg, today is fitting be a thupka day, atleast i won't put weight by looking at it!!! :)

  4. Loved your intro Kalyani...very nicely done thukpa too..:)

  5. Omg, thupka looks very delicious, i can make a bowl of this soup rite now and enjoy for my lunch.

  6. Nice warm and hearty thukpa. Didn't know it's pronounces thuppa.. nice detail. i've been calling it thukpa

  7. Thukpa looks rich and delicious ! Same pinch ....

  8. Super write up and a amazing soup . Even though I am not a soup person I liked it when I made and my son simply freaked out on this one.

  9. So many thukpa recipes today but each one is unique and wondering so many versions.
    Yours came out in a perfect color,mine looks bit darker due to the red chilly powder I used...

  10. The soup looks great. Nice presentation.

  11. Yummy looking Thukpa and there are no surprises that I made the same dish today :-)

  12. Good one..As we all know Thupka wins hands down!!

  13. Delicious looking soup..it's comforting.

  14. Looks delicious! Lovely write up...

  15. Very hearty and comforting soup. We loved it...

  16. Can I order some Mom Chef! The thupka is so delicious and the bowls are awesome.

  17. Nice reading the intro Kalyani and of course nice thukpa too:)

  18. your version looks so yummy

  19. Lovely write up!! with inviting thupka.. Love it

  20. my son wants this simple noodle preparation over our sambar, rice and poriyal. Easy for me as well :D. The thupka looks good, will be trying out one by one all the recipes.

  21. Thukpa is such a versatile soup that we can add what ever we like to it. It is so simple,

  22. This is such as an easy recipe and so versatile that we can add any ingredient according to our taste, yet so simple and flavorful

  23. Though it was a thukpa day in BM, we all came up with different versions of thukpa. Love your version too.


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