Kalakhar: The Nectar from Assam

The word Khar is very familiar to the Assamese people. Kolakhar is very popular and unique liquid food additive of Assam. It is used as antacid and cleansing agent apart from used as a food additive in preparing palatable dishes. For every Assamese, calling oneself a “Kharkhua Oxomiya” is a matter of pride, a pride that seals the sense of belongingness to Assam like no other.

Nutritional values

The analysis shows that many vital minerals are present in Kolakhar. results are given below. Results are expressed in ppm (parts per million or mg/Kg).

Metals Amount (ppm)
Potassium 19
Sodium 7
Iron 1.70
Cobalt 0.64
Manganese 0.03
Nickel 0.39
Copper 0.14
Zinc 0.62
Vanadium 4.77

 

Traditionally it is believed that kolakhar prepared from the peels of atria, is the best. It is obvious that the higher level of potassium and lower level of sodium are desirable for the better quality of kolakhar. Besides this, all the metals listed in the table are essential for the human.

  kolakhar

                                                                                                      Sun Dried Peels of Bhim

Medicinal properties

Gastritis: Ash of dried peel of ripe fruit is soaked overnight in water and the filtrate is obtained (i.e. kolkhar). It is consumed as antacid.

kolakhar
Kolakhar

Cough: Ash obtained from dried peels of ripe fruit is soaked overnight in water and one cup of the filtrate obtained mixed few drops of mustard oil, pinch of common salt and 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic. The mixture is slightly heated and then given to take with freshly cooked rice.

High blood pressure: The increasing rate of consumption of table salt in modern living has become one of the major factors, which is inducing health risks associated with high salt intake, including high blood pressure in sensitive individuals. Too much or too little salt in the diet can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, or electrolyte disturbance, which can cause neurological problems, or death. As kolakhar is rich in potassium it can be used as a salt substitute for high blood pressure patients.

Heart diseases: Vanadium is believed to play a vital role in the prevention of heart disease. Places where the incidence of heart disease is high, vanadium is not found in water supplies in those places. Because of the presence of vanadium in kolakhar its use may be helpful for the prevention of heart diseases.

Here are the five delicious recipes of  one can make using kolakhar

Recipes

  1. Posolla are masur dail r khar ( banana psedo stem cooked with red lentil and khar).
  2. Pani Lou aru masor muror khar (Bottle guard and fish head with khar).
  3. Amita aru masor khar ( Pappaya cooked with fish khar).
  4. Bondhacobi r hoite khar ( Khar cooked with Cabbage).
  5. Sewali ful aru horu masor khar ( night flowering jasmine, both fresh and sun-dried  cooked with small fish and khar).

 

N.B. : While preparing any dishes with khar no oil or turmeric is added (traditional belief).

Scientific reseaon : Turmeric is an indicator, which changes its color in presence of khar. ( Chemist point 😉😊)

No added oil : Obviously for low calorie

To know more about kolakhar, read this article.

Sources :

  1. Deka DC & Talukdar NN, Chemical and spectroscopic investigation of Kolakhar and its commercial importance, Indian J Tradit Knowle, 6 (1) (2007) 72-78.
  2. Satya R Neog and Dibakar C Deka Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2013, 5(6):155-159
  3. Kongkona Borborah, SK Borthakur & Bhaben Tanti Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Vol. 15 (1), January 2016, pp. 116-120.

Written by Anjumoni Talukdar, a doctoral student in Chemistry who shares a keen interest in Assam’s indegenous cuisines

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Chicken Cooked with Bamboo Shoots | Khorisa Diya Murgir Jhol

Chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is an easy recipe. It is also a light dish which can be eaten with plain rice or just as a stand-alone dish. #recipe #IndianCuisine #TraditionalRecipe #BambooShoot

Summers in Assam means that the markets are abundant with bamboo shoots. As the bamboos start sprouting, you get to eat tender and juicy bamboo shoots which can be cooked with vegetables or meat or pickled/fermented for later use. Chicken with bamboo shoots is also such an Assamese delicacy which is best eaten when the bamboo shoots are found fresh.

Generally, the habit of eating bamboo shoots are more persistent in people from upper Assam. The lower Assam people’s kitchens are not frequented with this awesome forest vegetable. Although it has finally reached the lower Assam kitchens, the use is still limited to bamboo shoot pickles.

I tasted bamboo shoots in the 1990s in Guwahati. It was one of the frequent visits to the city during our summer vacation. The taste, the smell and the feeling..its something that I still cherish. 

The love for bamboo shoots continued and deepened after I got married in upper Assam. Being a new bride, I was invited for lunch/dinner during the initial years and with every such meal, I got to taste a different version of bamboo shoots. 

