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Tai Khamyang Cuisine


At the very beginning a short introduction of the Tai Khamyang community of Assam :


Tai Khamyangs are popularly known as Nora. As many Khamyangs historically used 'Shyam' as their surname, so Tai Khamyangs are also popularity known as Shyam. Tai Khamyang is a subgroup of the greater Tai community of Assam. They are numerically a small group of indigenous Assamese community. The word 'Khamyang' is a Tai word which means 'having gold'. 'Kham' means - gold and 'yang' means - to have.  Tai Khamyangs are Buddhist by religion and are found in Sivsagar, Tinsukia,  Golaghat and Jorhat Districts of Assam and in few places of Arunachal Pradesh.



Tai Khamyang men and women in their traditional attire 

Tai Khamyang Cuisine :

Tai Khamyang cuisine is the cuisine of Tai Khamyang people residing in different parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Tai Khamyang people are non-vegetarian and rice is their main food.  They grow their own rice and prepare it in many ways.  Steamed rice wrapped in Ko leaves (Khau hou) is very popular and often served in ceremonies.


Khau hou

Sticky rice in bamboo hollow (Khaulam) is another mouthwatering dish, the Tai Khamyang people used to prepare. The variety of bamboo used is known locally as maidang. It is a thin and soft bamboo used only for this purpose. The bamboo has a thin membrane that coats rice during cooking and allowing the rice to stay in shape.


Maidang bamboo


Khaulam

A variety of green leafy vegetable are eaten by Khamyang people like nephaphu (Clerodendrum colebrookianum; East Indian Glory Bower), chengmora (lasia spinosa), bag has (bamboo shoots), bet gaj / raidang gaj (rattan shoots), mejenga (zanthoxylum oxyphillum), tikoni barua ( pickly Ivys), mitha mora (sweet jute leaves)  etc. These vegetables are preferably eaten as boiled.


The Khamyang people used very less amount of spices. Po-hoi-hom or Masala paat is a spice plant used by tai Khamyang community of Assam.  It's leaves are used as spice. They used this spice leaf basically in pumpkin curries and also in fish and meat recipes.


Po-hoi-hom

The tai Khamyang community of Assam use Lemon basil / thai basil leaves as spice leaves in currys, mashed grilled fish and mashed grilled chillis (jilokia pitika) recipes. Mashed grilled chillis is a speciality of Thai Khamyang community which they serve with every lunch or dinner. As this basil has a fresh lemon flavor, it emits a strong lemony taste in your mouth..


Lemon basil /thai basil 

Tai Khamyang people used some traditional methods to preserve fish and meat. Among meat pork is a favorite. Fish  and meat are generally smoked,  dried and preserved for later use.  laitenga is a traditional recipe prepared from fermented mustard greens with fish. Mature mustard green leaves are dried and preserved in bottles by adding starch.  The preserved greens becomes sour after few days and then used to make sour fish curry. The fermented mustard greens can be preserved in bottles for longer periods.

Like any other communities of Assam,  tai Khamyang people also make pitha and jolpan from sticky rice during Bihu.  Xandoh,  hurung, cira are some of the varieties they prepare and serve to their guests. Khau tak is a ball shaped dish prepared from  puffed  rice (akhoi) and jeggery during religious and other ceremonies.

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