Culinary History of Spinach and Two Iron Rich Assamese Recipes

Winters are here and though we live in the concrete jungle, every year my family try to grow some of the winter greens and vegetables in our little abode. This year, we tried some early sowing of spinach, fenugreek, radish and lai xaak. To our happiness, the greens are grown pretty quickly and since then, they have been a steady part of our diet. But if you ask which tender green we enjoy the most is the spinach.

 

As soon as our spinach is ready to be plucked, we have been eating it like starved people. It is one of our favourite green and we do enjoy it in every form. Today, I am offering two family favourite recipes of spinach with you all. But before going to them, let us know the culinary history of spinach and how these tender greens reached India.

Culinary History of Spinach

Spinach is a native of the Ancient Persia from where it was introduced in India and China by the Arab and Nepalese visitors in AD 647. Its invasion of the other parts of the world began when it was introduced in Sicily by the Saracens in 827.

The earliest written evidence of spinach and its usage was found from the 10th century in the Mediterranean. The most prominent works are the medical work by al-Razi (known as Rhazes in the West) and in two agricultural treatises, one by Ibn Waḥshīyah and the other by Qusṭus al-Rumi.

It was introduced in Germany, France and England in the 13-14th century where it was used for medical purposes. It gained its popularity due to its adaptation to the wintery climate and universal appeal. In a 1390 English cookbook, spinach was referred as the ‘spinnedge’ and a food during other dietary restrictions are there.

Iron Rich Assamese Recipes

Easy, Iron Rich Spinach Recipes

Spinach can be consumed in different forms. It can be used in soups, salads, curry, fries and a seasoning. You can use it in whatever way you want, it still retains its properties of iron, vitamins and other minerals. Here is the two recipes we enjoy.

Mashed Potato with Spinach

A very easy recipe. The ingredients are also simple and easily available. The best thing about the recipe is here, spinach is used in the raw form and hence very healthy. Here is the recipe

Ingredients

  1. Boiled Potato
  2. Tender spinach
  3. Sliced onions
  4. Green chillies
  5. salt and mustard oil

Instructions

  1. Mix everything and mash together.
  2. Adjust the salt and serve

 

The other recipe is a non-vegetarian recipe which is another good source of iron and other minerals. This recipe is cooked with fish which is rich in iron and when cooked with spinach, it helps to get a good dose of iron in our diet.

Fish and Spinach Curry

Ingredients

  1. Spinach- cleaned and cut.
  2. Fried fish
  3. Mustard oil, turmeric powder and salt
  4. Fenugreek seeds

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil and temper with fenugreek seeds.
  2. Put the spinach and fry for one minute.
  3. Add the water and fish, salt and turmeric.
  4. Boil and as it reach the desired consistency, swith off the gas,
  5. Serve. 

Written as a contribution to iron rich food with #livogenironchef  by Livogen Iron 

 

Mint and Green Mango Chutney and Some Joyful Memories

Summer is here and so are the mangoes. We are yet to get the ripe ones but once the tender ones are ready to grab, my kitchen is full of them in different avatars. Among lots of ways to eat green mango, our all time favorite is a chutney made with mint leaves and green mango.

The mint and green mango chutney is a staple in Assamese household. As the summer months bring the unbearable heat, our grandmas would make to cool the tummy. This is a recipe which is made since generations in our houses and served almost every day. 

The mint and green mango chutney go best with plain rice and daal. You can also have some vegetables with it and the simple, healthy and light meal is ready. As you can make the chutney in batches, the effort here is least but the impact of the happy tummy goes many miles. This is a recipe which is not even mentioned in food discussions but still, it holds a high position in almost every cuisine.

How to Make an Amazing Mint and Green Mango Chutney

As I was thinking to share my version of this mint and green mango chutney, the first thing that came to my mind was the memory. My ancestral home had 4 mango trees and when it was the season of mangoes, our courtyard would be full of it. We would start eating the green ones as soon as they are ready to munch. On holidays, after school, we would roam under the trees to get a mango. In those days, the perfect stone thrower was the hero or heroine of the season. We meager human beings would patiently wait for he/she to hit the mangoes with perfect aim and share it afterward. Those days were plainer, much simpler when we would be happy even with a single bite.There might have been quarrels over the mangoes but when today I thought of it, I could remember only the joy and friendship, not the mango bites. 

