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: Fish with Coriander-Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven

Let me admit, I devour fishes. Some may say that they do not like the smell but for me, it is the most appetizing smell when someone is frying fishes. I just love them. But when it comes to my favorite fish recipe, nothing can beat this awesome fish in the coriander-mustard sauce recipe. It is an easy to cook recipe and does not involve much time. As half of the recipe’s work can be done ahead and can be kept in the freezer, this can be a suitable meal in busy weekdays. And the recipe is suitable for microwave cooking and that means you can set it in the oven and take a power nap before the dinner or can cook it while you are setting up the dining table. Here is a recipe for busy moms and dads who want to cook something special for their families in busy days. A simple recipe to cook fish with coriander & mustard sauce in the microwave oven.

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven

Fish with Coriander-Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven

The recipe is easy and can be cooked with any fish. I, however, have used chitol fish in this particular dish. Chitol or Indian Featherback/ Clown Knifefish (Chitala chitala) is a native fish species to South East Asia and easily available in Ganga and Brahmaputra river basins. The fish is full of thorns but its flavour is so good that chitol is considered a delicacy in both India and Bangladesh. This fish is full of vital vitamins and minerals. 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven

While preparing the sauce, I have used both coriander and long corianders to intensify the fragrance. The sauce can be made in batches and kept in freezer, so you need not to worry about your time every time you want to have this delicious fish recipe. 

Pictorial Guide to Cook Fish with Coriander-Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Ingredients of Fish with Coriander-Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Pour raw mustard oil in a microwave bowl

 

Put the mustard paste over it

 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Put the fishes over the first layer

 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Add the coriander paste over the fishes

 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Pour water until the fishes submerge

 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Put it into the microwave oven for 8 minutes on high

 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander- Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Fish with coriander-mustard sauce is ready!

 

Assamese Recipe: Fish with Coriander-Mustard Sauce in Microwave Oven
Serves 4
A delicious and easy to cook fish recipe
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. Fish of your choice, cut and cleaned.
  2. 50 grams Coriander leaves with stems.
  3. 10-12 small cloves of garlic.
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons of mustard paste.
  6. Green chilies (optional)
  7. 2 tablespoons raw mustard oil.
  8. Salt according to taste.
  9. Water
Instructions
  1. Fry the fishes in mustard oil with little salt and a pinch of turmeric.
  2. Make paste of coriander leaves, garlics, onions and chilies.
  3. Now, take a microwave compatible bowl and pour the two tablespoons of mustard oil.
  4. Add the musatrd paste covering every inch of the bowl.
  5. Add the fishes.
  6. Now cover the fishes with the coriander paste.
  7. Add water till the fishes submerge and salt according to your taste.
  8. Cook it in a microwave at high for 8 minutes.
  9. Adjust the salt and serve hot.
Notes
  1. Garnish with some fresh coriander leaves!
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Adapted from Assamese Cuisine
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

 

 

A Trip to Manas National Park!

Manas National Park has always been our family’s first love. After all, I met my better half here and we spent three long years after our marriage near the park. Though we bade adieu to Barpeta Road, the nearest transit town to Manas but we never said farewell to Manas. Instead, we carried it with us. In our heart. Eventually, Neel, my son came and the return to the park was postponed for several times. Though we traveled and visited other places, our hearts longed to visit Manas. We chatted with each other, hubby and I and sighed to show the places at Manas to our son, who is equally enthusiastic for road trips and vacations. 

 

Manas National Park

 

Finally, the first week of March gave us the much-needed trip to Manas. All three of us were excited about it and the whole journey was filled with laughter and squeals about the destination. We took jungle safari, spotted lots of wildlife, mingled with fringe villagers, and spent our time with the river generously. Neel played with the river while my better half introduced him to it and the jungle. After all, we never left Manas, we carry it in every day of our life. 

As the day we spent in Manas was a rainy one, peacocks were everywhere, waiting for the mates. We spotted swamp deer, sambar, wild elephants, wild buffalos, and rhinos. But the stars of the day were the birds. Hundreds of birds too graced us with their presences. If you want to visit this amazing place, here is the needed information.

