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Rice recipes of Assamese cuisine

      Do you have your rice today? Yes, I am asking do you have your rice today?  No no please donot feel  surprise when I am asking about rice instead of lunch or dinner. We Assamese ask 'bhat khala?' which means 'do you have your rice ?' instead of 'do you have lunch?' or 'do you have dinner?'  This proves how rice is a part and parcel of our day to day life. Rice is the main ingredient as well as the main dish of Assamese cuisine.

     Rice is cultivated in Assam but it is not sufficient to fulfill the hunger of entire Assam. Rice is exported from other parts of India also. But some particular rice are grown in Assam alone such as sticky rice (bora chawl), aromatic rice (joha chawl) etc.

Plain rice:
 In everyday cooking Assamese people likes plain rice or boiled rice. Boiled rice is served basically with sour fish curries which are Assamese peoples' favourite dish. Rice is also served with lentils or different dals and vegetable found in this part of northeast India such as feddlehead ferns,  colocasia, spinach, water spinach, mustard plant, mustard green, amaranth, green amaranth, white goosefoot etc. Meat is also served with rice. Assamese people usually eat chicken, mutton, duck meat, pork etc.
Almost all Assamese specially in rural areas like to have rice in both lunch and dinner.

Joha chawl (Scented aromatic rice):
Joha chawl is scented aromatic rice grown in Assam. Joha chawl is cultivated in Assam in a large amount. It has a good demand in the global market also. Joha chawl can also be compared to basmati rice. Joha chawl is good for preparing Pulau, Fried rice or Briyani dishes.  It is good to eat as a plain rice also.
     A tasty sweet dish can be made from joha chawl called Payas (Kheer)

The recipe of Payas:

Ingredients:
200 gms joha rice
200 gms suger
2 liter of milk
15-20 raisins
15-20 cashew nuts

Method: Boil milk in a large pan. Soak rice and add into the milk. In low flame cook until rice cooked. Stir occasionally. Add sugar. Stir and cook untill the dish become thicker. Add raisins and cashew nuts. Serve hot or cold.

Ukhua chawl:
Ukhua chawl is parboiled rice or steamboiled rice. Rice is soaked steamed and dried. There is a huge demand of this category of rice. These rice are grown in Assam and has a nutritional value. Its taste may be not so good but is very healthy.

Tupula bhat:


Tupula bhat is steamed rice wrapped in leaves. Some tribes in Assam like Thi-phake and Thai-khamti people used to prepare such rice recipies. These rice are very tasty and usually served with Tupola gahori mankho ( pork dish wrapped in leaves).

Poita bhat:
Poita bhat is cooked rice usually leftover rice soaked in water overnight. This dish is served next day with chopped raw onion, mustard oil and chilli or king chilli.

Bora chawl (Sticky rice):

Bora chawl or sticky rice is another speciality of Assamese cuisine. It can be eat in many different ways. During bihu season different Pithas are made from sticky rice. Such as Til pitha, Narikol pitha, Ghila pitha etc.
       Boiled sticky rice is serverd with milk, cream, yogurt , jaggery etc. Boiled sticky rice can also served with Pitikas or meat dishes. In some parts of Assam I heard that labourers in rice cultivation , are served with a plate of sticky rice with some Pitika followed by a huge bowl of red tea.  This give them strength to work in the paddy fields whole day in the sun.

Sunga bhat:
Sunga bhat is sticky rice cooked in bamboo hollow.  Sunga bhat is preapared during bihu festivals of Assam. It is served with milk and jaggery.

Kumol chawl:
Kumol chawl is another specialty of Assamese cuisine. These rice are ready to eat rice.  No need to cook. Just soak and eat. Served with yogurt and jaggery.

Xandho:
Xandho is made from Kumol chawl. Kumol chawl is roasted and then grounded.  Served with milk, yogurt, jaggery. Taste better when  added chopped bananas and 1 tbsp ghee .

Puffed rice:
Puffed rice can be many types. Akhoi is a kind of puffed rice. Akhoi are prepared during bihu festivals only. Served with milk , yogurt and jaggery.

Rice flakes:
Rice flakes in Assamese called chira. Chira has several use in Assamese cuisine. Basically Chira is served with yogurt and jaggery. Chira can also be used in making other dishes like Muri ghonto (fish head with rice flakes). 

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