During our school time, scorching heat and plain summer vegetables, a sight of this chutney were a welcome sight. Ma would make it fresh every day for lunch (not in batches like I do) so that we would finish the lunch after school without any complaints. 

How to Make an Amazing Mint and Green Mango Chutney

The mint and green mango chutney is also very beneficial for health. Let’s have a look on it.

Health Benefits of Mint and Green Mango Chutney

Mint and Green Mango Chutney

Health benefits of mint leaves

  • Fight fatigue
  • Clear skin
  • Helps in breastfeeding
  • Improves oral health
  • Good for a cough and cold

 

 

Here are the health benefits of green mango

  • Lowers Cholesterol 
  • Clears the Skin
  • Improves Eye sight
  • Improves Digestion
  • Helps Fight Heat Stroke

How to Make an Amazing Mint and Green Mango Chutney

Ingredients

  1. Mint leaves, as required.
  2. Green mango slices, as per the measure of mint leaves.
  3. 3 garlic cloves
  4. 2 green chilies
  5. Salt

Instructions

  1. Wash the ingredients and drain the water.
  2. Grind them together till you get desired smoothness.
  3. Add salt according to taste and serve.

 

Assamese Recipe: Drumsticks in Mustard Sauce | Sojinar Sorsori

Summer is here and though the season demands light gravies, one can not say know to the temptation of drumsticks in mustard sauce.  This is a quick and easy recipe which can not be cooked with simple ingredients. But before going to the recipe, let us know the health benefits of drumsticks.

Health Benefits of Drumsticks

  • Drumsticks are a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin C.
  • They give strong bones and cleanse the blood.
  • It is also good for gall bladder.
  • Drumsticks help to improve the immune and nervous system.

Ingredients of Drumsticks in Mustard Sauce

As I said earlier, this is a simple recipe using minimal ingredients. To cook the drumsticks in mustard sauce, you need only drumsticks, mustard paste, and crushed garlic. As an ardent potato lover, I add potato chunks in it too which gives it some sweet flavor but can be toned down by using lots of green chilies. Here is the recipe.

In Assamese cuisine, the dishes cooked with mustard sauce are called sorsori. Hence, drumsticks in mustard sauce are called sojinar sorsori. Here is the recipe.

Assamese Recipe of Drumsticks in Mustard Sauce

 

Drumsticks in Mustard Sauce
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Drumsticks, cut into pieces
  2. 2 potatoes, cut in long slices
  3. 2 tablespoon mustard paste
  4. 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  5. Green chilies (optional)
  6. Salt, mustard oil and turmeric powder
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a kadahi.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they turn golden brown.
  3. Add the vegetables, salt, turmeric and saute well.
  4. Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes coverd with lid.
  5. Stir and cover the kadahi and cook for another 5 munutes.
  6. Once you start to stir, increase the heat and rigorously stir for another two minutes.
  7. Add the mustard paste and crushed garlic and stir.
  8. Add one glass of water and cover with the lid.
  9. Cook till the vegeatbles are cooked and you reach the required consistency.
  10. Adjust the salt and serve hot.
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Ridge Gourd

Summer has made its presence felt in this part of the world and though it is still officially spring, all the summer vegetables have entered our local markets. Personally, I am not very fond of summer. Uh.. do not get shocked. If you have not encountered Indian summer and that is too in its north-eastern parts, it is impossible to feel the pain. However, I must admit that summer has its own charms and own flavors. Especially, when the summer vegetables are still new and after having cauliflowers and cabbages for six months, summer vegetables like ridge gourds are welcoming sight. Today, I have cooked freshwater fish with freshly available ridge gourds. 