Where is Manas National Park?

Manas National Park, situated in the Himalayan foothills near the Indian-Bhutan border, is a World Heritage Site. As they say in Manas, if you want to explore the wild, come here! Crowned with as many as five conservation statuses, Manas is home to  61 species of mammals, 354 species of birds, 42 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibian, 79 species of fish and more than 187 species of butterfly and 100 species of invertebrates. It has more than 600 species from plant kingdom making it one of the suitable habitat of wildlife wonders.

The park boasts of having the largest number of Scheduled-I species than any other Protected Areas (PAs) in India. It is home to 21 species of mammals which are highly endangered. Among these 21 species, 3 are restricted to only Manas and its immediate locality. They are Golden Languor, Pygmy Hog, and Hispid hare, which are exclusively endemic to the Manas National Park. All three animals are also included in the critically endangered list of the IUCN Red Data Book. World’s 80% of endangered Bengal Florican resides at Manas. It is also home to Wild Buffalos and Asiatic Elephants, Assam Roof Turtle etc.

The park is divided into three main ranges and several bits for monitoring and protection. The main ranges are… Bahbari (central range), Panbaari (western range) and Bhuyapara (eastern range).

 

How to Reach Manas National Park?

Manas is best reached by roadways and railways. It is situated 176 KM far from Assam’s capital city, Guwahati. Well connected by roads and railways, the nearest transit town and railway station is Barpeta Road. Barpeta Road also has the Field Director’s office, Manas National Park. The central range of Manas National Park, Bahbari is situated 22 KM away from Barpeta Road. The nearest airport is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Borjhar, Guwahati.

What is the Best Time to Visit Manas National Park?

The best time to visit Manas National Park is from October to April.

Manas National Park

Accommodation and Safari cost at Manas National Park

There are several private as well as Govt resorts at Bahbari and Bhuyapara ranges where you can stay and take a safari to Manas National Park. The packages start from 3,500 Indian Rupees. 

If you want to know tidbit of life at Manas National Park, here is a blog that documents everything about this destination by my better half.

What to see at Manas National Park

Manas is home to 61 species of mammals, 354 species of birds, 42 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibian, 79 species of fish and more than 187 species of butterfly and 100 species of invertebrates. It has more than 600 species from plant kingdom making it one of the suitable habitat of wildlife wonders.
The park boasts to have the largest number of Scheduled-I species than any other Protected Areas (PAs) in India. It is home to 21 species of mammals which are highly endangered. Among these 21 species, 3 are restricted to only Manas and its immediate locality. They are Golden Languor, Pygmy Hog and Hispid hare, which are exclusively endemic to the Manas National Park. All three animals are also included in the critically endangered list of the IUCN Red Data Book. World’s 80% of endangered Bengal Florican resides at Manas. It is also home to Wild Buffalos and Asiatic Elephants, Assam Roof Turtle etc.
You can do-
1. Jungle Safari
2. River Rafting
3. Village tracking
4. Enjoy Traditional Dance
5. Relish Traditional Food
6. Enjoy Assam Tea and many more…..
 
Contact number

Head Quarter Beat at Barpeta Road for Tourism Contact
Mr. Kripa Nath Forester-I
Phone number-+91 73998 62555 

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/

Kolakhar: Saga of Well-Being | Health Benefits of Banana Trees

Assamese Cuisine totally depends upon the ingredients that are available in our surroundings and hence totally nature-dependent. Assamese recipes are harmonized with seasonal produces and often include dishes that help us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of such natural produce is the banana tree. The banana tree is an integral part of Assamese culture and cuisine. No Assamese rituals are complete without banana leaves. Assamese people have always known the health benefits of banana tree parts and we have been using them extensively.