My favourite ones among those dishes are black lentils cooked with bamboo shoots, a mash made with fish and bamboo shoots and chicken cooked with bamboo shoots.

Chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is an easy recipe. It is also a light dish which can be eaten with plain rice or just as a stand-alone dish.

Ingredients for Chicken Cooked with Bamboo Shoots

Chicken with bamboo shoots also involves minimum oil and minimum spices. It can be cooked just with some chicken (the country chicken tastes better), ginger+garlic+onion paste, a pinch of cumin powder and lots of bamboo shoots. I, however, added potatoes (cannot imagine my chicken curry without big chunks of potatoes!) and some homemade paanchphoran powder.

Now, what is paanchphoran powder? Paanchphoran is a mix of five spices of fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, carrom seeds and cumin seeds. They can be used to temper the oil in this recipe. But I dry roasted them for 5 minutes and made some coarsely ground powder. It enhances the flavour and texture.

You can always skip the paanchphoran part and add a little cumin powder instead.

Another twist you can add to your chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is by adding a dash of chillies. Traditionally, lots of tribes in Assam add bhoot jolokia or ghost chillies into this curry. If you are not fond of chillies, skip the part but if you can tolerate a little, add one or a half of ghost chilly to your curry.

How to Cook Chicken Cooked with Bamboo Shoots. #Recipe #IndianCuisine #AssameseRecipe

How to Cook Chicken Cooked with Bamboo Shoots

By all means, chicken with bamboo shoots is an easy dish to make. Here is the recipe I followed.

The preparation

  1. Wash the chicken and cut it into smaller pieces.
  2. Make 3 tablespoons of onino+ginger+garlic paste. Please note that you don’t make it a fine paste. Just ground them coarsely.
  3. Make 1 teaspoon of paanchphoran powder or cumin powder.
  4. If you are using raw bamboo shoot, slice them thinly. Otherwise, keep 3 tablespoons of fermented bamboo shoots ready. (I used fermented one here)

The procedure

  1. Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker/ kadahi
  2. Once the oil reaches the smoking point, add the onion+ginger+garlic paste.
  3. Saute for two minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and potatoes along with required salt and turmeric powder.
  5. Stir and cover with the lid.
  6. Keep the flame low.
  7. After 5 minutes, add the masala powder and stir again.
  8. Cook on slow heat for 20 minutes (keep stirring time to time)
  9. Once the chicken loses its rawness, add warm water, ghost chillies(optional) and bamboo shoots.
  10. Bring to boil.
  11. Cook for another 20 minutes on medium to slow flame.
  12. Let the chicken absorb the flavour of chillies and bamboo shoots.
  13. Once you reach the consistency of soup, adjust the salt and turn off the gas.
  14. Your chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is ready. 

It can be served as a starter or as a main dish with plain rice. 

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ধনশিৰী ইকʼ কেম্পত এনিশা

যান্ত্ৰিক জীৱনৰ গদ্দলিকা প্ৰবাহত উটি ফুৰা আমাৰ নিচিনা মধ্যবিত্ত চাকৰিজীৱি মানুহবোৰৰ কেতিয়াবা কেতিয়াবা প্ৰকৃতিৰ কোলাত হেচুকি সোমাই যোৱাৰ ইচ্ছা হয়। সেই ইচ্ছাৰ প্ৰতি সঁহাৰি জনাই যোৱা বছৰৰ অৰ্থাৎ ২০১৭ চনৰ ডিচেম্বৰ মাহত গৈছিলো বোকাখাটৰ সমীপৱৰ্ত্তী ধনশিৰী ইকʼ কেম্পলৈ। যান্ত্ৰিকতাৰ পৰা দূৰত ইন্টাৰনেট আৰু মোবাইল নেটৱৰ্ক নোপোৱা ধনশিৰী নদীৰ বালিচৰত এটি নিশা পাৰ কৰাৰ আমেজেই বেলেগ।

ধনশিৰী ইকʼ কেম্পৰ গুৰি ধৰোতা গৌতম শইকীয়া প্ৰানোচ্ছল ব্যক্তি। তালৈ যোৱাৰ কিছুদিন আগৰ পৰাই ফোনযোগে তেখেতৰ লগত কথা-বাৰ্ত্তা হৈ আছিল। থকা-খোৱাৰ সুবিধা, যাতায়াত, ঠিকনা আৰু কোনফালেদি কেনেকৈ গʼলে তাত ওলাব পাৰি এই সকলোবোৰ কথাই তেওৰ লগত ফোনযোগে পাতি থকা হৈছিল। অৱশেষত আমাক অভয় দি তেওঁ কৈছিল, “চিন্তা নকৰিব, আপোনালোক আহক। থাকি ভাল পাব।”