This is a simple dish with minimal preparations and almost without spices. Ridge gourd is a healthy vegetable with lots of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. In Ayurveda, the juice of ridge gourd is used in 

  • Treating the gastric mucosa.
  • Inducing emesis and reduce the symptoms of asthma.
  • Treating conditions of intestinal worm infestation.

This particular recipe of fish with ridge gourd is slow cooked with fried pieces of freshwater fishes without an ounce of water into it. The ridge gourd leaves juice once on the wok and the juice helps in cooking the fishes imparting a sweet flavor too. Both the taste of the gourd and fish complements each other making this dish a delicious one. 

Fish with ridge gourd is best served with plain steamed rice and dal fry. If you can lay your hands on a piece of lemon, squeeze few drops over the fish and attain nirvana.

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Ridge Gourd

Fish with Ridge Gourd

 

Fish with Ridge Gourd
A delicious side dish cooked with minimal ingredients and spices
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 ridge gourd, cut into thin slices.
  2. 2 pieces of rohu*. (Check note)
  3. 8-10 cumin seeds only.
  4. Mustrad oil
  5. Salt
  6. Turmeric powder
  7. Greecn chilies (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a wok and add oil.
  2. Now shallow fry the fish pieces and keep aside.
  3. In the same oil, add the cumin seeds and once they splutter, add the cut slices of gourds.
  4. Add salt and turmeric.
  5. Stir gently. Now cover the wok with a lid and simmer the gas.
  6. Cook for five minutes. Now, the gourd slices would release its juices.
  7. Add the fish, stir gently and cover again with the lid.
  8. Cook in low heat until the fish pieces soak all the juices of the gourds.
  9. Stir occasionally.
  10. Once the gourd lose all its juice, add some chopped chilies and stir.
  11. Adjust the salt and your dish is ready.
Notes
  1. * I use the rohu fish here but you can use any freswater fish to cook the dish.
  2. + Squeeze some lemon juice before serving if you like to have a tangy flavour in it.
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

Assamese Recipe: Green Jackfruit Curry | Kesa Kothalor Aanja

Every season brings the flavor with it and refreshes our taste buds. During these months when you are bored to death with the cauliflowers, cabbages and other winter vegetables, drumsticks, tender jackfruits bring the much-needed change of taste to our palates. 

Assamese Recipe Green Jackfruit Curry

Today’s recipe is the Green Jackfruit Curry. But before going to the recipe, let us know the health benefits of green jackfruit. 

 Health Benefits of Green Jackfruit

Assamese Recipe Green Jackfruit Curry

Jackfruits are indigenous to South East Asia, most specifically to India. There are lots of varieties of this fruit growing in this part of world and every variety is loved by people.

Jackfruits are can be termed as wonder fruits. They contain lots of essential nutrients like Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, Iron, Protein, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and carbohydrate. And all these benefits come without no or minimum fat content! It can be termed as one of the healthiest fruits in the world.

In Assam, both the ripe and green jackfruits are widely loved. But as the ripe ones are eaten raw, green jackfruits are often cooked in curry which can be savored with rice or roti. The recipe is simple and the only tough is work is to cut the whole fruit into small pieces.
Here we go!

Assamese Recipe Green Jackfruit Curry

Assamese Recipe: Green Jackfruit Curry

Assamese Recipe: Green Jackfruit Curry
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 green jackfruit, cut into cubes
  2. 3 mediam sized potatoes, cut into cubes
  3. Whole garam masala, for tempering
  4. 1 large onion, cut into thin slices
  5. 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  6. Mustard oil, salt and turmeric powder
Instructions
  1. Pressure cook the jackfruit and potato cubes for one whistle.
  2. Drain the water and keep the bolied cubes aside.
  3. Heat mustard oil in a wok.
  4. Once the oil reaches its smoking oint, temper it with the whole garam masala.
  5. Now add the onion slices and saute till they turn transculent.
  6. Now the add boiled cubes, salt, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Now lower the heat and cover the wok with a lid.
  9. Cook the jackfruits for 5 minutes in its own moisture like that.
  10. Now uncover the lid and stir.
  11. Repeat the process for two times.
  12. Once the boiled cubes are fried on all side and coated with the spice, increase the flame and stir for two minutes.
  13. Now add one and half glass of water.
  14. Let it boil and cover again with the lid.
  15. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until you get the desired consistency.
  16. Adjust the salt.
  17. Serve hot
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

