Assamese Cuisine is characterised by its simplicity and exotic tastes fueled by various local herbs. Rice is the main ingredient served with generous helpings of mouthwatering side dishes.
The side dishes include:
Dal: Served with rice, the dal is mostly prepared with a combination of any two or three varieties of lentils. The chief among them is Red, Yellow, Arhar, Channa and Urad Dal. There are various add-ons often added to the dal – Ou Tenga (Elephant Apple), Omita (Raw papaya), Kothalor Guti (Jackfruit seeds), Sojina (Moringa), etc to impart unique flavours.
Pitika: Boiled or Roasted vegetable of choice (Boiled Potato / Roasted Eggplant / Roasted Tomato / Boiled Teaselgourd / Roasted Starfruit / Boiled Pumpkin, etc) is mashed with a sprinkling of green chillies, finely chopped ginger, coriander leaves, salt and mustard oil to prepare this delicious dish. Many a time, they are mixed together as in Alu/Bilahir Pitika (Boiled Potato and Roasted Tomato mashed together) to accentuate the tastes.
Bhaji (Pan fried Vegetables):
- Alu Bhaji (Finely chopped potatoes pan-fried with turmeric, cummin seeds and coriander. Other variations include combing potato with Okra / Ivy Gourd / Capsicum, etc.
- Potol Bhaji (Pointed Gourd split longitudinally in half and pan-fried with turmeric and salt.
- Koldil Bhaji (Banana Flower finely chopped and pan-fried with potatoes).
- Kol Posola Khar (Inner sheaths of Banana Stems finely chopped and prepared with Khar).
- Omita Khar (Raw papaya prepared with banana peel ash grounded
- Xaak Bhaji (Pan fried leafy greens like Dhekia (Fiddlehead Fern, Zilmil (White Goosefoot), Brahmi, Lai (Mustard Greens), Morisa (Amaranth), Khutura (Green Amaranth), Dorron (Long-leaf Laucas), Mati Kaduri (Sessile Joywood), etc).
- Labra (Mixed Vegetable) prepared with various combinations of Potatoes, Cauliflowers, Carrots, Eggplants, Knolkhol, Chayote, Pumpkins, Turnip, Tomato, etc.
Chutney: Chutneys are an integral part of any Assamese meal. From Kharoli (prepared from fermented mustard seeds) to Starfruit to But (Chana), Podina (Mint) to Kosu aru Konbilahi (Colocasia with cherry tomatoes and Bhut Jookia), the list is endless.