বোকাখাটৰ পৰা মোটামুটি আঠ কিলʼমিটাৰমান আতৰত অৱস্থিত ধনশিৰী ইকʼ কেম্পলৈ যোৱা ৰাষ্টাৰ অৱস্থা ভাল নহয়। আন অৰ্থত কবলৈ গʼলে ৰাষ্টা নায়েই। বেচিভাগ সময় মথাউৰিৰ ওপৰেৰে গাড়ী চলাই গৈ আছিলো। মথাউৰিৰ খলা বমা মাটিৰ ওপৰেৰে চলাব লগা হোৱাত গাড়ীখনলৈ বেয়া লাগিছিল। লাহে লাহে গৈ থকা বাবে সময়ো লাগিছিল বহুত। মাজে মাজে দুই এঠাইত ৰৈ গৌতম শইকীয়াক ফোনযোগে কোনফালে যাব লাগে সুধিব লগা হৈছিল। অৱশেষত কোনোমতে গৈ ওলাইছিলো। কিন্তু বেয়া ৰাষ্টা আৰু দীঘলীয়া যাত্ৰাই আমাক বিৰক্ত কৰিব পৰা নাছিল। কাৰণ আমি আছিলো আগন্তুক ৰাতিটোৰ ৰোমাঞ্চকৰ অভিজ্ঞতাৰ আশাৰে আশাবাদী।

চাওতে চাওতে কিছু সময়ৰ ভিতৰতে আন্ধাৰ নামি আহিল। গৌতম শইকীয়াই নিজে জীপ এখনেৰে আমাক ঘাটলৈ লৈ গʼল। ঘাটলৈ গৈ থাকোতে ঠাইটুকুৰাৰ ইটো সিটো বহু কথা আমাক কৈ গৈছিল।

ধনশিৰী ইকʼ কেম্পত থকা-মেলাৰ সু -ব্যৱস্থা আছে। কিছুসংখ্যক কোঠা আৰু এখন ৰেষ্টুৰেন্টেৰে সু-সজ্জিত ধনশিৰী ইকʼ কেম্প এখন ৰিজʼৰ্টৰ নিচিনাই। কোঠাবোৰৰ প্ৰায়বোৰেই জুপুৰি আৰু তম্বুৰ সংমিশ্ৰণ। আধালৈ পকী,বেৰবোৰ প্লাষ্টিক বা ৰেস্কীনেৰে তৈয়াৰী আৰু ওপৰফালে খেৰৰ চালি। স্থায়ী তথা মজবুত, কিন্তু সাধাৰণ ঘৰৰ দৰে নহয়। বৰঞ্চ অস্থায়ী তম্বু বা জুপুৰি ঘৰত থকাৰ দৰে অভিজ্ঞতা যোগাব পৰা এটা ঘৰ। ইয়াৰ উপৰিও সম্পূৰ্ণ পকীঘৰো কেইটামান আছে। আনকি সম্পূৰ্ণ পৰিয়াল এটা একেলগে থাকিব পৰাকৈ ডাঙৰ ঘৰৰ ব্যৱস্থাও আছে। মুঠৰ ওপৰত সকলো ধৰণৰ যাত্ৰীকেই সন্তুষ্ট কৰিব পৰাকৈ ব্যৱস্থা কৰি ৰাখিছে গৌতম শইকীয়াই।

ৰিজʼৰ্ট সদৃশ হʼলেও কিন্তু ই বিলাসিতা বৰ্জিত। আমি আগতেই কৈ থৈছিলো যে আমি বালিচৰত তম্বুত হে থাকিম। সেইগতিকে শইকীয়াই আমাক ঘাটলৈ লৈ গৈছিল। ঘাটত এখন ফেৰী নাওঁ সাজু হৈয়ে আছে। আমি জীপৰ পৰা নামি নিজৰ নিজৰ বেগবোৰ নাওঁত উঠালো। গধূলিৰ সময়। চাৰিওফালে অন্ধকাৰ। টৰ্চ ব্যৱহাৰ কৰি বেগবোৰ উঠোৱা-মেলা কৰিছো। নাওঁত দুটামান লাইট আছে। জীপখনতো চাৰ্জ দিয়া লাইট এটা আছে। শইকীয়াই সকলোকে লাইট নুমাবলৈ নিৰ্দেশ দিলে। নাওঁৰ লাইট নুমাল, জীপৰ লাইটো নুমুৱাই দিয়া হʼল, আমিও আমাৰ মোবাইলবোৰ বন্ধ কৰিলো। চাইওফালে আন্ধাৰ।