 

 

Culinary Past of Cauliflower and the Assamese Recipe for Potato Cauliflower Fish Curry

The beauty of Assamese Cuisine lies in its simplicity. It uses minimal ingredients which are available in the season. These seasonal produces along with freshwater fishes make any Assamese dish delicious and full of health benefits. Take any vegetable which is available in the season and we Assamese will give you a fish curry. Typically, Assamese fish curry is not similar to other Indian fish curries which are often loaded with spices. Instead, we love to use the flavor of the used vegetable to bring out the taste of the fish. As a result, the curry is flavorful yet light on your stomach. Such a curry is potato cauliflower fish curry where every flavor is distinct yet they mingled to give you a delicious treat. 

Culinary past of Cauliflower and Assamese Recipe for Potato Cauliflower Fish Curry

 

Today’s recipe of potato-cauliflower fish curry is a common dish cooked during winters. As in Assam, the most flavourful cauliflowers are available only in winters, the potato-cauliflower fish curry is a must have item in winters. Of course, with the advent of supermarkets, you can have the vegetable now round the year but no one can beat the taste and flavor of a seasonal vegetable in its original season. 

Cauliflower is known to reduce the risk of lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancers. Recent research from the University of Hawaii reveals that it also provides important cardiovascular benefits.

Cauliflower is also a common produce of the kitchen gardens at every Assamese household during winters. My mother in law, who is a DIY diva, grown a huge batch of cauliflowers in her kitchen garden and as usual, when we went home for holidays, she supplied us the best cauliflowers in the town. After all, how can you get such a vegetable here in this concrete jungle of Guwahati?

But before going to the recipe, have you wondered about this beautiful vegetable once in your life? I mean, yes, we have been eating it since time immemorial but do you know the vegetable is not a native to India? My, my..now that’s a news! Isn’t it?

Culinary Past of Cauliflowers

Assamese Recipe for Potato Cauliflower Fish Curry

 

Cauliflowers are one of the most important winter vegetables in India. However, it is not native to India. Instead, the vegetable was introduced in India in 1822 only. It was a British import but unlike their importers, the vegetable refused to live Indian soil and mingled in Indian cuisine.

Cauliflower, one of the several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, has its origin in Cyprus. The first mention of cauliflower can be found in the writings of Pliny in the 1st century of the last millennium in his book Natural History. Next mention of the vegetable was in the 12th century in the writings of Arab Botanists Ibn al-Awwam and Ibn al-Baiter where they described its cultivation in Cyprus for more than 1000 years. It was introduced in Spain, Italy and then in France by the Arab merchants via Syria. (Source) Le Cuisinier françois (1651), one of the most influential cookbooks in early modern French cuisine, written by François Pierre La Varenne has the mention of cauliflower as chouxfleurs. The book that broke the monotony of Italian cuisine in France created such a sensation that cauliflower was immediately hailed as one of the most important vegetables on the royal palates. Cauliflower, along with the cookbook, revolutionized Medieval French Cuisine paving the path for the modern French cuisine. King Louis XIV took so much interest in this particular vegetable that his royal banquets were incomplete without a particular dish presenting cauliflowers in a rich sauce made with veal, ham, and cream, or as part of a stew of sweetbreads, mushrooms and foie grass, as reported by Menon, a food writer from 18th century.

Culinary past of Cauliflower and Assamese Recipe for Potato Cauliflower Fish Curry

In North America, this vegetable was introduced in the 16th century when immigrants from Europe flocked the country. Cauliflowers were a mere kitchen garden commodity in North America and although it was mentioned in American writings as early as the 1800s, it was only in the 1920s that the cauliflower was commercially cultivated.

