Nirmala January 21, 2018

1. Ghugni :

Ghugni is an evening snack in Eastern India (Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Orissa). Black gram (Kala Chana) or dried yellow peas or dried white peas is cooked with gravy, in the traditional eastern Indian style. It is then served with kurmura (puffed rice), and at times with hot onion pakoda/bhajiya.

2. Pura :

Assamese version of smoked or barbecue. Different types of meat and fish are often served in this form.

3. Roti :

Roti is generally an Indian bread, made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is also consumed in parts of South Africa, the southern Caribbean, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname, and Fiji. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Indian naan bread, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread. A kulcha in Indian cuisine is a bread-like accompaniment, made of processed flour (Maida) leavened with yeast.

4. Pokori :

Fritter is made of flower and tender leaves of pumpkin, tender leaves of bottle gourd, eggplant, tender leaves of Night-flowering Jasmine, etc.

5. Rice :

Rice is the most important ingredient in this cuisine. The large varieties of rice found in the region has led to speculation that the grain was first domesticated in the Assam- Yunnan region. Both the indica as well as the japonica varieties are grown in Assam. The most popular class of rice is the joha or scented rice. As a staple diet rice is eaten either steam boiled (ukhua) or sundried (aaroi). Some very fine quality of rice namely, Karaballam or kauribadam etc. are available in Assam only. Rice is eaten as snack in many different forms: roasted and ground (xandoh), boiled in its husk and flattened (chira), puffed (akhoi). There also grows a variety of rice that can be just soaked and eaten (kumol saul). Rice is a part of all meals in Assam. A traditional breakfast consists of chira with yogurt and jaggery. Farmers eat cooked rice soaked overnight (poita) garnished with mustard oil, onions, etc. Snacks would be xandoh, kumol saul or bora saul, a sticky variety with milk. For other major meals, rice could be boiled, steamed or wrapped in leaves and roasted. A special class of rice preparations, called pithas are generally made only on special occasions like the Bihu. Made usually with soaked and ground glutinous rice (bora saul), they could be fried in oil with a sesame filling (xutuli pitha), roasted in young green bamboo over a slow fire (sunga pitha) or baked and rolled over a hot plate with a filling (kholasapori pitha).

6. Fish :

The next most important ingredient is the fish, harvested from the many rivers, ponds and lakes in the region. There is no traditional ethnic community in Assam that does not eat fish. Most traditional rural households have their own ponds for pisciculture. Some of the most popular big fishes are the rou, ilish and cital (big), khoria (medium) (Chitala chitala), maagur, Xingi, borali, bhokua, Xaal, Xol, etc. The small varieties of fish available and eaten in Assam like puthi, borolia, mua, ceniputhi, tengera, lachin, bhagun, pabho, etc. The discerning gourmet would be able to tell which region of Assam is known for which variety of fish. Puthi maas (Ticto barb) The most popular dish from Assam, the tenga (fish sour), is an indispensable part of a proper meal in Assam. The most popular tenga is made with tomatoes, though ones made with kajinemu (thick skinned elongated lemon) and thekera (dried Mangosteen,) are also popular. Another favorite is small fish roasted in banana leaves (paatotdia). Hukuti is a special fish dish prepared from dried small fish (puthi maas) pounded with arum stem and dried and stored in bamboo tubes. Variations of this exist among the ethnic communities of Northeast India in general and Assam in particular, are dried and fermented small fish puthy mas (Ticto barb), three to four in numbers are roasted along with lavish amounts of green chillies, tomatoes, ginger and garlic (all roasted). The ingredients are then pounded in a mortar to make a coarse paste and served with rice.

7. Tea :

Tea (Saah in Assamese) is an indispensable part of Assamese cuisine. It is served in form of Black tea, Milk tea, Spiced tea, Lemon tea (adding lemon juice to black tea) etc.