“চাৰিওফালে চকু ফুৰাওকচোন” – আন্ধাৰত শইকীয়াৰ মাত ভাঁহি আহিল। আমি চাইছো চাৰিওফালে। লাহে লাহে চৌপাশৰ বস্তুবোৰ স্পষ্ট হবলৈ ধৰিছে। কেইটামান মুহূৰ্ত তেনেদৰে থকাৰ পিচত লাহে লাহে আমাৰ চকু, চাৰিওফালৰ পৰিবেশটোৰ লগত অভ্যস্ত হʼল আৰু এটা দুটাকৈ চৌপাশৰ বস্তুবোৰ মনিব পৰা হলো। গাড়ী খন, ফেৰী নাওখন, মানুহবোৰ।

“এয়াই বন্য পৰিবেশ। কাষত নদীৰ পানীৰ কুলু কুলু শব্দ আৰু দূৰ দূৰণিলৈ কেৱল বালি চাপৰি। এই শান্ত সমাহিত পৰিবেশ অনুভৱ কৰক অলপ সময়। এয়া বেলেগত নাপাব।” – গৌতম শইকীয়াৰ কথাখিনিয়ে পৰিবেশটো ইমান সুন্দৰকৈ বৰ্ণনা কৰিছিল যে আমি মুক হৈ পৰিলো। তেনেদৰে থাকোতে কিমানখিনি সময় পাৰ হ’ল গমেই নাপালো।

 “বʼলক এতিয়া নাওত উঠকগৈ” – শইকীয়াৰ কথাত আমাৰ তন্দ্ৰা ভাঙিল। পুনৰ লাইট জ্বলিল, আমিও মোবাইলৰ টৰ্চেৰে চাই-চিতি নাওঁত উঠিলো। ফেৰীয়ে এসময়ত আমক গন্তব্যস্থান পোৱালেগৈ। সিদিনা আমাৰ নিচিনা আন এটা দল, একেটা চাপৰিতে থকা কথা। তম্বুৰ সংখ্যা আৰু সেৱা আগবঢ়াব পৰা ক্ষমতাৰ ওপৰত ভিত্তি কৰি প্ৰতি দিনে দহ-বাৰজনতকৈ বেচি মানুহৰ বুকিং ৰখা নহয়। আমাৰ দলটোত আমি ছয়জন আছিলো। আনটো দলতো পাচ-ছয় জনতকৈ কম নহব। আমাক নমাই থৈ ফেৰীখন পুনৰ উভতি গʼল আনটো দলক আনিবলৈ। আমি ঘূৰি পকি চাবলৈ লাগিলো। চাৰিওফালে কেৱল বালি আৰু বালি। আন্ধাৰতে ফ্লেচ ব্যৱহাৰ কৰি দুই এখন ফটো তুলিবলৈ চেষ্টা কৰিলো যদিও ভাল ফটো এখনো নুঠিল।

কিছু্সময়ৰ পিচত ফেৰীখন পুনৰ আহি পালে। এইবাৰ আনটো দল নামিল। ফেৰীখনৰ লগত এইবাৰ খোৱা বস্তু, তম্বু, কাপোৰ কানি, অন্যান্য ইটো সিটো সকলো বস্তু আহিল।

জুই জ্বলাই দিয়া হʼল। দুকুৰা জুই। একুৰা আমাৰ, আনকুৰা সিটো দলৰ। দুই এপদকৈ খোৱাবস্তু পৰিবেশন কৰা হʼল। প্ৰথমতে কিবা কিবি লঘু আহাৰ। লাহে লাহেকৈ পʼৰ্টেবল লাউদ স্পিকাৰত গান বাজিল। অহাৰ আগতে পোৱা গৌতম শইকীয়াৰ সকীয়নি অনুসৰি স্পিকাৰৰ ভলিউম খুবেই কমকৈ ৰখা হʼল। সকলো কাম কাজ কৰিবলৈ তিনি-চাৰিজনমান লʼৰা আছিল। সিহতে ফেৰীও চলায়, খোৱা বস্তু পৰিবেশন ও কৰে আৰু তম্বুও তৰে। মুঠতে অল-ৰাউন্দাৰ। সিহতে এটা এটাকৈ তম্বু তৰিবলৈ ধৰিলে। প্ৰত্যেকটো তম্বুৰ ভিতৰত এটা এটাকৈ চাৰ্জ দিয়া লাইট জ্বলাই দিয়া হʼল। ফেৰীৰ পৰা নমা সময়ত সম্পূৰ্ণ নিৰ্জন হৈ থকা বালি চাপৰিটো কিছু সময়ৰ ভিতৰতে কেনেদৰে সজীৱ হৈ উঠিল তলকিবই নোৱাৰিলো। চাওতে চাওতে চকুৰ আগতে এক নান্দনিক পৰিবেশৰ সৃষ্টি হʼল।