The vegetable conquered the whole Europe and finally along with the British came to dominate the British Kingdom along with the Britons. It was the early 19th century when cauliflowers came to India as mere seeds with British farmers so that the officers had the convenience to eat this delicacy while ruling India. The imported seeds were first sown in the Company Bagh in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh under the supervision of Dr. Jemson, the then in-charge of the bagh. As in Britain, the crops are produced during May to July, the first sowing of the seeds of cauliflowers happened according to it. But as India is a tropical country and differs from Britain in geographical and climatic conditions, the result was devastating. The initial failures didn’t deter the company farmers from trying and they thought to adapt some introduced varieties for early production during warmer and humid conditions in the country. They experimented with the harvest season too and altered the sowing time to November- December when India has the colder season is needed to grow the best cauliflowers. This experiment resulted in success and soon the Indians too adapted the vegetable for its delicacy. Now the cauliflowers grown in India, typically known as Indian cauliflower, are different from cauliflowers grown in Europe. They are tolerant relatively hot and humid climate and mature very easily.

Assamese Recipe for Potato Cauliflower Fish Curry

Assamese recipe for potato cauliflower fish curry is easy to make. It doesn’t involve any spice except onions. You can add half a teaspoon of ginger paste but that is optional. Every vegetable used in the curry retains its flavors yet they give you a delicious treat by complimenting each other with the sweetness of fish. I have used tomatoes also in this dish but you can skip it altogether. 

 

 

Assamese Recipe of Potato Cauliflower Fish Curry
A delicious and light currry cooked with chunks of potato, florets of cauliflower and freshwater fishes. Goes excellent with plain rice.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whole cauliflower, cut into medium florets
  2. 2 potatoes cut into for halves
  3. 1 tomato cut into small pieces
  4. 4 pieces of any fish of your choice. (I used rohu fish here)
  5. 1 medium size onion cut into thin slices
  6. Green chillies (optional)
  7. Mustard oil
  8. Salt and turmeric powder
Instructions
  1. Fry the fishes and keep aside.
  2. Now add the onions in the same oil till they turn golden and soft.
  3. Add the cut vegetables, salt and turmeric and sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Cover the wok with lid for 2 minutes.
  5. Sauté for another 3 minutes and again cover it for 2 minutes.
  6. Repeat the process unless the vegetables are 3/4th cooked.
  7. Now add two glasses of water and fishes.
  8. Let the mix boil and cover with lid.
  9. Once the vegetables are fully cooked and the gravy thickens slightly, your curry is ready.
  10. Adjust the salt and garnish with coriander leaves.
Notes
  1. You can add half a teaspoon of ginger paste for extra flavor.
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

How to Make Assamese Bogorir Achar (Indian Jujube Pickle)

Winter season is finally preparing for its return journey as mango flowers are blooming everywhere. This is the season when flowers are blooming everywhere and the harshness of winter is retreating. This is also the season when Indian Jujubes or Bogori, as we call it in Assamese, are ripe. Indian Jujube trees are found everywhere in Assam and it is one of the most popular fruits in Assam. In a typical winter afternoon, you would find women and men alike devouring Indian Jujube salad or Bogori Kuta (Assamese) along with fresh coriander leaves, salt, green chilies and mustard oil. Eat it on a banana leaf and you would find nirvana in every bite of it. It is one of the delicacies that you must try in your visit to this awesome state, Assam. It is the season when you get to eat the Indian Jujube Pickle too!

 

Winters in India are busy affairs. We make pickles of everything that is available during winters. As you need to leave the pickled batches under the sun for continuous 10-12 days, it becomes a regular daily chore. Lines of pickle jars bathing under the sun is a common scene during winter in a regular Indian household. Cauliflowers, carrots, radish, elephant apple, star fruits, Indian Jujube, you name it and a jar will be handed to you. Among all the pickles that will water your mouth just with its aroma is Indian Jujube pickles. There is a saying that you can’t eat bogori alone as its aroma would give you away. Same thing goes with its pickle. A simple100-gramm pickle is enough to fill the whole house with its aroma. As it grows in abundance and ripens quickly, making pickle is one of the best things to preserve this little fruit for some more days.

