On day three day, we are going to stop for a meal in Assam which is one of the states in the North Eastern region of India. Assam is very well known throughout the world for its tea and silk.Assam in rich in culture, ethnic groups and literature.The famous Kaziranga Narional Park is in Assam and it houses the one horned Rhinos and tigers.Assam is turning into a popular wild life tourism destination
Coming to the cuisine of Assam, rice is one of the main dishes and there are many varieties of rice that are grown and it is cooked in many ways too.
Fish can also be said as a staple here are they are availablein abundance from the ponds and rivers.
The cooking techinque is very different from the other Indian cuisines. The tempering of dishes is not seen in the Assamese cuisine.
Also the preparation techniques are not very elaborate but that does not compromise the taste of the dishes.This cuisine does use spices but can be felt just mildly ie. they do not overpower the dish.
The meal usually consists of Rice[Bhaat],lentils[dal], fish curry[masor jool],Meat curry[mangso] and / or greens and vegetables [xaak and bhaji].
A meal usually has a Tenga- a sour dish and a Khar - alkali dish. The meal begins with a Khar and ends with a Tenga
In order to bring about the essence of Assamese cuisine, I have selected Massor-daal Boror Bilahi Tenga & Alu Pitika.
The Masoor daal Boror Bilahi Tenga is a representative of the Tenga dish of the meal and the Alu Pitika is a dish which has no tempering and as I metioned earlier, this is one of the distinct feature of the Assamese cuisine.
Behind the scene:
My hunt for Assamese cuisine lead me to a large number of dishes mostly those with meat and fish. The vegetarian ones had bamboo shoots or some sort of greens that are not available around here.So I finally settled down of these two recipes and prepared them for lunch.
The Massor-daal Boror Bilahi Tenga received a warm welcome. The kids loved both the soaked and crispy dumplings. The Alu Pitika however did not receive such a good response. Since it was not tempered / sauteed, the kids and the adults did not like it much. I however found the taste to be okay. But the flavors improved when I tasted the same around dinner time.
Massor-daal Boror Bilahi Tenga
I made this after comparing a few variations of this recipe.
For the lentil dumplings
Massor Daal / Red lentil -1/2 cup
Red chilli powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- to taste
Oil to deep fry
For the tomato gravy
Ripe tomatoes - 3
Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
Red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil- 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaves to garnish
Soak the red lentils for an hour. Grind it to a coarse paste without adding water. Add salt and chili powder, mix well. Take a teaspoon of this batter and drop into hot oil. Fry on medium heat till the dumplings turn golden brown.Remove from heat and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.When it splutters, add finely chopped tomatoes.Add 1 cup of water and cook till the tomato turns mushy.Add chili powder, coriander powder and salt. Mash the tomato well with the back of the ladle.When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, add the fried dumplings and serve garnished with coriander leaves.
Massor-daal Boror Bilahi Tenga is ready to be served with steamed rice....
The gravy thickens after adding the dumplings. So make it a little on the watery side.
Now coming to the second recipe of the day...
Alu pitika is a signature dish of the Assamese Cuisine. It is a simple recipe. Like most of the Assamese recipes that call for raw ingredients to be used as such without cooking and no tempering used, this one too falls under that category.
Potatoes - 2
Salt to taste
Sesame oil- 1 teaspoon
Boil potatoes and peel of the skin. Mash roughly. Chop onions and green chilies.Add this to the potato. Mix in salt and oil.
Serve garnished with coriander leaves
Usually mustard oil is used in this recipe. Since I did nit have it ,I used sesame oil.
Here are some Assamese food blogs that I browsed through and found them very interesting. Take a look at these sites to get a better look into an Assamese Kitchen....
Taste of Assam
Assam foodie's Blog
Read more about the Assamese life style, culture and cuisine - here....
Labels: 7 Sister States, Assamese Cuisine, Better Half, Blogging Marathon, Dry Veg Curries, Goodies from veggies, Misc Rice Sides, Potato, Rotisides, Sides for Rice, Step-by-step Pictorial Recipes, Whoz on my side