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/

 

 

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/

 

 

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/

The Path of Colours: Rongali, Showcase of A Destination Named Assam

 Assam, a state in India’s northeast part is an unexplored paradise. The state is home to 80% of endangered Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, Bengal Florican, Golden langur and much more such beautiful creatures. It is the only place where pygmy hog survives in the world. The tea that refreshes you every morning may have come from my state Assam as it produces 1/6th of the total tea cultivation in the world. We have the largest inhabited river island, Majuli and we are the proud group of people who has never bowed down to Mughal invasion. If we have the golden silk, Eri, Pat and Muga, we also have our Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park. We have the only dynasty in India that has ruled the region for 600 years without any break. We have the Brahmaputra, the 4th longest river in the world and we have Jatinga too. We have our Bhupen Hazarika and Kamakhya temple, the adobe of tantric Hinduism. We speak the modern Indian language which has the first Ramayana, translated into any modern Indian language. We are proud people with our own culture, festivals, and culinary tradition. We have more than 50 tribes that have agglomerated to make us the Bor Axom, The Greater Assamese Society. Each tribe has their own language, culture, deities, food habits and tradition but the thread that binds us is our language and the love we share with us.

But in spite of so much potentiality, Assam is one of the least explored destinations in India. Most of the tourists which come here go either to Kaziranga/Manas National Park or visit Kamakhya temple. But Assam is more than just two national parks and a temple. It is a place where you can go for angling tourism, culinary tourism, rural tourism, tea tourism, community tourism, river tourism and the list goes on. Unfortunately, three decades of political unrest has turned the grapes sour for our infrastructure and investment. But as the new millennium has turned 17 years old, things have changed for us. Entrepreneurs are coming forward and they are boosting our infrastructure too. Take ShyamKanu Mahanta, the prominent entrepreneur and the work he is doing for our state. He has single handily started the movement to popularize our culture in front of the world so that people can know what is going on in this part of the world. After the successful introduction of Shankardeva Movement and North East Festival in national circuit, he came with the idea to promote Assam as a tourist destination. His dream came true in the shape of Rongali: Destination| Culture| Harmony.

Rongali is the biggest event in the history of Assam that is organized to promote our culture and Assam as a destination. It is a one-stop event where you can witness Assam at its best. It showcases culture, traditions, and food of various ethnic groups of Assam. The festival is the bridge that connects you with some unexplored parts of Assam as a tourist destination.

This year, the third edition of Rongali was grander than its previous editions with more participants and more crowds. With provisions for aero sports, traditional boat race of Assam and a food challenge to promote traditional Assamese food, Rongali was at its best. Let’s have a look at the official trailer of Rongali, 2017

The major attractions of Rongali Festival, 2017, Assam

  • Showcase of the culture of various ethnic tribes of Assam
  • Live performance of various ethnic dance forms
  • Live Ankia Bhaona, the unique drama form of Assam.
  • Aero sports at the Brahmaputra river front.
  • Traditional sports of Assam
  • Display of mukha, the traditional masks from Majuli.
  • Traditional boat race at Digholipukhuri.
  • Traditional Assamese food challenge.
  • Musical events featuring the top DJs, rock bands and singers of India

Here are some of the snapshots of Rongali, 2017. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. So, let go through this one-of-its-kind experience called the Rongali, 2017 with some awesome snaps.

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Traditional Assamese Food Challenge at Rongali Festival, 2017, Assam

This year’s Rongali gave me so much to behold. As my regular readers know that I am on a mission to trace my culinary routes and preserve Assamese recipes. And when a place offers you to give glimpse of traditional Assamese food, you cannot miss the opportunity for life! Priyobandhu, a Guwahati-based social welfare society, has come up with the idea to throw a traditional Assamese food challenge where food enthusiasts showcased their culinary skills. The food challenge has three segments which showcased three different aspects of Assamese cuisine. Those segments were Traditional Assamese Sweet Dishes, Traditional Assamese Vegetarian Dishes, and Traditional Assamese NonVegetarian Dishes. The food challenge saw some of the most exquisite Assamese dishes which are often neglected.

According to Archie Borthakur, the chief functionary of Priyobandhu said, “The food challenge is an attempt to bring out the traditional foods of Assam. Recently, we have seen so much fusion of Assamese food which is slowly destroying our culinary traditions. Assamese food is always easy to cook and very healthy. This challenge is an attempt to popularize traditional Assamese recipes among masses and encourage the tourist to try our food.” The challenge was successful in terms of encouraging culinary connoisseurs to bring their best dishes and showcase them in front of an equally enthusiastic crowd. Some of the dishes that made to the food challenge are less known food like naangol dhoa pitha, jeng pitha, mogu dailor bor di thekera tenga, rongalau aru poka teteli di boralir jhol, bhedailotar aanja magur mas di, sandoh r logot hah koni bhoja, posola diya murgi mangsho, various tribal dishes and much more. The food challenge was a treat to foodies who had the fun to try various dishes that signifies Assamese Cuisine.

The food challenge also gave away to discussions among the food critics and enthusiasts about Assamese cuisine and how we can popularize it in front of the world. I love listening people talking about their food and it gave me immense pleasure as a food curator/blogger to learn new dishes from the foodies. Let’s have a look at those culinary wonders!

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/