Assamese rural life is unimaginable without banana trees. Almost every household has a koloni/kolbari or banana garden where different types of bananas are planted and nurtured. Forget the health benefits of a banana tree, bananas are a good source of income. Mere 10-12 banana trees can give you good money if you can treat them well. There is an Assamese saying that goes,

তিনিশ ষাঠীজোপা ৰুবা কল,
মাহেকে পষেকে চিকুনাবা তল ।
পাত পছলা লাভত পাবা,
লংকাৰ বনিজ ঘৰতে পাবা ।।

Which means, Plant 360 banana trees and nurture them at every fortnight: You will get the whole chest full of gold at home along with banana leaves and posola for free.

Banana leaves are used in community feasts in villages in lieu of disposable plates which makes us Assamese very eco-friendly and sustainable with nature. It is interesting to note that not a single part of a banana tree is discarded in Assam. From its flowers to roots, everything of banana trees is beneficial to human body. Let’s take a look at various usages of Banana tree parts.

Health Benefits of Banana Trees

Health Benefits of Banana Tree Parts

Banana flowers

Banana flowers are called koldil in Assamese. They are a good source of iron and calcium. The tender flowers are often cooked as fries or in a potato-lentil based gravy. It can also be eaten as fritters.

Banana stems

Banana stems are called posola in Assamese and they are one of the most popular delicacies of Assamese Cuisine. It is cooked as gravy with or without small fishes. You can also make a posolar khar with it. The health benefit of banana stems is that it removes excess uric acid from our bodies and maintains it at a normal level.

Banana fruits

Banana fruits are one of the most favorite fruits in the world. Assam houses many indigenous species of banana which yields tasty fruits. Some of the local species of bananas which are found in Assam are maalbhog, baratmoni, ketekikhunda, manohar, jurmoni, aathiya kol, Seni Champa, jahaji etc. Bananas are full of antioxidants, nutrients like potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, protein, carbohydrates, water, vitamins etc. Bananas help to moderate blood sugar level, improve digestive health and help to lose weight.

Banana leaves

As I mentioned earlier, Assamese people often use banana leaves to eat meals. Banana leaves contain chlorophyll and the food consumed on it helps to mend any internal damage of our digestive system. It can also be used as first aid if you cut somewhere. Just make a paste of banana leaves and treat your cut with it. Assamese cuisine use banana leaves extensively to make dishes called patot diya. It is a method of cooking where you cook fish/vegetables wrapped in banana leaves.

Health Benefits of Banana Trees

Khar

Kalakhar or Khar is one of the unique things that truly signify Assamese Cuisine. Kharkhowa Axomiya, as we fondly call ourselves, means Khar eating Assamese. Khar is produced from the ashes of burnt banana stems or banana peels of aathiya kol (M. Balbisiana).

The procedure to make khar

Kolakhar making process is very traditional. The first step of making khar involves collection of a matured and healthy tree of aathiya kol. It is then cut into pieces and sun dried for 10-15 days. After complete drying, the pieces were burned into ashes and sieved. After collecting the ashes, pure water is filtered through it. The modified water is called khar.

Health Benefits of kolakhar

Khar is used as food additive in Assamese cuisine widely. Various vegetables are cooked using khar which marks the first dish of an Assamese thali. It is known to cleanse your stomach curing digestive disorders. Use of kolakhar as soaps and detergent for washing clothes and hair is a well-known practice in villages. Kolalhar is traditionally used by farmers to kill leaches and cure as well as prevent certain cattle diseases.

 

How to Cook Simple Vegetable Pulao in Pressure Cooker

The first cookbook that I have ever read is the Hawkins cookbook. Ok, it’s not a regular cookbook with fancy pictures but just the user’s manual for Hawkins pressure cooker with some Indian and continental recipes. Every household in my place owns more than one pressure cooker. It seems that our kitchens are incomplete without them. And the brand that I have only seen is Hawkins. You need to cook rice, put in a pressure cooker, you need to cook lentils or eggs or steam vegetables, put it into a pressure cooker. And every cooker from Hawkins comes with the mandatory users’manual with some easy to cook recipes. These one pot meal recipes were taken from different parts of India and abroad. They also provided a list of spices and food terms and it was my handy companion to know what people are cooking. Well, I came to know the difference between soup and stew from Hawkins users’ manual only otherwise, where else a teenager girl from an almost village-like town can learn about continental food?