এনে পৰিবেশত ৰাতি যাপন কৰাৰ অভিজ্ঞতা মোৰ নাই। মাজতে ল’ৰাকেইজনে নদীৰ পৰা মাছ মাৰি আনি বাচি কুটি জুইত পুৰি আমাক খুৱালে। আনটো দলত গীটাৰৰ শব্দ ভাহি আহিল। ডিচেম্বৰ মাহৰ প্ৰথম সপ্তাহ। গতিকে ঠাণ্ডা পৰিছে। আহোতে সিমান অনুভৱ কৰা নাছিলো যদিও ৰাতি আগবঢ়াৰ লগে লগে ঠাণ্ডাৰ প্ৰকোপ ভালেখিনি বাঢ়িল।

দূৰ-দূৰণিত তিৰবিৰাই থকা লাইটৰ পোহৰ কিছুমানে বাৰে বাৰে মোৰ দৃষ্টি আকৰ্ষণ কৰিছিল। সুধিলত গম পালো সেইবোৰ মাছমৰীয়া। ৰাতি পোহৰ লৈ মাছ মাৰিবলৈ ওলাইছে। মাজে মাজে পানীত বালিৰ চপৰা খহি পৰাৰ শব্দ। মাজে মাজে জুইৰ ওচৰৰ পৰা উঠি চাৰিওফালে ঘুৰি পকি পৰিবেশটো অনুভৱ কৰি চাইছিলো। ওপৰত বিশাল আকাশ আৰু সীমাহীন বালি খণ্ডৰ মাজত নিজকে বৰ নিমাখিত যেন লাগিছিল।

বাৰিষা এইবোৰ ঠাই বানৰ পানীত দুব যায়। সেইবাবে ডাঙৰ গছ গছনি দূৰৰে কথা, আনকি জোপোহা গছো নাই। সৰু সৰু দুবৰিৰ নিচিনা বন কিছুমান হে জোতাত লাগিছিল। দহ মান বজাৰ লগে লগে আকাশত জোন দেখা গ’ল। ঘিটমিটীয়া আন্ধাৰ নাইকীয়া হৈ চাৰিওফালে সিঁচৰিত হৈ পৰিছিল জোনৰ পোহৰ। পোহৰৰ বাবে জুইৰ ওপৰত নিৰ্ভৰশীলতা নাইকীয়া হʼল।

ৰাতিৰ আহাৰ পৰিবেশন কৰা হʼল। মাছ, মাংস, শাক-পাচলিৰে সমন্বিতে সুস্বাদু আহাৰ। আমি খাই উঠি অলপ সময় কথা বতৰা পাতি তম্বুৰ ভিতৰত শুই পৰিলো। তম্বুৰ ভিতৰত দুজন মানুহ শুব পাৰি। কিন্তু দুজনতকৈ বেচি এটা তম্বুৰ ভিতৰত শুব লগা হʼলে অসুবিধা হব। তম্বু কেইটা আশা কৰাৰ দৰেই আহল বহল। ইকʼ কেম্পৰ লʼৰাকেইজনে ৰাতি নাওতেই আশ্ৰয় লʼলে।

পুৱা সাৰ পাওতে অলপ পলম হৈছিল। সাৰ পায়েই চৰাই-চিৰিকতিৰ কলৰৱ শুনিবলৈ পালো। তম্বুৰ পৰা ওলাই আহো মানে ইতিমধ্যে ৰʼদ ওলাইছিল। পুৱাৰ ফেৰফেৰীয়া ঠাণ্ডা বতাহ, কুঁৱলীৰ পাতল জাল আৰু কোমল ৰʼদে সুন্দৰ পৰিবেশৰ সৃষ্টি কৰিছিল। আমি বেচি দেৰী নকৰি আহিবলৈ সাজু হলো।

দুয়োটা দলকে ফেৰী খনেৰে ইকʼ কেম্পলৈ লৈ অনা হʼল। তাত আমি ব্ৰেকফাষ্ট কৰিলো। অৱশেষত গৌতম শইকীয়া আৰু তেওঁৰ সহচৰ বৃন্দক ধন্যবাদ জনাই আমি উভতি আহিলো। তেতিয়া পুৱা ন মান বাজিছিল।


This article is wriiten by Britul Sarma, who is an Engineer by profession and a traveller by passion. Check out his blog here

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Assamese Recipe: Chicken with Rice Flour

Dear readers, with this post, I am introducing a new segment on this blog. This segment would focus on food and travel in Assam by our esteemed guest bloggers. If you have a piece written on Assam’s food or travel destinations, feel free to check our guidelines, click here.
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Hello Everyone!!
 
