Assam is the northeastern state of India. It is known for its tea and silk. Assamese cuisine is characterized by scarce use of spice, cooking over fire, and use of fresh or dried exotic fruits and vegetables due to which the dishes are filled with strong flavour. Assamese food includes very unique ingredients like “banana peel’ ash extract” and “mangosteen”. Their way of cooking includes hills as well as plains. There is plenty of fermented food and fresh produce.
Typically the Assamese cuisine consists of rice with dal (lentils), Masor Jool (fish stew), Mangxo (meat stew), and stir fry vegetables. Their traditional meal is made of Khar (banana peel ash extract), dishes with elephant apples and fiddlehead ferns. Assamese food is quite distinctive and of course scrumptious. Here are a few to make your mouth water:
Most Famous Food of Assam
Again, Khar is banana peel ash extract. It is an exotic liquid strained from sun-dried banana skin and cooked with a seasonal vegetable like papaya, water gourd or mustard greens. It is one of the most popular and easy-to-cook dishes that are relished as a starter. The dish has health benefits and is considerably beneficial for digestion.
Masor Tenga is an integral traditional Thali. It is light and tangy and is also known as tangy fish curry. It incorporates the sourness of kokum and tomatoes and the amazing flavour of fried fish. Savour the Masor Tenga with a bowl of rice and crispy eggplant fritters.
Duck with Kumura (White Gourd)
This recipe of duck meat cooked with ash gourd is quite special and is generally served on special occasions and festivals like Bihu. Locally called “Haa”, duck is one of the most popular meat served in Assam. Ash gourd is the choice of the ingredient as its natural aroma goes well with the duck. This dish is usually Picante but very delicious.
Assamese Jolpan is usually served in the festivities of Bihu. Jolpan consist of various forms of rice like rice flakes, puffed rice and roasted rice with curd and Jaggery.
Bora are fried ball of mashed lentils or gram. It may contain green leafy vegetable called Xaak and it best served with tamarind curry or dip.
Pitha is also one of the special dishes that are served on Bihu. It is usually made with soaked and ground rice. They could be fried in oil, roasted over a slow fire or baked.
Also known as, Nyonya Noodle with fish broth is a sour and fiery hot noodle dish with fresh vegetables bathed in fish broth. With the perfect combination of tartness and spicy flavour, Assam Laksa is arguably the staple street hawker food.
As delicious as all the savoury food sounds. Assam has an even bigger variety of mouth-watering desserts. These desserts also have an equal amount of Assamese uniqueness.
Bora Chaulor Payas
This dish consists of milk, sticky rice, bay leaves, and cardamoms. This has a sweet taste to it and is thick in texture. It is a very commonly eaten dessert in Assam.
Komolar kheer, also known as orange Kheer, is a classic dessert in Assam. It has a unique taste in a good way. It consists of milk, almonds, sugar, and orange pulp which gives it a refreshing twist.
Narikol Pitha is Assamese sweetened coconut fried Pitha. This delicacy is prepared during festive occasions. Grated fresh coconut is mixed with sugar and caramelized and then mixed with flour and milk, and deep-fried to prepare this super delicious delicacy.
Pitha is a different kind of bread or cake made in Assam. Xutuli Pitha is a fried dumpling stuffed with sesame seeds and a pinch of sugar in it. It is one of the most popular Pitha in the state. Fun fact, its name “Xutuli” came from a musical instrument.
This dessert is one of the specials of Assam. It is a delicious rice pudding. Rice is the main ingredient in the dish. It can be made in various forms by adding different flavours. This delicacy is healthy as it involves no oil or ghee.
Qubani Ka Meetha
This particular dessert is made with dried apricots. It consists of thick soup topped with almonds along with Malai.
Rava Ladoo is a quick yet delicious recipe which requires only a few ingredients like semolina, milk or ghee, coconut, and nuts. It was the most common dish prepared in the northeastern states. It doesn’t require any special expertise to make it.
Tekeli is a different kind of Pitha, consisting of both Xaali and bora saul with a mixture of coconut, sugar, and milk powder. Ground cardamom and dried orange is also included in the recipe sometimes, to give it a refreshing and unique taste.
Chak Hao Kheer
Chak hao kheer is a black rice pudding, an authentic Assamese divine delicacy, made of forbidden black rice and sugar. This black rice has a very unique flavour and is nutty in taste and texture. Also, this rice is very aromatic and flavourful. Black rice is full of healthy fibers and proteins, and low in calories. It is a great food to consume for weight loss and a healthy diet.
Tel Pitha is available in many varieties varying from sweet to mint, but in Assam, it is usually consumed as a dessert. It is a snack in which rice powder is the main ingredient. The dessert can be made from ingredients easily available in homes, but the process can keep you waiting for long hours before you can taste this scrumptious delicacy. As the batter has to fermented overnight and then deep-fried till the appearance turns brown in colour.
Assamese cuisine works with different tried and tested ingredients and cooking techniques. A unique characteristic of the food in this region is the combination of vegetables with fish or meat for many of the traditional recipes. This draws attention to the complexity of flavours and textures the Assamese understand and use to create an intriguing mix of dishes that could be known as soulful foods.