To say that I loved the manual will not be sufficient. I adored the manual. It was my door to the world where the same ingredients were described to be cooked in various cuisines. It was my first encounter with the world of food and it intrigued me to learn more about the food. Our food shows were limited to a one-hour weekly program of Tara Dalal at that time and I used to stare at the cover of the manual to learn how they decorate the food. I still remember to insist my mother cook from any recipe just like the manual had.

The first thing that I loved about the recipes in Hawkins manual is that the instructions were given to cook food in the pressure cooker as well. Till now, I remain sucker of quick and one pot meal recipes. That manual taught me to cook so many dishes that I have lost its count. I can still imagine me going through pages after pages to read more and more about cuisines from other parts of the world.

How to Cook Simple Vegetable Pulao in Pressure Cooker

When I learned to cook, the first thing that I tried from the Hawkins manual was pulao. Pulao is an Indian dish which is basically herb and spice infused rice on your plate. Depending on the availability, the ingredients of the pulao can be varied from one dish to another.

Although you can cook any pulao in your Hawkins pressure cooker, I prefer to cook vegetarian pulao in it. It takes hardly 7 minutes to cook veg pulao in a pressure cooker. Here is the recipe that I use to cook pulao in cooker. This pulao can be eaten with any curry of your choice. It is a wholesome meal and comes quite handy when you are tired or busy to cook a full meal.

 

Simple Vegetable Pulao in Pressure Cooker
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup basmati rice
  2. Whole spices
  3. Two large size onions
  4. 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste
  5. Vegetables of your choice, diced and cubed
  6. Ghee/oil, and salt
Instructions
  1. Wash and soak the rice for atleast 30 miutes.
  2. Now heat ghee in pressure cooker.
  3. Temper the oil with whole spices.
  4. Now fry the onions (cut into thin slices) till they turn soft.
  5. Add the vegetables, salt and ginger garlic paste and saute till the masals leave their raw smell.
  6. Add the rice and stir well.
  7. Add required water and close the lid of the cooker.
  8. Bring it to full pressure and keep for five minutes.
  9. Now switch off the heat and release the steam.
  10. Your pulao is ready in no time.
Notes
  1. You can add dry fruits along with the vegetables.
Adapted from Hawkins Pressure Cooker Manual
Adapted from Hawkins Pressure Cooker Manual
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/

Chicken Dry Fry with Potatoes and Spring Onions

I love winters.  In this part of the world, winter means traveling, spicy food, steaming cup of tea and lot more chit chat. Winters mean to sit leisurely under the sun and having oranges or berries. Winters mean picnics and fun. Winters mean pickles and jams.  The markets are now flooded with seasonal produce and it needs a good deal of time to choose what to bring home and what not. An abundant ingredient which is now easily available is piyajkoli or spring onions. 

Spring onions or green onions are young onions and are available in winters. They have long green tubes and whitish green bulb. Both the tubes and bulb are edible and has a milder taste than that of onions. They can be easily cooked and add sweetness to any dish. They are good sources of anti-oxidants, Vitamin C and K and loaded with antibacterial and antiviral properties. 

Easy Chicken Dry Fry Recipe with Potatoes & Spring Onions

Yesterday, the husband brought a good deal of spring onions on his weekly shopping of vegetables. I was thrilled and planned to have them with everything. However, the first dish that I made today with these green wonders is a chicken dry fry for dinner. The recipe is simple, easy and delicious. Here you go..

