Skip to main content

Ten things you should know about an Assamese Thali



What is a Thali 



Thali is an Indian word which means "a large plate used for the purpose of serving lunch or dinner" . However the word 'thali' is also used to refer an Indian style of meal served in a thali or a big platter (or sometimes a banana leaf) along with some small bowls used to serve vegetables,  curries and curd. Thali culture is very popular in India and every community or every corner of the country has their own and unique display of the thali through their popular and indigenous recipes. Thali is a delicious meal available in many restaurants throughout the country which is at the same time inexpensive too. So to know the different parts of India and their varied cultures, eating a thali is a simple and easy way.

What is Assamese Thali 


Priyanka Chopra with an Assamese Thali served in bell metal utensils/ p.c. internet 

Assam is a state in the northeast part of India. It is the heart of northeast India. In Assam there are many tribes living, having their own language,  culture,  customs, traditions and of course own cuisines.  So Assamese cuisine is the cuisine of Assam and its different communities and tribes living in different parts of Assam and Assamese Thali is a display of  Assamese cuisine. Like many other Indian thalis, in Assamese thali also the rice sits in the center of the plate and is traditionally eaten with the fingers of the right hand. Unlike every other Indian thalis  Assamese thali also have some specialities which makes it different from other thalis.

An Assamese thali by Binita Borpatragohain

Ten things you should know about an Assamese Thali 


1• An Assamese thali is served in bell metal utensils. Bell metal is an alloy of copper and tin. Bell metal utensils are used by Assamese communities for domestic and religious purposes. In an Assamese thali bell metal plate,  bowls,  glass etc are used which makes Assamese thali unique from other Indian thalis. 

2• An Assamese meal begin with khar. 
Khar is an alkali prepared from sun dried skin of some varieties of banana.  It is prepared by filtering the water from the burn ashes of the skin of the banana Therefore it is also called kolkhar (kol means banana). It is preserved in bottles and can be used for months. It sounds bizarre but Assamese people are using khar as a cooking ingredient since time immemorial when salt was not discovered. It is believed that khar cleanses the stomach.

 A traditional Assamese meal begin with khar recipe.  A khar recipe can be prepared with raw papaya, bottle gourd, dry Jasmin flower,  doron bon xaak, fish head etc. In a khar recipe khar is the key ingredient.  One or two tablespoons is enough to prepare khar recipe.  Khar can also be consumed as raw by just adding chopped garlic,  few drops of mustard oil and salt.

So khar makes an Assamese thali unique from other Indian thalis .

3• Pitika is an essential part of Assamese thali. Pitika is an Assamese word which means mashed. Pitika dishes are very popular in Assam. It is a side dish and a signature recipe of Assamese cuisine. Its taste is very pure and yummy. Sometimes raw onion is used and sometimes fried onion is used in these recepies. Assamese people use mustard oil for all purposes as it can also be consumed  as raw. Pickled chilli or pickled bhut jolokia adds more taste to these dishes. Assamese people used to make pitika from almost all the vegetables but among them alu pitika or mashed potatoes is the favorite one. 


An Assamese thali by Taru Phukan 

4• One must dish of an Assamese thali is Kahudi or pain tenga (black mustard chutney) . Black mustard seeds' chutney or kahudi is an unique dish of its kind. Because of its strong flavour it is good for sneezing or runny nose. Assamese love to have kahudi with rice which makes Assamese thali unique from other Indian thalis .

5• Mati mahor dail /urad dal or split black gram is a traditional gram of Assam.  An Assamese thali without mati mahor dal is incomplete.  Split black gram is cooked with or without khar and served in bell metal bowls.

6• Different herbs and medicinal plants and leafy vegetables (xaak) are available in this part of India such an fiddlehead ferns,  skunk vine,  colocasia leaves,  modhuxulung etc. These herbs,  greens and vegetables are generally eaten by simple frying, adding into different lentils, fish or meat. One such dish must be present in an Assamese thali without which an Assamese thali is incomplete.

7• Every Thali has pickles and chutneys. Assamese thalis also has pickles and chutneys. Pickles and chutneys add flavour to a thali and in Assamese thali one green chutney  and bhut jolokia pickle or bamboo shoots and bhut jolokia pickle are must items.

An Assamese thali by Nitumoni Das Sarmah

8• Local chicken, squab, mutton, duck and pork are very popular among indigenous people of Assam but when it comes to the non-vegetarian Assamese thali , duck is in the first preference.