 

Honestly, I have never taken the pickle making thing seriously. I hated the process as it takes so long to get the result and never paid any attention to the details. Ma, in spite of her busy schedule, would make batch after batch of various pickles at different seasons and I would be a mere spectator. It is after long when I found interest in pickles but it was late to learn or know every tiny detail about pickling. However, I do my best to try and make pickles out of seasonal things. This season, I tried my hands on Indian Jujube pickle for the first time. I feared to ruin it but much to my surprise, it turned quite well.

Please note that Indian Jujube can be pickled using two different methods, one sweet and the other one, sour. I made the sour one as I loved it more and hopefully will make the sweet one with the last batch of the season. But before going to the recipe, let us know the health benefits of Indian Jujube or bogori.

How to Make Assamese Bogorir Achar (Indian Jujube Pickle)

Health Benefits of Indian Jujubes

Indian Jujube or Chinese date or bogori is a native tree to South East Asia. It is said to be a native to Yunnan in China and thought to be migrated from there when north east India had mongoloid influx two millenniums ago.

The fruit of Indian Jujube tree has utmost commercial importance for its flavor and amazing health benefits. In one of the scientific studies, it was found that it has anti-cancerous properties and can fight a certain form of Leukemia. Here are the health benefits of Indian Jujube.

  • Improves immunity system.
  • Helps in maintaining good body weight.
  • Helpful in stress.
  • Good for the digestive system.
  • Have antioxidants,
  • Good for our skin.
  • Good for blood circulation.
  • Energy booster.

 

Recipe for Indian Jujube Pickle/Bogorir Achar

 

Indian Jujube Pickle/ Assamese Bogorir Achar
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Ingredients
  1. 30 Indian Jujubes
  2. 300 ml Mustard oil
  3. 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
  4. 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, crushed.
  5. Salt
Instructions
  1. Sundry the Indian Jujubes for 4-5 days.
  2. Once they are ready, wash them and pat dry.
  3. Now heat mustard oil in a pan.
  4. Once it receives smoking point, add the crushed fennel seeds and mustard seeds.
  5. Switch off the gas immediately.
  6. Add the jujubes and salt.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Let the jujubes sit till they cooled.
  9. Once cooled, bottle them.
  10. Put the jar in sunshine for another 10 days to get excellent result.
Notes
  1. Do not forget to stir them once a day so that all the fruits soak oil+spice mix.
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

Axomiya Payokh: Treat Your Valentine the Assamese Way This Year!

Ah! It is that time of the year when you can literally experience peaks of love everywhere. February is the month when you eagerly plan something special for your valentine, be it your husband/boyfriend/partner, children, friends or parents. So why not treat your valentine in the Assamese way this year? We all love to eat and share recipes and to try new cuisines. Surprise your loved ones with the Assamese recipe of Axomiya Payokh, a milk+rice pudding. The dish is healthy, easy and can be perfect as a dessert for your Valentine’s Day Party.

Axomiya Payokh: Treat Your Valentine the Assamese Way This Year!

Memories related with Axomiya payokh

There was a time when our birthdays meant luchi (Indian puffed bread) and payokh. The piping hot luchis accompanied by mildly sweet payokh was a must have combo for most of the parties in our childhood. Payokh held a great place in the culinary tradition of Assam. You arrange dinner for someone, cook payokh as desert, you are having some religious rituals, cook payokh and distributed among the devotees. Payokh is a dish that is held very high in our households.

I still remember when ma used to cook payokh during our childhood. My mother is an excellent cook and once she started cooking it, the aroma used to fill the house. As we came back from schools in the afternoon, one step inside our alley and our nose would tell that ma is cooking payokh for us. In the cold afternoons, it was a comfort smell and we would eagerly wait for ma to finish her cooking. One scoop of the payokh with piping hot luchis and our hungry tummies would sing the songs of summer. Now I cook payokh regularly but I would never be able to create that magic like ma. I think it was love that made those payokh special! 

