Traditional Assam Food One Must Try While Visiting the State

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Traditional Assam Food One Must Try While Visiting the State
Traditional Assam Food

The foodies always hunt for different dishes from different cultures and Assam foods are some that it is all about minimizing waste. It constitutes a varied combination of ingredients starting from rustic vegetables to a lot of animal proteins and even insects. Among the staple food that Assamese people have in their daily menu are khar, tenga, pitika etc. without which the Assamese thalis are incomplete.

Here’s Some of The Most Famous Food of Assam

1. Khar

Khar is both an ingredient and the name of any dish prepared using it. This dish can be prepared with pulses, vegetables or even fish or meat. The basic ingredient “Khar” is obtained by filtering out the liquid from a solution of water and dried, charred banana peel. This Assamese dish is unique in the sense that it preserves the alkaline or astringent taste of the Khar liquid.

This dish is believed to have appetizing and digestive properties. Sometimes recipes can direct you to use baking soda if Khar is not available with you. Although alkaline, it fails to create the taste of an authentic Assamese Khar recipe.

The khar prepared from the banana peels also works as medicine who have gastritis problem.

The invention of Khar may be explained by the fact that it probably was a more cost-effective and easily produced ingredient for preserving food as compared to salt which was preferred by aristocrats. For the curious, this is indeed a taste without any parallel and only in Assamese food do your taste buds awaken to it.

Khar
Khar

2. Tenga

The word ‘Tenga’ itself gives a cool feeling during the summer days. In whatever ways would one like to have tenga- be it ‘Masor Tenga’, ‘Tenga with Fritters’, it gives you a cool feeling after having it. And the tenga dish is the sentiment of Assamese.

The word “Tenga” in Assamese means sour. The favourite souring ingredients are tomatoes, dried mangosteen, lemon, raw mango, and elephant-apple. The Masor Tenga is a lightly spiced, tangy fish curry best enjoyed with rice during lunch or dinner. Consumed during summertime, this dish is believed to enhance digestion after a heavy meal.

When one is invited for a lunch or dinner, a dish of tenga is must in the menu as it is said that it digest the food after a heavy meal.

Different temperings like fenugreek, 5 spice mix (panch phoran) or mustard seeds impart uniquely different flavors to the basic dish and give a refreshing variety to the demanding food lover.

Tenga
Tenga

3. Pitika

Pitika is another dish which is consumed by the Assamese people and if you are inviting a guest for lunch or dinner, serve a pitika dish which is mesmerizing.
This is basically a form of charred or boiled vegetable or fish mixed with green chilli, onion, chopped ginger, mustard oil, and coriander leaves. A variety of ingredients like potato, eggplant, pumpkin, red lentils, and even fish can be prepared into a Pitika.
This dish retains the original flavour of the basic ingredient combined with the pungency of raw mustard oil and the aromatics. Easily prepared and served with rice, this Assamese dish is wholesome and tasty comfort food for the novice as well as the jaded home cook.
Pitika
Pitika

4. Paro Mangxo

Pigeon meat may be banned in other Indian states; but it is a specialty in Assam. Pigeon is being sacrificed in pujas after which it is consumed as Prasad. It is considered to give the body warmth and is consumed during the winter months. The most preferred recipe is when pigeon meat is cooked with banana flower and lots of peppercorns. This dish may be eaten with rice or roti or as a starter.

The Assamese have been preparing this for ages and it remains very popular with people eager to uphold tradition. The mutton, chicken or any other meat was the second choice for the people of Assam especially in villages when there is pigeon meat. This Assamese food preparation is a delicacy. It’s a confluence of flavors and textures with a hint of the exotic.

Most of the Assamese restaurants also include ‘Paro Mangxo’ in the menu as it is regarded as a special Assamese cuisine.

Paro Mangxo
Paro Mangxo

5. Polu Or Leta

Which fabric is Assam best known for? Silk, right! But why talk of fabric in a food blog? This might be a nose scruncher for some, but stir-fried silkworms are a delicacy favoured by many Assamese. After the silk is taken out from the cocoon, the pupa is boiled in water then stir-fried. Essentially a spicy tribal recipe, it has a crunchy outside and a soft gooey center. It is a must try for all the not-so-faint-hearted who have an itch for the untried and taboo.

polu
polu

6. Duck Meat Curry

Another famous dish of Assam, duck curry or duck fry is the love of people. If you have high blood pressure, you are suggested not to have duck meat but for the people who are fit and fine, duck meat curry is yet another unique food of Assam owing to duck being a very popular meat in the state. It is mostly reserved for special occasions and uses a range of whole spices that add its flavour. It is usually cooked with Ash Gourd but variations including cooking it with sesame, lentil, pumpkin, papaya and lots more. If you’re a fan of duck meat, you have to try this out. Once you try this, you will never look after for any other meat.

duck meat curry
duck meat curry

7. Ou Khatta

This delicious sweet and sour chutney is made with elephant apple (ou) and jaggery. The ou is boiled and then gently mashed. After this, it is sautéed with mustard seeds in oil. Jaggery is added at the end.

elephant apple curry
elephant apple curry

8. Doi-Chira – A Breakfast Staple

Mostly eaten during Bihu, Doi-Chira is also consumed for breakfast. It is essentially a dish that contains flattened rice mixed with curd, cream and jaggery, making it a favourite among locals. It is a traditional Assamese dish that you must try at least once.

Doi chira
Doi chira

9. Pitha

Another traditional food of Assam is pitha without which the traditional festival of Bihu is incomplete. Pitha can be sweet or savoury, and usually made from a dough or batter, which is then steamed, fried or griddled. Very few varieties are oven-baked or boiled, and most are unleavened and cooked on a stovetop (or equivalent). Some versions may have a filling, garnish, or sauce. Few may be set or shaped after cooking. They are typically eaten as a snack with chai, or as treats during special occasions. Pithas are often made from bora saul, a special kind of glutinous rice, or xaali saul, or sun-dried rice.
Pitha
Pitha

10. Larus (Laddoos)

Larus are prepared with coconut which is another famous recipe of Assam. Larus can also be prepared from chira (flattened rice), muri (puffed rice) during Bihu. If you are inviting a guest in Bihu, pitha and larus are the most important to serve with tea.

ladoos
ladoos

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