9• Masor tenga / sour fish curry is a signature dish of Assamese cuisine.  There are many souring agents used to make sour fish curries such as elephant apple, modhuxulung,  thekera, tomatoes, lemon etc. In every non-vegetarian Assamese thali one dish of sour fish curry must include.

10. Dessert is a western concept which don't exist in Assamese cuisine. Curd is generally served with thali which is consumed at the end of the meal. An Assamese meal concludes with the shewing of tamul paan (betel nut and leaf) which is served in a bell metal utensil called bota.  Pieces of betel nuts are served with pieces of betel leaves together with edible limestone and tobacco. The reason behind shewing tamul paan at the end of a meal is to freshen the breath and to hasten the process of digestion.  But in restaurants tamul paan is not served with Assamese thali but in many Assamese household it is a routine item after every meal. Instead of tamul paan,  saunf (fennel seeds) is served in restaurants.

P. C. Binita Borpatragohain,  Taru Phukan,  Nitumoni Das Sarmah

Comments

  1. Yaa rumi very testy our thali....actually assamese culture is very rich...we fell proud to be an assamese

    ReplyDelete
  2. 0eldisPnase_1980 Eric Spier Here
    mihostobit

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Most Popular Posts

Alpine Retreat : Best Homestay In Guwahati : A Review

 If you are looking for a best homestay in Guwahati, then I will highly recommend to check out the  Alpine retreat homestay, a lovely urban apartment at the right of the  heart of the area.  During our last visit to Guwahati, we had decided to stay at a homestay instead of staying in a hotel. The reason of choosing a homestay over a hotel is that we wanted a homely atmosphere and a homestay is a kind of accommodation where tourists are treated like guests, not clients and they are given rooms to stay together with the host family in the same house. A homestay is after all someone's home. In homestay we don't have to confined in a single room just like in a hotel. As the American novelist Edgar Watson Howe beautifully quoted  "To be an ideal guest, stay at home. ".  Alpine retreat is a lovely urban apartment that provides homestay with patio. Just 4.5 km from Paltan Bazar railway station, located on the G.S road,  Alpine retreat is easily accessible and surrounded by

List of Vegetables used in Assamese Cuisine with their English name.

Here is a list of 50 leafy and non-leafy vegetables used in Assamese cuisine with their English name.         Assamese name = English name  Lai xaak(লাই শাক)= Mustard green  Paleng xaak(পালেং শাক)= Spinach  Horiyoh xaak(সৰিয়হ শাক)= Mustard plant  Dhekia(ঢেকিয়া)= Fiddlehead ferns  Meethi xaak(মিথি শাক)= Fenugreek greens Mati kaduri(মাটি কাডুৰি)= Sessile joyweed  Lofa xaak(লফা শাক)= Chinese mellow   Bor-manimuni(বৰ-মানিমুনি)= Asiatic pennywort  Sofguti(চফগুটি)= Fennel  Dangbodi(ডাংবদি)= Yard long been  Kolmou(কলমৌ)= Water spinach  Titamora(তিতামৰা)= Jute plant  Tengamora(টেঙামৰা)= Roselle  Bhekuri(ভেকুৰী)= Indian nightshade  Squash(স্কচ্)= Chayote squash  Bahgaj(বাহঁগাজ)= Bamboo shoots  Betgaj(বেতগাজ)= Rattan shoots  Sojina(চজিনা)= Drumstick  Maan-dhania(মান ধনিয়া)= Long coriander  Mosondori(মচন্দৰি)= Heart leaf  Bhedai lota(ভেদাইলতা)= Skunk vine  Zilmil(জিলমিল)= White goosefoot  Moricha(মৰিচা)= Amaranth  Khutura(খুতুৰা)= Green amaranth  Oolkobi(ওলকব