Axomiya Payokh: Treat Your Valentine the Assamese Way This Year!

How to cook Axomiya Payokh

Though the payokh is easy to make and use minimal ingredients, it involves slow cooking and hence takes a lot of time. It is advisable to cook it beforehand to avoid the last minute rush. As I said, this is a dish which has to be cooked with much love and care. The dish can be made in large batches and can be refrigerated for two days. 

Axomiya Payokh needs only 4 ingredients to be specific, milk, rice, sugar and cardamom seeds. The dish is made by continuously stirring the milk with rice. Generally, Joha rice, an aromatic, indigenous rice found in Assam is used to make payokh but you can use any small grain rice for it. 

Ingredients of Axomiya Payokh

 

Here is the recipe for Axomiya Payokh. Let your loved ones taste something that speaks of love, only love!

 

Axomiya Payokh: The Perfect Valentine's Day Dessert
Serves 5
A perfect dessert to be cooked with love
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 litre full cream milk
  2. 1/2 litre water
  3. A handful of Joha or any small grain rice
  4. 1/2 cup regular sugar
  5. 2 large cardamoms
  6. Dry fruits for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Pour the milk and water in a deep based vessel.
  2. Bring it to boil.
  3. Once the milk+water boils, lower the heat and let it simmer.
  4. After 10 minutes, add the rice and stir continuously.
  5. Once the milk reduced to half, add the sugar and cardamoms and stir continuously.
  6. Cook till the rice is totally mixed with the milk and thickens like custard.
  7. Once done, garnish with dry fruits of your choice.
Notes
  1. The process takes one and half hour to two hours to make the perfect payokh. Stir continuously after every five minutes so that the rice doesnot stick to the botttom.
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

Assamese Style Mutton Curry | Cooked with Paanch Phoran

Assamese are generally fish loving folk. Give then fish at any point of the day and they will make you hundred different fish curry. But we do eat our meat too and have lots of recipes that involves meat. Among various meats, mutton curry and poultry come hand in hand. 

Assamese Style Mutton CurryAssamese non-vegetarian dishes are not over spicy and they do not give you the ‘heavy’ feeling after consumption. It is mainly because of the spices we use in our traditional Assamese style mutton curries. The most common spices that are used in an Assamese style mutton curry are ginger, garlic, onion, bay leaves, cumin powder, black pepper, chilies and occasional garam masalas. But according to my mother, she has never eaten a mutton curry with garam masala in her childhood. My mother grew up with her grandmother and our great granny had always followed her own recipe to cook mutton curry. Yes. You have guessed it right. My great grandmother used paanch phoran or Padkaune Masala, panch puran, panch phoran,  panch phutana in cooking the mutton curry.

My mother used the kitchen stories of her childhood as fairy tales when we were growing up. And this created an undying craziness to cook the recipes that my mother’s granny. Though I have met her granny but never got the chance to taste anything she cooked. Instead, I have been experimenting with her recipes since I can hold a ladle properly.

Here is the recipe of Assamese style mutton curry straight from my great-grandmother’s kitchen. I have modified according to my convenience. I feared that it won’t turn good but to my happiness, the curry was light, flavored with paanch phoran and just as my mother described. You can follow the step by step recipe to cook the curry and can substitute the paanch phoran with cumin powder+garam masala powder.

Recipe for Assamese Style Mutton Curry

 

