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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.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Xewali Phool Bhaji (Night Jasmine Fry)

We people in the North East like to savor all sorts of edible flowers, be it titaphool, ronga lau phool (pumpkin flower) or our own night bloom xewali phool (parijat or night jasmine).

Talk about xewali phool and it instantly transports me to our carefree, growing-up years, much closer to nature. Back then, picking up the night-flowering jasmine suffused with its intense fragrance one by one from our courtyard provided us sheer joy. Once done, we’d hand over the basket of flowers to Ma and she’d wash, sun-dry and store them for use through the year (to flavor khar dishes or to be consumed as xewali phool fry or even add-ons to fish curries. Back home, it’s also used as a natural food coloring substitute to the more expensive saffron. :)

Xewali flower has a flavor, which people with a ‘bitter tooth’ (if I can say so) will appreciate :). And of course, there is no limit when it comes to health benefits of xewali flowers (read bottom)!

The best part is we can consume the sun-dried flowers for months, and even years, without worrying about their expiry date. Last week, I used up my stock to dish up xewali phoolor bhaji (with rice). Here’s how:


·       Dried xewali flowers (about one/two cup)
·       Cooked rice (about one or two cups)
·       3-4 garlic cloves
·       Cumin (whole) – 2/3 pinches
·       One onion
·       Green chillies (chopped)
·       Red chillies
·       One tablespoon mustard oil (the lesser you use, the better)
·       Turmeric (a pinch – optional)
·       Salt to taste


Keep aside one or two cups of cooked rice. Soak the dried flowers in water for some time to tenderize them; wash away the reddish-brown water. Heat a pan, pour the oil. Once hot, add the whole cumin, red chillies, followed by garlic cloves, and then the onions. As the onions turn slightly golden, add the flowers and fry for some time. Add salt and just a dash of turmeric powder. Then add the cooked rice and mix well. Let it cook for some time. Add the chopped green chillies. If required, sprinkle just a little water and cover with a lid. Your xewali bhaji is ready to serve.

Health Quotient: The flower contains properties that can destroy intestinal worms and is also said act as an aphrodisiac. It has anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. People also use the leaves to treat skin diseases.

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