List of Fruits found in Assam with their English Names

Here is a list of fruits found in Assam with their English names.  Assamese Name = English Name  Kordoi (কৰদৈ) = Starfruit (Scientific name : Averrhoa carambola) Lichu (লিচু) = Litchi (Scientific name : Litchi chinensis) Matikothal (মাটিকঠাল) = Pineapple (Scientific name : Ananas comosus) Komola (কমলা) = Orange  Noga Tenga (নগা টেঙা) = Rhus srmialata Ahom Bogori = Peach (Scientific name : Prunus persica) Kothal (কঠাল) = Jackfruit (Scientific name : Artocarpus heterophyllus) Siral (চিৰাল) = Mouse Melon (Scientific name : Melothria scabra) Torbuj (তৰবুজ) = Watermelon (Scientific name : Citrullus lanatus) Bogori (বগৰী) = Jujube ( Scientific name :  Zizyphus jujuba) Modhuri (মধুৰী) = Guava  Jamuk (জামুক) = Malabar Plum, Java Plum or Black Plum (Scientific name : Syzygium cumini) Aam (আম) = Mango   Mouchumi (মৌচুমি) = Sweet Lime (Scientific name : Citrus limetta) Lataku (লেতেকু) = Baccurea (Scientific name : Baccurea sapida) Dalim (ডালিম) = Pomegranate (Scientific

10 Food Quiz Questions and Answers To Test Your Knowledge On Indian Food

Test your food knowledge on Indian food. Get the answers on the bottom of the post. A.  Litti chokha is a famous food of which State Assam  Bihar  Maharashtra  Gujarat  B. A burger like fast food dish of Maharashtra Kathi roll  Samosa  Vada pav Dhokla  C. Which state is the largest producer of rice Assam West Bengal  Punjab Maharashtra  D. Which is not a sweet dish  Ghevar  Chikki  Shrikhand  Medhu vada  E. Which is not an Indian bread  Phulka  Parantha  Chapati  Concha  F. Rogan josh is a signature recipe of  Assamese cuisine  Kashmiri cuisine  Mughlai cuisine  Goan cuisine  G. Which of the following  is not a Bengali dish Misti doi Samosa Roshogolla  Sambar vara  H. Which of the following is not a south Indian dish  Sambar Upma  Dal makhani  Sevai  I. Who was the winner of MasterChef India season:1 Kirti Bhoutika  Pankaj Bhadoirua Nikita Gandhi  Abhinas Nayak 

Green Tomato Pickle

Hey there!  here I'm back with another pickle recipe.  Sweet, sour and spicy green tomato pickle is very easy to prepare. Green tomatoes are the unripe tomatoes which are firm and sour. If you have green tomatoes and searching for recipe ideas than I have got two simple green tomato chutney recipes for you >  click here I love eating green or raw tomatoes.  Red tomatoes are available throughout the year but green tomatoes are quite seasonal. Today I got a basket of green tomatoes from my father and so I decided to make this pickle recipe. Green Tomato Pickle  📎 Course :  Pickle 📎Cuisine :  Indian INGREDIENTS: 7-8 green tomatoes  1/2 tsp cumin seeds  1/2 tsp coriander seeds  1/2 tsp mustard seeds  1/3 tsp fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp fennel seeds 1/2 tsp hing or asafoetida 1/2 tsp nigella seeds  1 tbsp red chilli powder  2 tbsp sugar  1/2 tbsp salt  1/2 cup mustard oil  1/2 tbsp white vinegar METHOD: Wash the green tomatoes under runnin

Bio Tableware By Mrinaljyoti Rehabilitation Center

  * This post is not a sponsored post. Disposable tableware have become indispensable in wedding, picnic and birthday parties. Usually paper plates are most commonly used. Paper plates can be composted after we eat on these plates,  as the food contaminates those. These plates also can be recycled if we don't eat on it. But all paper plates are not always bio-friendly. Some paper plates come with polythene sheet coated to make leak proof. These types of paper plates cannot be composted if we eat on it and cannot be recycled if we don't eat on it. Moreover trees are need to cut to make paper tableware.  There are several types of bio-friendly tableware. One of such is disposable leaf plates and bowls made from sheath of betel-nut tree. Betel-nut trees are abundantly grown in Assam. The sheath which primarily protects the betel-nuts in the tree, falls naturally once it is dried. These sheath are used to make tableware.  In making these no addictive are used and the colour of the

