A meal from Assam with Bootar Daal, Bhendir Sorsori and Bilahir Tok

BM # 39
Day : 3
State : Assam

Day 3 and we will cook from Assam.

 Food of Assam , as of any other place, is largely influenced by its climate, soil and vegetation. Rice is the staple diet and the Assamese like to eat rice and fish curry.The people of Assam prefer to eat non - spicy foods. Spices like cumin, coriander, mustard, ginger, garlic, fenugreek, paanch poran, cardamom and some ingredients that are found in Assam only are generally used.

The speciality of Assamese cuisines stands in its simplicity and varieties of ingredient. Assamese dishes are less spicy than any other Indian Dishes, but carry richness of taste and health.

Traditionally, Assamese food is cooked in earthen ware. This method imparts a smell from the utensils to the food itself giving it a distinct flavor. It's interesting to know that the Assamese mix all the leftover vegetables together to eat it next day with  green chilies and mustard.

Assamese people love to enjoy every festival. These festivals unite all communities of the society. These festivals are symbol of the Assamese culture.When it comes to the festivals of Assam, the first word that strikes Bihu.The Assam tea festival flaunts the specialty of the state of Assam, tea, which has earned its fame all over the world.

I have cooked Kardoi from this state for Indian Cooking Challenge, infact I did not have to search for Assamese recipes as I was familiar with Sunita's blog where she has some authentic Assamese Cuisine.

Bhendir Sarsori
4 cups lady fingers , washed and wiped , head and tails removed
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp paanch poran
1 whole red chilli
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chillies. slit

2 tblsp of thick mustard paste
( Soak mustard seeds in water and grind to a thick paste with a little water), diluted with 1 cup water
1 tsp ginger paste
a pinch of turmeric powder

Heat the oil and add the bay leaf, paanch Poran and red chilli .
When the seeds sizzle, add the bhindi along with salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Stir well, cover and cook over low heat for about10 minutes.
Stir frequently in between. The sliminess should have disappeared by now.
In a bowl, mix together the mustard, ginger paste, pinch of turmeric, and green chillies.
Add this mixture into the bhindi and stir well.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 5-6 minutes or till the gravy thickens and the bhindi is well coated in the mustard paste.

Bootar Daali
1 1/2 cups Bengal gram
1/4 cup masoor daal
1 small onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 green chilli, slit
1 level tsp grated jaggery/sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander
Hot water

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 whole red chilli
1 bay leaf

Make a paste of the onions, ginger and garlic .
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the ingredients for tempering.
Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste along with the turmeric and cumin powders.
Stir constantly till the mixture thickens and most of the moisture has evaporated.
Add the mixed pulses, jaggery and the green chilli and stir till they are nicely coated with the spices and start to brown.
Add the water up to an inch above the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
Cook for 4 whistles, the lentils should have cooked by now.
Remove from heat and let the pressure subside by itself before opening the lid.
Place over heat
 Add the garma masala and the 2 tbsp of chopped coriander.
If the mixture has thickened too much, add a little more water. Bring everything to a boil and remove from heat.
Garnish with chopped coriander .

Bilahir tok
5-6 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp mustard oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp paanch poran
1 bay leaf
1 whole red dried chilli
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A small piece of jaggery
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the paanch poran, whole red chilli and bay leaf.
When the seeds start to pop, add the onion and tomatoes.
Add salt and add the turmeric.
Mix well, cover and cook (stirring occasionally) till the tomatoes are mushy.
Add the jaggery and stir till it is dissolved and the tok thickens… just so that it is neither too watery or too thick.
Give a nice stir and remove from heat.
Serve as a condiment with rice, khichiris or even with rotis and other flatbreads.

This Assamese meal was a hit, my son loved the Bhindi and it has to feature in the routine menu.The Daal was quite similar to the chhana daal that we make, but I must say that the tomato chutney was delicious and a must try.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39

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