Today I would like to touch down the beautiful Assam which is famous for their Tea and Silk and also that they conserved the one-horn rhinoceros along with being one of the last wild habitats of elephants. Assam is a very beautiful state with greenery all around due to the immense amount of rainfall that it receives the entire year and which is a lot compared to the rest of India. And this rainfall feeds the River Brahmaputra which results in the region with a Hydro-Geomorphic Environment. 
 
Apart from this, Assam is famous for their Bihu Dance, Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary and their flavourful cuisine which comprises of a lot of varieties ranging from hot, spicy, medium spiced and sweet to sour and including varieties of vegetables and fish and meat.
 
So, as I was turning the pages of the beautiful lush green Assam, I thought of trying out their cuisine. Its available in Kolkata but it’s not possible to eat at the restaurants on a regular basis. So I thought of creating the magic in my kitchen. Among the famous dishes, Fish Tenga, Alu Pitika and Chicken Curry in Rice Flour grabbed my attention for being so easy to create with available ingredients at home.
 
While Alu Pitika is a simple potato mash flavoured with raw herbs and spices like Coriander, Chillies and Onions, Fish Tenga creates flavour bomb in the mouth with souring agents like elephant apple, tomatoes and even lemon juice.
 
But what touched me the most is the beauty and easy short technique to create a perfect comfort food with chicken which will warm you up maintaining the health quotient and all these I got from Chicken Curry in Rice Flour. Yes I was a bit amazed to come across the recipe. And I was super surprised to taste it as it was flavourful yet so light. So its the perfect concoction of rich flavours and lightness of the technique. 
 
Cook this easy recipe of chicken cooked with rice flour and minimal spices.

 

Chicken Cooked with Rice Flour

 
Ingredients
 
  • Chicken – 500 gms
  • Rice Flour – ½ cup
  • Onion – 1 big sized chopped 
  • Ginger – Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
  • Mustard Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder – ¼  tsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 chopped
  • Potato – 1 large
  • Black Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt for seasoning
 
Instructions
 
1. Clean the chicken and cut into proper sizes. 
2. Now take a wok or a cooker, heat it and add 2 tbsp Mustard Oil and smoke it. 
3. Add the chopped onions and chillies and turn into pink. 
4. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for couple of minutes until the smell disappears. 
5. Add the chicken pieces and diced potatoes and fry for 5 minutes seasoning with salt. 
6. Now add 600 ml of water and bring it to a boil and put the cooker in pressure or cover cook it till the chicken and potatoes are tender and soft.
7. Now mix the rice flour with some water to make a slurry. Mix this slurry into the chicken and simmer it for 5 minutes. 
8. Now add the black pepper powder and turn off the flame. 
9. Serve hot with Steamed Rice, Hot Sticky Rice or handmade Roti.
 
This chicken curry is in the style of the Dimasa ethnic community of Assam. Dimasa is one of the Kachari tribes, who are the oldest inhabitants of the region. This curry is perfect for even for those who are unwell and recovering from sickness. 
chicken with rice flour. assamese recipe
 
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Written by Pamela Sumit Sarkar form Improv & Explore
 
Through my blog “Improv & Explore”, I am trying to incorporate recipes which are easy to do yet tasty for all including kids, elderlies and sick people too. In our mundane busy life, where food is available on just a click from various apps connecting eateries, it is important to maintain the health factor along with time too. These types of recipes which speak volumes about our history, actually help us to maintain all the criteria. Hope you all like the version that I created in my kitchen which was luxuriously enjoyed by my husband and my son.
 
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Chirota: Remedy for Worms

 

In my childhood, another thing that I hated was the Chirota. During March-April, it was mandatory for us to have some chirota soaked water in empty stomach every alternate day. This precaution was taken to get the worms out of our system and keep our gut healthy. But the concoction was so bitter that all I wanted was to throw up.

As I am a mom now, I am finding it very hypocritic to get my child have the same thing I hated. But alas! Every good thing comes with a price in life…

Chirota is good for curing fever, constipation, upset stomach, loss of appetite, intestinal worms, skin diseases, and cancer. Regular use of chirota also boost the immunity against malaria.