Kuji Thekera : How to Consume and Preserve

Kuji thekera (কুজীঁ ঠেকেৰা)  is a wonder fruit of Assam belongs to the garcinia  family. It's English name is gamboge . There are hundreds of species of garcenia. Kuji thekera is one of the variety of garcinia found in Assam. There are two more varieties of garcinia found in Assam : Bor thekera and Rupohi thekera. Among these three varieties of garcinia, it is believed in Ayurveda that, kuji thekera has more medicinal value. The scientific name of kuji thekera is  Garcinia morella (Gaertn.) Desr.  Kuji thekera  Kuji thekera fruit becomes yellow when ripe.  The fruit has seeds inside and is very sour in taste. The ripe kuji thekera fruits are de-seeded, sliced and then sun-dried. The sun-dried kuji thekera slices are then stored in a container and used as a medicine in the treatment of gastritis and dysentery. I think in every household in Assam, sun-dried  kuji thekera is stored and used for the treatment of stomach related problems. Kuji thekera slices  How to P

List of Spices(মচলা) with their English and Assamese names

 Here is a list of 25 spices (মচলা) with their English and Assamese names.  Assamese name = English name  Ada (আদা) = Ginger (Scientific name : Zingiber officinale)  Nohoru (নহৰু) = Garlic (Scientific name : Allium sativum)  Piyaj (পিয়াজ) = Onion ( Scientific name : Allium cepa)  Dhania (ধনিয়া) = Coriander ( Scientific name : Coriandrum sativum)  Jeera (জিৰা) = Cumin (Scientific name : Cuminum cyminum)  Ronga guri jolokia (ৰঙা গুৰি জলকীয়া) = Red chilli powder  Hukan jolokia (শুকান জলকীয়া) = Dry chilli  Kola nimokh (কলা নিমখ) = Black salt  Long (লং) = Clove ( Scientific name : Syzygium aromaticum)  Dalsini (দালচিনি) = Cinnamon  Elaichi (ইলাচী) = Cardamom  Kala jeera (ক'লা জিৰা) = Black cumin  Saunf (চ'ফ) = Fennel seeds ( Scientific name : Foeniculum vulgare)  Methi (মিথি) = Fenugreek ( Scientific name : Trigonella foenum-graecum ) Haldhi (হালধী) = Turmeric  Tejpat (তেজপাত) = Bay leaf  Jaluk (জালুক) = Pepper  Narasingha (নৰসিংহ) = Curry leaves  Til (তিল) = Sesame seeds ( Scientif

Kosu aru hukoti : Assamese style colocasia leaves with dry fish recipe

  Hukoti is ground dry fish. Hukoti is similar to namshing . Today I am going to share a simple Assamese style ground dry fish recipe : kosu aru hukoti . Tender leaves and stems of colocasia leaves are cooked with hukoti and served as a side dish with steamed rice. You can use namshing instead of hukoti and you will get the similar taste.  If you like colocasia leaves than you may also like : * Fish curry with colocasia * Dry fish with colocasia * Colocasia chutney Kosu aru hukoti : Assamese style colocasia leaves with dry fish recipe  📎 Course :  Side dish 📎Cuisine :  Assamese   🔪Preparation Time :  15 minutes ♨Cooking Time :  25 minutes  🕞Total :  40 minutes 🍴Servings :  2 INGREDIENTS: A bunch of colocasia leaves with stems 2 tbsp red lentil   1 big tomato or 10-15 cheery tomatoes 2 green chillies 1 tbsp mustard oil pinch of turmeric 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste  1 chopped onion  2 tbsp hukoti /namshing  salt to taste METHOD : Wash colocasia leaves with stems under running wate

Assamese Papaya Khar Recipe / অমিতাৰ খাৰ

Khar  is an alkali prepared from sun dried skin of some varieties of  banana.  It is prepared by filtering the water from the burn ashes of the skin of the banana. This khar extract is preserved in bottles and then used to make khar recipes. A traditional Assamese meal begin with khar. There are many different khar recipes and among them Papaya khar is very popular. *To know how to prepare khar  click here Assamese Papaya Khar Recipe / অমিতাৰ খাৰ  📎 Course :  Side dish 📎Cuisine : Assamese  🔪Preparation Time :  5 minutes ♨Cooking Time :  15 minutes  🕞Total :  20 minutes 🍴Servings : 2 INGREDIENTS: 1 cup chopped papaya  3-4 chopped garlic cloves  1-2 tbsp Khar  1 tbsp mustard oil  Salt to taste  METHOD: Boil papaya in a pressure cooker for 1 or 2 whistles.  In a pan heat mustard oil.  Add chopped garlic cloves.  When crackling, pour everything from the cooker.  Add khar and salt  Mix well and in medium heat cook for few minutes until papaya