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Khorisa is an ethnic ingredient used in Assamese cuisine. Essentially, it is grated bamboo shoots in raw, fermented or pickled form.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Papaya Khar (Omita Khar)

Khar (alkali) is synonymous with Assamese cuisine. Essentially, it is an exotic liquid strained from sun-dried banana skin and cooked with a seasonal vegetable like papaya(omita), water gourd (pani lau)or mustard greens (lai haak). However, due to the rare availability of banana skin khar, we may use baking soda as a substitute. Relished as a starter, one of the most popular and easy-to-cook khar dishes is prepared with papaya. The dish has health benefits and is considerably beneficial for digestion. The cooking method may vary from person to person; here’s my recipe for this simple yet delicious Assamese dish.


• A small raw papaya (cut into medium sized chunks)
• A small potato ( -do-)
• One dried red chili
• A pinch of kala zeera
• 1/4th teaspoon baking soda
• Salt to taste
• Chopped coriander leaves
• One table spoon mustard oil
• Red chilli powder (optional)


Heat the mustard oil in a frying pan. Add the kala jeera and red chilli. Then add papaya, potato, salt and cook for some time. Now add the baking soda, cook for some more time and then add hot water. Cover with a lid and heat the vegetables further. When they become soft, sprinkle them with coriander leaves. Your papaya khar dish is ready. (Optional: you may also add red chilli (lal mirch) powder if you wish.)

Tip: Turmeric powder shouldn't be used here since it gives a reddish color to the preparation.


  1. Thanks a lot - we tried this out and it turned out to be very good!

    Arnov Hazarika
    Los Angeles, USA

  2. Glad to know my post was helpful :)

  3. Does the dried banana ash powder give any taste? I can't imagine an "ashy" taste. Please help. Thanks. :)