The first thing that comes to my mind when talking about Assam is the tea from that region. Assam is a state in the North Eastern region of India and it borders with Bhutan, Bangladesh and also by the remaining six states out of the seven sister states. Assam is one of the seven sister states which is also called the ‘paradise unexplored’. These states are connected to the rest if India by a narrow strip of land in West Bengal called the ‘Silguri Corridor’ or the ‘Chicken’s neck’.
Assam is known for its tea, large and old petroleum resources, Assam silk and for its rich biodiversity. Assam is also becoming a very popular destination for wildlife tourism. Assam also gets very large amount of annual rainfall which enables its lush greenery. Dispur is the capital of the state and Assamese is the major language.
Assamese cuisine follows the cooking habits of the hill that favors fermentation and drying as a form of preservation. Rice is the most important ingredient of the cuisine. When looking to make an authentic dish from the state, I came across several meat based dishes. I had to stick to some vegetable and that is when I came across this website called the Sunita’s world. The author of this blog is originally from Assam and she had several Assamese recipes.
According to this website, mustard (both in seed form and oil form) is used extensively in Assamese cuisine. Mustard seed paste is used in many dishes which are called Sorsori in Assamese. This is where the similarities strike between the Bengali cuisine and the Assamese cuisine. Mustard paste has a very unique flavor and is a very acquired taste. My little one just could not eat this, whereas my older one loved it. It was a very different kind of curry and was very simple to make.
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 25 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – Serves 4
- Okra / Bhendi / Ladies finger – 4 cups (chopped into 1 inch piece)
- Panch phoron – 1 tsp (mix equal quantities of mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, kalonji and cumin seeds)
- Red chili – 1
- Bay leaf – 1
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Green chilies – 2 (Slit lengthwise)
- Mustard seeds – 3 tsp (soaked in warm water)
- Ginger – 1 tsp (finely grated)
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- To make the mustard paste – Soak the mustard seeds in warm water for about 15 minutes and then grind into a paste. Dissolve this paste in about a cup of water and keep it aside. Also add the grated ginger to the mustard paste and mix well.
- Wash and then chop the okras into 1 inch pieces.
- In a sauté pan, heat the oil. Add the bay leaf, red chili and the panch phoron. When the seeds splutter, add the chopped okras, turmeric powder, green chilies and salt.
- Cover the pan and let the okra cook until they are soft and the sliminess has disappeared.
- Add the prepared mustard paste and mix well. Cook on low flame, stirring frequently until the gravy thickens (this takes about 10 minutes). Once the gravy thickens you would notice the mustard paste coats the entire okra.
- Serve hot with rice and roti and some dal!
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