To make the chirota concoction, soak the chirota stems and leaves in a glass of water overnight. Drain the water in the morning and have it in empty stomach.

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Brahmi Xaak: Bacopa monierri

Brahmi Xaak is a commonly used herb in Assamese Cuisine. This particular perennial herb is known for its wonderful properties and has been widely used for boosting memory since time immemorial.

Brahmi Xaak is known to prevent certain cancers, improve respiratory diseases and stimulation of the mind to boost memory and concentration. It is also known and used as a stress reliever in ancients ayurvedic scripts.

Brahmi also has antioxidants and inflammatory properties making it a superfood.

Slightly bitter in taste, brahmi can be stir fried to eat as a side dish. You can also cook it with thinly sliced potatoes.

Before every annual exam, our grandma would bring some brahmi from the kitchen garden and stir-fried in ghee (clarified butter). She used to tell you that this particular remedy would help us to remember our lessons clearly. I used to hate that dish but we had to eat it.

I would never know if that dish was responsible for me and my brother’s good results but we hadn’t eaten it since we left home for higher studies. It’s funny how some simple things bring so many memories to us. Our grandma is no more but there were lessons I learned from her which would stay with me unless I pass it on to my next generation. After all, what is food if it doesn’t remind you of something or someone we love!!

Pin it for future readings!

Brahmi Xaak: Indian #Herb

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Asian Pennywort: Manimuni

~This series is a part of A-Z Blogging Challenge, 2018. I will be writing about different herbs, greens and ingredients used in AssameseCuisine.~

Asian pennywort or Manimuni, as it is called in Assamese language, is an integral herb in Assamese Cuisine.

Manimuni is a tender herb which grows abundantly in everywhere in Assam. It is common in every kitchen garden in Assam. A herb indigenous to Asia, it us widely used in cuisines of South East Asia, China and North East India.

Manimuni is known for its properties to heal stomach alimony, nausea, drowsiness and internal wounds. It also has anti bacterial properties.

Manimuni can be eaten raw as chutney or can be cooked with small fishes. In fact, it’s manadatory in my home to have Manimuni stew if you are suffering from stomach bug.

Pro tip- Do you suffer from bad body odor? Eat two leaves of Asian pennywort in empty stomach to get rid of it.

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Assamese Cuisine: Drumstick Flower Fry with Egg

Finally, the season of spring is here. The wind is scented with the essence of various flowers and if you notice the details keenly, you can actually distinguish each fragrance. The season also brings some fresh herbs and vegetables after you get bored with cauliflowers and cabbages. One of the first summer vegetable to appear these days are drumsticks.

Drumsticks tree(Moringa oleifera) is a native tree of India and widely cultivated in various tropical and subtropical region. The tree is considered to be a precious one as almost every part of it has benefits. From the root to the leaves, from the bark to the fruits and flowers, everything of a drumstick tree is usable and has medicinal properties. The important medicinal properties of the tree include dietary fiber, a good source of various vitamins, effective against various diseases of heart, liver, spleen, bones, skin, hair and leprosy.

During my childhood, every year, when the drumstick tree would bloom in our backyard, my grandma will make sure to collect the flowers. She would clean them and hand over to Ma in the kitchen to make a stir-fry of it. It was mandatory for us kids to eat it as drumstick flowers are known to cut any threat by worms in our tummies. Though reluctantly, but we would always eat it. As the times passed by, that particular recipe was forgotten due to the scarcity drumstick flowers. Our tree was struck by a thunderstorm and as there was no way for us to get it from the market, the fry was something we longed every spring for years.

But if you are in Guwahati and have gone to any market, the God will bless you with everything ethnic and rare items which are not accessible in villages nowadays. So, when last Sunday the hubby walked in with a fresh produce of drumstick flowers from the nearby weekly market called ‘Kolongpar’, I was more than delighted. The market has been a hub of lots of things we longed for years since we moved to Guwahati. The name of the market derived from the local train that brings the vendors and products from nearby areas.

Here, I am relishing memories and food of my childhood. After all, what does a recipe hold if nothing but memories?

                                                         Drumstick Flower Fry with Eggs

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients

  • Fresh drumstick flowers, cleaned and washed
  • One potato cut into thin pieces
  • A medium onion, finely chopped
  • Two eggs
  • Chilies, salt, mustard oil and turmeric

For more such recipes, buy my book Pakghar: Recipes from An Assamese Kitchen on Amazon Kindle.

