Assam, the gateway to the northeast, is a valley of luscious vegetation, fascinating wildlife, and a delectable ground that provides some of irresistibly tempting delicacies. While culture and traditions reflect the essence of a region, Assam holds in its core, a spectacularly huge list, along with a confluence of delectable cuisines that reflect its richness and distinctive style from the rest of the world.
Every time you visit their kitchen, you will be enthralled by the aroma of wild herbs and spices whirling up to your senses. The Assamese meal thali or plate usually comprises of different herbs and leafy vegetables, chutney, pitika, fries, pickles, and sweets.
Let us take you on a trip to some of the relishing delicacies that would allure your gluttonous senses to commit another flavoursome sin as you scroll down:
> Starters aka Jolpan: The day starts with poita bhaat (Cooked rice soaked overnight) served with onion, lemon, salt and chilli. Followed by jolpan of different choices such as Cheera (flattened rice), muri or akhoi (puffed rice), pitha Guri (pound rice), handoh guri (fried pound rice), kumol chaul (rice boiled and dried) and bora chaul (sticky rice) is usually served with yogurt, milk and sugar or juggery.
> Fish curry: Fish serves as an important dish of the Assamese cuisine. Masor tenga (sour fish curry), fish cooked with a sourness taste, often with outenga (elephant apple) or patot diya maas (steamed or baked fish), wrapped in banana leaves and baked, is often served with mustard paste for a meal.
> Khar: Khar khua axomiya, holding the literal meaning for the signature dish of the Assamese community, is a detoxifying appetizer. The khar or soda is prepared by burning stem of a banana tree or by roasting and soaking banana peels. The khar is also mixed with mustard paste to prepare Kharoli, a kind of chutney.
> Pitika: The easiest and convenient way to cover up a meal when you are not in the mood to cook. Of course, this is one of the most accepted preparations that is seldom rejected by people when offered. Pitika is a mash of various ingredients like potato, tomato, brinjal or other vegetables grilled or boiled and mixed with mustard oil, onion, chili, coriander, ginger or garlic.
> Khorisa: Khorisa is a pickle prepared from grated bamboo shoots preserved with mustard oil, salt, and chili. Khorisa is also used as a flavoring agent in preparing meat or fish curry.
> Herbs and leafy vegetables: The Assamese meal plate is never complete without the mention of herbs and leafy vegetables, boiled or fried alongside. If you visit an Assamese house, don’t forget to grab the exotic taste of leafy vegetables like dhekiya, laai xaak (spinach), moricha, khutura xaak, or of wild herbs like bhedai lota, changmora, bet gaz, and more.
> Sunga chaul: It is a traditional method mostly circulated in the villages during winters. Rice placed on bamboo stems is roasted in a bonfire. The cooked rice is brought out of the bamboo stem and served hot with meat or fish. Sunga chaul is generally a special catch during the “feast of new rice”.
> Duck or pigeon curry: Duck or pigeon curry is considered as authentic cuisines of the Assamese tradition. The dish is generally cooked with a meagre amount of oil and spices including cumin seeds, bay leaves, coriander, cardamom, ginger, garlic, etc. Duck curry, which is a signature dish of the Assamese culture, is often cooked with kumura (white gourd).
> Sewa diya bhaat: Bora chaul (sticky rice) soaked in water is steamed. The cooked rice is then served with yogurt or chicken curry.
> Polu leta: Polu Leta (silk cocoon) is first boiled and removed from its shell. The boiled cocoon is then fried and served with the meal.
Besides these scrumptious delicacies, other succulent sweets and desserts include, narikal laru (coconut laddoo), til pitha, ghila pitha, etc. Also don’t forget to wrap up your day with a rich taste of Haaz or Rohi or take that winey taste of Judima.