Food of GuwahatiThe food in Guwahati offers a plate full of variety from authentic Assamese cuisines to deliciously tempting Chinese food. Though rice is the staple diet of the people of Guwahati, but the innovative and diverse food recipes never leave a loop hole in its taste and flavor and one could treat its taste buds with some splendid delicacies.
Other than being the staple food, rice is also used to make variety of Assamese snacks, sweets and as well as beer. A traditional meal in Guwahati begins with a khar, which is followed with some famous main course like Meat, Masor Tenga (Sour fish curry), Greens and vegetables, etc. Tamul (betel nut, generally raw) and paan generally concludes the meal. Hence we can say that if you are a foodie, you will just love Guwahati!
The traditional cuisine of Guwahati is strongly influenced by the local ingredients. Some of the famous cuisines of Guwahati include:
RiceRice is the most important part of almost all meals for the people of Guwahati. As a staple food, rice is either eaten sundried (aaroi) or steam boiled (ukhua). The ‘Joha saul’ or scented rice is the most popular class of rice and some other fine quality rice includes kauribadam or Karaballam, Aijong, Barpeta aaijong, Basmati rice, etc. Rice is also eaten as snack in many different forms like boiled and flattened (chira), ground or roasted (xandoh guri), puffed (akhoi). Other than these forms, there is also a variety of rice that can be just soaked and eaten and is known as kumol saul.
A special kind of rice preparations called the Til pithas or Narikol pithas are generally made only on special occasions like the Bihu.
FishFish is another important cuisine for the people of Guwahati. Some of the most popular fishes cooked here are rou maas, ilish maas, khoria maas, maagur maas, Xingi maas, borali maas, bhokua maas, Xol maas, etc. Other than these there are the small varieties of fish available and eaten in Assam like puthi maas, borolia maas, mua maas, ceniputhi maas, tengera maas, lachin maas, bhagun maas, pabho maas, etc. Other than the normal fish curries, people of Guwahati also have fish cooked with green vegetables and herbs like skunk vine (bhedailota in Assamese), Curry leaves (Narasingha in Assamese), etc. The masor tenga or fish sour is an indispensable part of a proper Assamese meal. The most popular tenga is made with tomatoes, lemon, dried Mangosteen (thekera in Assamese), Elephant apple (Ou tenga in Assamese) are also popular.
MeatThe basic cooking method of meat in Guwahati is boiling and is characterized by low amount of oil and spices and higher quantity of lemon juice, Curry leaves (norosingho paat) and ginger. The combination of duck – squab and white gourd - papaya or banana flower is a delicious dish among the Assamese. The popular meat for the people of Guwahati includes duck, squab, chicken, pork, venison and mutton. Beef is also popular among the Assamese Muslims.
KharThe khar is a signature class of preparations by the people of Assam. It is prepared by filtering water through the ashes of a banana tree, which is then called kola khar (The name derived from the Assamese term of Banana, "Kola" or "Kol"). Omita (papaya) khar is one major Assamese cuisine.
Aaloo PitikaPitika or mashed potatoes is another signature cuisine for the people of Guwahati. It is garnished with mustard oil, raw onions and green chillies. Other than the mashed potatoes, it is also made from steamed or roasted vegetables.
Pithas are another important Assamese delicacy primarily made from rice flour or wheat flour batter, which is shaped and is filled with savory or sweet ingredients. When filled the fillings are called pur and the pitha's pouch is called a khol.
Important Assamese Recipes
Ou Tenga Maas ( Fish Curry cooked with Elephant Apple)
- 3-4 pieces of Fish pieces
- 1 Chopped Tomato
- 1/4 of the Elephant apple
- 1 Chopped Onions
- 2-3 Green Chillies
- Salt-to taste
- 3 spoons of Mustard Oil
- Heat Oil in a pan to fry the pieces of fish
- Keep aside the fishes once fried and add Onion and Tomato in the pan
- Cut the Ou tenga (Elephant Apple) into small pieces
- Add Elephant Apple, Salt, green Chilies and two cup of water to the pan
- cook and let it boil.
- Finally add the Fish pieces and cook till the curry is being cooked.
- Turn the flame off and the dish is ready to be served.
- Serve it hot with steamed Rice.
P.S. Other than fish, one may also use Prawns.
Papaya Khar (Omita Khar)
- 1 small raw papaya (cut into medium sized pieces)
- 1 small potato
- 1 dried red chili
- 1 pinch of kala zeera
- 1/4th teaspoon of baking soda
- Salt to taste
- Chopped coriander leaves
- 1 table spoon mustard oil
- Red chilli powder (optional)
- Heat 2 spoons of mustard oil in a frying pan
- Add kala jeera and red chilli
- Add potato, papaya, salt and cook for some time
- Now add the baking soda, cook for some more time and then add hot water
- Cover and heat the vegetables further
- When they become soft, sprinkle them with coriander leaves
- The papaya khar dish is ready.
P.S. Turmeric powder shouldn't be used here since it gives a reddish color to the preparation.
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