Assamese food thali

Food of Assam- Eat like a local

Author: TourGenie Contributor
Date: 2019-12-12

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Assamese food has an interesting flavor profile owing to the unique ingredients and the different ways food dishes are prepared. The style of cooking in Assamese food dishes is a mix of preferences favored by those in the hills that involve fermentation and those of the plains, which comprises local fresh produce and an abundance of fish. 

Typically, a local Assamese meal consists of many things such as bhat (rice) with dal (lentils), masor jool (fish stew), mangxô (meat stew), and stir-fried greens or herbs and vegetables. The two main characteristics of a traditional meal in Assam are khar (or alkali, named after its main ingredient) and tenga (preparations bearing a characteristically rich and tangy flavor). Khorika is smoked or fire-grilled meat eaten with meals. Commonly consumed varieties of meat include mutton, fowl, duck/goose, fish, pigeon, pork, and beef (among Muslim, Christian, and indigenous Assamese communities). Grasshoppers, locusts, silkworms, snails, eels, wild fowl, squab and other birds, and venison are also eaten, albeit in moderation.

Another interesting ingredient of Assamese food is khorisa (fermented bamboo shoots), which are used at times to flavor curries. They can also be preserved and made into pickles. Koldil (banana flower) and squash are also used in popular culinary preparations of Assamese food dishes.

A variety of different rice cultivars are grown and consumed in different ways, viz roasted ground, boiled, or just soaked.

The star of Assamese food is fish. Fish curries made of free-range wild fish as well as Bôralí, rôu, illish, or sitôl are the most popular in Assamese food dishes.

Another favourite food combination is luchi (fried flatbread), a curry that can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

Many indigenous Assamese communities’ households still continue to brew their traditional alcoholic beverages; examples include: Laupani, Xaaj, Paniyo, Jou, Joumai, Hor, Apang, etc. Such local beverages are served during traditional festivities. Declining them is considered socially offensive.

Assamese food is often served in bell metal dishes and platters like Kanhi and Maihang.

Also read about: (Assamese Cuisine)

1. Lai xaak (Food of Assam)

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Assam is known for its unique collection of saags (leafy greens) that are not available elsewhere. Lai xaak is one of them. Pork with lai xaak is an unusual yet delicious combination enjoyed by the Assamese people. 

2. Dal Kosu Xaak (Food of Assam)

                                                                                                       Food in Assam

Kosu xaak is another green leaf that is cooked with dal. This food has a creamy consistency and is best served with rotis.

3. Sunga Chicken (Food of Assam)

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The uniqueness of this food dish is in the method of food preparation. Minced and marinated chicken is stuffed and served in a bamboo hollow.

4. Jute Leaf Curry (Food of Assam)

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The use of unique herbs and leaves are an interesting part of Assamese food. Unlike elsewhere, the Assamese use jute leaves to form a puree, which is then consumed either as a soup or a curry. 

5. Ouu Katha (Food of Assam)

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Ouu katha, known as elephant apple, is a unique food ingredient used to prepare a sweetish sour chutney. This chutney is then added to dal. 

6. Kumurat diya Hanhor Mangxo/Duck meat curry (Food of Assam)

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Duck meat is cooked with ash gourd that gives it its unique taste. A prominent spice is black pepper. 

7. Silkworms (Food of Assam)

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Silkworms are coated in spices and then deep-fried, resulting in a crunchy exterior and juicy inside. Some say its taste is similar to a mix of pork and chicken.

8. Baanhgajor Lagor Kukura (Food of Assam) 

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A traditional food item, this food dish is made up of chicken, lentils, and bamboo shoots. The chicken and bamboo shoots are boiled separately first before finally cooking them together.

9. Masor Tenga (Food of Assam) 

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Masor Tenga is a sour and tangy fish curry usually accompanied with rice. This is a staple food dish of Assam. The tangy flavor usually comes from the addition of lemon or mangosteen or tomato.

10. Khar (Food of Assam)

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Khar is an ingredient that is added in different Assamese food items. Khar is prepared by filtering water through the ashes of the sun-dried skin of bananas. Khar can be used with raw papaya, pulses, and vegetables. It can also be used with fish.

So the next time you’re in Assam, go on an exciting culinary journey by trying out authentic Assamese food at the local markets. It’s best to ask the locals for their favourite food joints wherever you are. 


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