Monday, 28 January 2013

Food Chronicles of my Assam visit


And so my holidays are over and I am back. I can’t believe how those two weeks ended; everything seems to have moved super fast. All I have right now are my memories, some of them photographed. Before I turn sentimental and weepy, let me share with you some of the food I had while in Assam. These are just a fragment of the food I gorged on during those two weeks. It was food, food and more food all the way, especially since we were visiting Assam during Bhogali Bihu, our harvest festival. I am sure we must have put on at least 10 kgs on this visit alone! But I don’t mind the weight considering the fact that we won’t be able to taste those dishes again for a long time, till our next visit. And now here comes a photo-chronicle of my food journey in Assam!

The Bihu Thali

Let’s start with what my eldest jethai (aunt) prepared for us on the morning of Bhogali Bihu.


On the plate: xandoh (ground roasted rice of the sticky variety), sira (flattened rice), akhoi (puffed rice), gur (jaggery) and doi (curd).


The Fishy Tales

The fish markets came alive on the occasion of Bihu. The prices touched the sky, but who cared?             


The irresistible Chitol Maas (Clown Knifefish)  




Now, for the cooked variety...

Fried Chitol Fish

A closer view 

Another plateful of fried fish

A steaming plate of Chitol Kalia (recipe here)

Small fish roasted in charcoal and mashed with chopped onions, green chillies and drizzled with mustard oil. Seasoned with salt and a dash of lime juice.

More than ‘Meats’ the eye

Guess what is being grilled over here...


That's right! A batch of tender mutton and sinful pork...



The meat was marinated in salt, pepper and lime juice before putting them over the charcoal.

How about a bird now?

Duck curry (recipe here)

‘Egg’ing on the tummy

We actually had to do that to fit in this...

Mom's duck egg curry

The Vegetarian side-dishes

Not to be left behind in any way....

Crisp brinjal fritters (dipped in a batter of besan or gram flour and seasoned with a little salt and turmeric powder)


My personal favourite - bhedailota bor or skunk vine fritters (ground skunk vine leaves mixed with gram flour, chopped onions and green chillies and deep-fried. Seasoned with salt.).

My father-in-law's charcoal roasted potato mash (aloo pitika), mixed with chopped onions and green chillies and seasoned with a little salt and lime juice.


Kosur thuri patot diya - Colocasia leaves, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed over charcoal, and served with a light drizzling of mustard oil. Seasoned with salt.  

The Winter Sun Fruit


Nothing beats peeling a large robab tenga (a kind of citrus fruit), adding salt and a lot of green chillies along with the mandatory mustard oil to the bowl and wiping it clean while basking in the winter morning sun. 

So, that's how I spent my holidays - the food part, that is. Besides, the sleep-inducing weather (kaniya botor in Assamese) never fails to lead to a nice siesta after each of these eating spells. No wonder I miss my homeland so bad. Hopefully, my memories will keep me satiated till my next visit to the state. 

How about you? What food memories do you cherish of your home town? The ones that make you go "When I am there, I am going to have..."

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