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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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mati Mahor Khar (Black Gram Khar)

A traditional Assamese platter is incomplete without a khar (alkali) dish, normally prepared with soda  or  water distilled from smoked/burnt banana peel. Popular khar dishes include papaya khar, bottle gourd khar, cucumber khar, among others. One more khar dish relished by the kharkhowas is mati mahor khar (black gram lentil khar).

How to get your Khar ingredient: Sun-dry for some days the peels from seeded-bananas (bhim kal in Assamese) until they turn grey/black. Now take a sun-dried banana peel and burn it on your gas oven. Then soak the burnt peel in potable water overnight. Next morning, as the water turns tea-like and the ashes gather at the bottom, filter the water in a separate vessel. One or one-and-a-half cup is enough for your preparation

  • About 1 or 1/12 cup khar water (see above to prepare this water) 
  • About 250 gm black lentils
  • 1/2 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
  • 5-6 green chillis
  • 5-6 pods of garlic
  • two teaspon mustard oil
  • Coriander leaves
  • 5 spices
  • Salt to taste

Method: Soak the black grams overnight.Then Wash well to remove the skins, although there are a lot of people out there who prepare without removing the skin. Take the green chillis, garlic pods and corinader leaves and crush with a crusher. Heat one or two teaspoon oil in a pressurre cooker, add  five spices, followed by the garlic-chilli-coriander paste. Add onion and fry; the aroma that it gives out is simply difficult to resist.Then add the lentils and fry for some time before adding the khar. Drop one or two green chillis if you prefer it hot! Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles (or as your pressure cooker demands). Before serving, add one teaspoon of mustard oil to it because it accentuates the taste of the khar dish.  

Health quotient: Khar is said to cleanse your stomach.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Masur Dailor Bor (Red Lentil Fritters)

Masur dailor bor, prepared from masur dal (red lentil or Egyptian lentil) paste is a regular serve in Assamese cuisine. Mostly used as a starter, this is quite handy when guests drop in for a quick dinner/lunch.  If you haven’t tried it, you should certainly do so; it’s way better than the besan-made fritters we are so used to having! Here’re some steps that I use to prepare this mouth-watering fritter!

Red lentils (Masur Dal) – 250 gm
Rice Powder (optional) – 10 gm
Green Chillis – 4-5 (or depending on how hot you want it)
Baking Powder or Soda – 1 pinch
Onions – 2 (medium sized)
Mustard Oil (one cup for frying)
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves (one bunch – the more the better)

Method: Soak the lentils overnight and then grind in a mixer grinder till you get a course paste. In a bowl, add the lentil paste, rice powder (this makes it more crispy), baking soda, chopped onions, green chillis and coriander leaves. Then add salt and water and mix everything with a spoon (you can use your hand but I prefer spoon). The consistency of the batter should be thick. Heat oil; it should be really hot. Lower or adjust gas temperature as you fry the fritters. Serve hot as a starter or with dal and rice for a sumptuous lunch/dinner!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Kon Bilahi Dal (Lentils with Cherry Tomatoes)

An Assamese kitchen serves a variety of dals (lentils), each with a distinct and subtle taste.  In fact, if you choose to have Assamese food on all 30 days of the month, you'll still have a different dal to savour each day. Among the plethora of dals cooked the Assamese way, dal with cherry tomatoes (kon bilahi) is quite popular and a personal favorite too. Great to have during the summer months, here's one way to prepare this particular dal.

What's required:
·    3/4 cup Masur Dal
·    1/4 cup Moong Dal
·    10 cherry tomatoes (approx.)
·    1/4 onion (finely chopped)                                                                               
·    4 green chillies
·    1 pinch pas phooron (5 spices comprise fennel seeds, fenugreek  seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and nigella seeds)
·    Salt to taste
·    One pinch turmeric powder
·    Coriander leaves (optional)
·    1 teaspoon mustard oil

In a pressure cooker, add the washed dals, water (about 4-5 cups or as per your requirement), cherry tomatoes, 2 chillies, salt and turmeric powder. (many people add the tomatoes while doing the tempering too).  Remove from cooker after two whistles.
Heat a pan and add the mustard oil; once hot, add the five spices, followed by the chopped onions and then the chopped coriander leaves.When the onions turn brownish, pour the boiled dal. Heat it for some time;cut two green chilies and add to the boiling dal.