Chicken Dry Fry with Potatoes & Spring Onions
Serves 3
A simple and easy chicken recipe. Here the chicken is not marinated as it needs to absorb the flavour of spring onions during the cooking.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. Chicken, cut in medium pieces- 300 gram
  2. Onions, roughly chopped- 4
  3. Spring onions, chopped into medium size- 12 to 15
  4. Poatoes, cut in 4 halves- 4 large size
  5. Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tablespoon
  6. Cumin powder- 1 tablespoon
  7. Mustard oil
  8. Salt, according to taste
  9. Turmeric powder
  10. Whole spices for tempering- Chinamon stick, green cardamom and clove
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a wok.
  2. Temper the oil with whole spices.
  3. Now fry thonions till they turn soft and transculent.
  4. Add the chicken, salt, turmeric and mix well. Lower the heat and cover with lid.
  5. After 5 minutes, add cumin powder, ginger garlic paste and mix well.
  6. Cook till the chicken is half done.
  7. Add the potatoes, spirng onions and cook till they are done.
  8. Adjust the salt and your chicken dry fry is ready.
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

Culinary Past of Bamboo Shoots and How To Make Bamboo Shoots Pickle

Culinary Past of Bamboo Shoots and How To Make Bamboo Shoots Pickle

 ‘Bamboo is sort of grass.”

“What?” I reacted as I about took a big bite of chicken cooked in bamboo shoots. The sentence, “I love bamboo shoots” will be the understatement of this year as I devour bamboo shoots. As I was recovering from the shock, my cousin continued with her knowledgepedia.

“Yes. It is not only a grass but also the tallest grass in the world. Oh God! The times when I ridiculed my vegetarian friends that they eat grasses are coming back to me!”

“I can’t believe! Since when we are eating this species of grass by the way?”

“Ummm..I don’t know. I think I need to dig more books.”

This little scene was from early years when I recently learned to try different food items. The town where I grew up was not fond of bamboo shoots but I loved it. The smell, when you opened the jar of bamboo shoots pickle, manages to tickle my taste buds at any point in time. Since I love to dig the culinary history of my food, this “we-are-eating-grass-as-bamboo-shoots” remained alive in my memory. It was years later when I dig up bamboo shoots’ history.

A Little History of Bamboo Shoots

Bamboos are the fastest growing plants in the world. They belong to the Bambusoideae subfamily of grass. Bamboos are the indispensable part of many Asian cultures including my native one. The rural scenario of Assam (a north-eastern state of India) is incomplete without bamboos. From huts to fencing, from bed to sofa, from music instrument to decorative pieces, we Assamese rely so much on bamboos.

The young sprouts of a bamboo are widely consumed as food all over the world. It is widely used in cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Burmese, Vietnamese, Nepalese, and Assamese etc. The earliest proof of bamboo shoots as food dates back to Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) of China. Literature from this period often mentions the benefits of eating bamboo shoots. An important literature from Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) has exclusive chapter briefing various medicinal and nutritional benefits of bamboo shoots.

Culinary Past of Bamboo Shoots and How To Make Bamboo Shoots Pickle

Nutritional Value of Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots can satisfy your taste buds and improve your health in the process.

High in dietary fibre

Bamboo shoots are a good source of dietary fibres and hence are very beneficial for people who want to lose weight.

Low in calories

Another score for this superfood! One serving of bamboo shoots contain only half a gram fat and 13 calories but 2 grams of protein.

Excellent source of minerals

Bamboo shoots are an excellent source of minerals like potassium and it helps to control blood pressure.

Enriched with Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are natural substances that help to fight various diseases. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Eat Bamboo Shoots

In Japan, bamboo shoots are considered as the king of forest vegetables. It is a common ingredient that is widely used in many Asian cuisines. In Assamese cuisine, bamboo shoots are called khoricha and it is one of our signature dishes. It is believed that the people who migrated to Assam before the last millennium from the heartland of South Asia brought this food habit.  You go to any discussion on Assamese food, the talk is incomplete without mentioning kharicha. Khoricha can be eaten alone as a pickle, with mashed potatoes, boiled fish or with meat. The choice is yours!!