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a kadhai
  • Put the onions in the oil with green chilies
  • As the onions turn tender, add the drumstick flowers and potatoes.
  • Add salt and turmeric according to the taste.
  • Mix well and cover with lid on medium heat.
  • Stir time to time unless the potatoes and flowers are cooked.
  • In a separate bowl, break the eggs and whip them without salt.
  • Now add it to the almost cooked potato-flower mix on the kadhai and mix it well.
  • Stir continuously so that the eggs don’t stick at the bottom.
  • Once the egg is done, switch off the flame and your delicious and healthy dish is ready.

If you are a vegetarian, you can skip the egg part. The dish itself is very tasty, with or without adding egg. Have it with some steamed rice and dal fry. Try and thank me later!

Pin it for later use!

drumstick flowers fry with eggs recipe #AssameseCuisine #AssameseRecipe #IndianCuisine

For more such recipes, buy my book Pakghar: Recipes from An Assamese Kitchen on Amazon Kindle.

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Why Should You Start Food Blogging?

Hello, friends! If you love to eat, cook or do anything related to food and spend time scrolling through food groups and food blogs, then you are at the right place. While browsing the amazing, lip-smacking pictures of food some blogger has uploaded, did ever the thought of creating your own food blog cross your mind? Yes. Your own food blog! A place where all of your recipes, food adventures and restaurant hunts would be kept for all the people to read and relish.

So, if you are in dilemma to create your own food blog or not, let us give you some solid reasons why you should start a food blog.

Why Should You Start Food Blogging? #FoodBlogging #Blogging #FoodBlog

Share your cooking with the whole world!

Whether you are a home cook, a recipe developer or anyone who loves to cook, a food blog gives you to showcase your recipes with the whole world. It gives your recipes more visibility and permanency. If you want to popularise your cooking in front of a bigger audience, food blogging is the best thing you can do. You would find that people who visit your blog are more encouraging, supportive than the social media and they would love to share your work in their networks popularising it.

But, are the foods blogs are only for recipe sharing? I am a member of so many food groups on Facebook and other social media where I can share a pic of my dish. Why do I need to have a food blog? We are going there in a bit!

Food Blogging can be an amazing platform to share your knowledge about food.

Food Blogging is not just recipe sharing. It’s much more than it. It’s about how creative you can be with your food.

Food is one of the essential things we need to survive. Our food has evolved from meagre things to this stage and it will never stop evolving. Every food item has its own history and digging this history can bring out amazing snippets of information regarding mankind.

If you love to know about your food and share the knowledge with the whole world, food blogs are a great medium for it. It can be about the vegetables you use in your own cuisine, lost recipes from your home, or how to grow seasonal vegetables. Just remember that your knowledge can help someone who has just started.

Food Blogging helps you to be a skilled person.

Yes. Once you start food blogging and getting appreciation form the other parts of the world who don’t know you personally, it kindles a desire in you. The desire to cook and share more things. It challenges to push your limitations as a cook. You learn new techniques, new recipes, develop your own cooking style, try to learn a lot about your native cuisine, know your ingredients and much more.  

The skills you learn for your food blog is not restricted to your cooking.

Food blogging comes with two accessories. One is your skill of writing and the other one is the photography skill. While it is not mandatory to be good with both sets of skills, food blogging moulds you to develop them thoroughly. You learn to style your food, take good pictures for your Instagram and write about the food.

Food Blogging helps you to make new friends who understand your passion.

Let’s admit it. Food is a beacon which brings friends and foe together. The food blogging community is absolutely same. Once you are comfortable with what you are doing, building relations and sharing food details come easily to food bloggers.

Why Should You Start Food Blogging? #foodblogging #blogging #food #foodblog

Food Blogging creates new avenues.

Food blogging is not always about recipe sharing. You do not need to cook to start a food blog. If you love to eat out and share the details of eateries across the continents, you are good to go for a food blog.

If you love to click pictures of ingredients and food, your food blog can be a place where you showcase your portfolio and let people hire you as a food photographer.

If you have good skills to style food, your food blog can be the creative outlet where you show your charisma a food stylist.

Food blogging is more than a hobby. It’s a lucrative career.

The prospect for food bloggers to work with brands and individuals is all time high right now. Lots of brands in home essentials, gourmet and product sectors have come forward to work with food bloggers. Food bloggers can develop recipes by using a particular product and showcase on the blog. They can also use their influence as bloggers to review products and restaurants.

Bloggers who also work as a food stylist and food photographer can work with magazines, online stores and product merchants.

New prospects for food bloggers are coming up every day and I am sure that with your food blog, you can finally create the productive outlet for your passion.

If you are looking for some motivation and like-minded people to connect to your food blog, you are welcome to join my private community for food bloggers. See you inside the group!

 

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