Assamese Style Mutton Curry with Paanch Phoran
Serves 4
A traditional Assamese style mutton curry without widely used spices.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 kg mutton, cut in medium size and washed.
  2. 3 potatoes, cut in four halves.
  3. 4 onions, cut into thin slices.
  4. 1-inch ginger.
  5. 1 cloves of garlic.
  6. 1 tablespoon of paanch phoran.
  7. Mustard oil, salt, and turmeric powder, according to taste.
  8. 3 Green chilies (optional)
  9. Coriander leaves for garnishing.
Instructions
  1. Make a paste of ginger and garlic.
  2. Roast the paanch phoran and grind them into coarse powder.
  3. Now heat oil in a wok.
  4. Temper the oil with a half teaspoon of paanch phoran and add the slices of onion and chilies.
  5. lower the heat and saute the onions till they turn soft and translucent.
  6. Now add the mutton, salt, and turmeric and mix well.
  7. Cover the wok with a lid and let it cook for five minutes over low heat.
  8. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and add the ginger+garlic paste, potatoes, powdered paanch phoran and mix well.
  9. Cook the mutton covered for 20 minutes on low heat.
  10. Once the mutton leaves its rawness, bring the heat to fullest and fry continuously for another 5 minutes.
  11. Add 2 glasses of water to the fried mutton and let it boil. Cover the wok with the lid and cook for another 15 minutes in low heat. In this step, I generally transfer the mutton+water mix to a pressure cooker to save time. If you want to use the cooker, switch off the heat once it whistles two times.
  12. Once the mutton is done, mash most of the potatoes with the back of the ladle if you want the gravy thick. I leave the potatoes undisturbed and hence my curry was little runny.
  13. Garnish the curry with coriander leaves and eat it with rice or roti.
Adapted from My Great Grandmother's Kitchen
Adapted from My Great Grandmother's Kitchen
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

 

Shole-Mole: Radish Curry with Fish

Ok, I know you people are confused about the title of the blog post. What is sole-mole? Are not radishes only for salads? How can you cook radish with fish and that too in a curry? Well, dear friends, Assamese cuisine is full of such wonders that you won’t find in any other branches of Indian cuisine. 

We, Assamese, are a bunch people occupying one of the states in northeastern India. Our language is different and so do our culture and traditions. We juggle between tribal and Aryan customs and have developed our own cuisine. We are the proud nation that stopped the mighty Mughal invasion in this part of India for 17 times. We are one of the eldest inhabitants of India and our culture has endured several millennia. Assamese cuisine is known for its simplicity and flavours that is symmetrical to nature. We use lots of herbs, vegetables and fishes in our cuisine. It is one of the lesser-known branches of Indian cuisine that has yet to gain popularity among the masses. But still, there is Chef Vikash Khanna, who cooked one of our signature dishes called khar for the His Holiness Pope! 

One of the reasons to start this blog is to document the recipes that are confined to Assam only. Let me be very clear that I am no accomplished cook but I love my food and I love to read about food. But the internet is still full of lots of wrong information about our food and there is hardly any blog that has dedicated its space to this awesome cuisine. So, this blog is my humble attempt to write about our cuisine in its original avatar.

How to Make Traditional Assamese Recipe of Radish Curry with Fish

Sole-mole is a term widely used in winters in Assam. It means shol fish (Snakehead mural) with radish. According to Assamese traditions, shol fish tastes best with radish and as radishes are abundant in winters, this curry always remains in high demand. Radish is a root crop mainly used for salads but you can also make its stir-fry or curry as I have made this one. They are good for your health and can make a delicious curry with fish.

Here is the traditional Assamese Recipe for Radish Curry with Fish. I substituted shol fish with another one called bhangon but the taste was still awesome.

Radish curry with fish

Radish curry with fish

 

Radish Curry with Fish
A delicious and easy recipe
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 radishes
  2. 2 potatoes
  3. 4 pieces of fish of your choice
  4. 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  5. 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  6. Mustard oil, salt and turmeric powder
  7. Green chillies and corriander leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the radish and potatoes as seen in the picture 2.
  2. Heat oil in a wok. Add salt and turmeric into it.
  3. Fry the fish pieces and keep aside.
  4. Now fry the onions in the same oil till they turn soft.
  5. Add the radish and potatoes along with little salt and turmeric.
  6. Cook till they are half done on medium heat.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste and mix well.
  8. Now add one and half glass of water.
  9. Bring it to boil and add the fish.
  10. Cook till you get the required consistency.
  11. Adjust the salt and garnish with chillies and coriander leaves.
  12. Serve with plain rice.
Adapted from Traditional Assamese Recipe
Adapted from Traditional Assamese Recipe
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/