Recipe of Bamboo Shoots Pickle

Bamboo Shoots Pickle
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Ingredients
  1. 2 young sprouts of bamboo
  2. Half a cup lemon juice
  3. Salt, according to taste
Instructions
  1. 1. Grate the bamboo shoots.
  2. 2. Soak the whole grated bamboo shoots in water with lemon juice atleast for 3 hours.
  3. 3. Drain the water and your kharicha is ready.
  4. 4. Keep it in air dry container and add some salt and chili (optional).
  5. 5. Do not forget to keep the container in sun once a week.
Notes
  1. This pickle can be added to already cooked items like lentils, fish and chicken to enhance the taste.
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/

The Ultimate Guide to Make Homemade Smoked Fish

The Ultimate Guide to Make Homemade Smoked Fish

Since time immemorial, Human beings have learned and still practicing the art of food preservation. In his book, From Volga to Ganga, Rahul Sanskritayen has beautifully described the struggle of mankind to secure food and to claim a hold on the stock of the edible items. Earlier, the food was preserved for a very short period. As the men learned the use of fire, they also evolved to keep their hard earned food for the longer time. Smoked fish or meat is such a dish that has been practiced since men learned the use of fire. Across the globe, smoking was the key method to preserve the meat and fish for a long time before the invention of the refrigerator. Now, when we have the luxury of refrigerators in our homes, smoked fish has somehow become an exotic dish that is prepared to show your culinary skills.

The recipe for making smoked fish is simple. The fishes are cleaned and salted before drying it up slowly. The slow drying will ensure that the fish shed every drop of moisture in it and thus making it free from bacteria culmination. The salt and smoke would make a product that is suitable for preservation for a long time.

Today, I will share two methods of making smoked fish at home, first the traditional one and one that uses an electric smoker.

Recipe: Smoked Fish

Preparation Time: 2-3 hours

Cooking Time: Depends on the Method

Ingredients:

  • Fish of any choice
  • Salt
  • Crushed black peppers
  • Worcestershire sauce (optional)

The Ultimate Guide to Make Homemade Smoked Fish 

How to Cook Smoked Fish Traditional Way

  • Marinate the fishes in sauce, pepper, and salt for at least two hours.
  • Now on a fireplace, place a rack that is fireproof.
  • Place the fish and light the fire.
  • Remember to keep the flames low or the fishes will be burnt.
  • Keep altering the sides so that whole fish is smoked evenly.
  • The process will take 12-24 hours depending on the size of the catch.
  • Once smoked, place them in an airtight jar.
how to make smoked fish at home
The pic was clicked by one of fellow Foodie, Jacky Pasha Zaman

How to Cook Smoked Fish in Electric Smoker

If you do not have access to the fireplace where you can make smoked fish, do not worry. You can easily use an electric smoker to prepare your smoked fishes. Here is the step by step guide to using an electric smoker to cook smoked fish.

  • Marinate the fishes as stated above.
  • Now take a heatproof rack and place your fish evenly.
  • Preheat your smoker to 93˚C/200˚F.
  • Fill the water pan of the smoker as instructed by the company.
  • Now place the rack and smoke the fishes for 3 hours at 90˚-95˚C/ 175˚-200˚F

The picture is a property of Jacky Pasha Zaman and is used here with due permission.

 

Homemade Smoked Fish
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. Fish of any choice
  2. Salt
  3. Crushed black peppers
  4. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. How to Cook Smoked Fish Traditional Way
  2. Marinate the fishes in sauce, pepper, and salt for at least two hours.
  3. Now on a fireplace, place a rack that is fireproof.
  4. Place the fish and light the fire.
  5. Remember to keep the flames low or the fishes will be burnt.
  6. Keep altering the sides so that whole fish is smoked evenly.
  7. The process will take 12-24 hours depending on the size of the catch.
  8. Once smoked, place them in an airtight jar.
  9. How to Cook Smoked Fish in Electric Smoker
  10. If you do not have access to the fireplace where you can make smoked fish, do not worry. You can easily use an electric smoker to prepare your smoked fishes.
  11. Here is the step by step guide to using an electric smoker to cook smoked fish.
  12. Marinate the fishes as stated above.
  13. Now take a heatproof rack and place your fish evenly.
  14. Preheat your smoker to 93˚C/200˚F.
  15. Fill the water pan of the smoker as instructed by the company.
  16. Now place the rack and smoke the fishes for 3 hours at 90˚-95˚C/ 175˚-200˚F
Notes
  1. Perfect for winters.
Foodie On The Road http://foodieontheroad.com/