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Water Hyacinth : The Most Amazing Vegetable I Found During My Visit To Tipam

 Food and travel go hand in hand. I always like to try new food, specially the local food whenever I travel. My recent visit to Tipam was not an amazing one in terms of testing food, as we didn't  find a good  eatery. But the most amazing thing happened was that we found a vegetable vendor who was selling water hyacinth (meteka) in his bicycle. I once tasted a water hyacinth dish in my mom's place but haven't cooked it myself. So I bought two bunches of water hyacinth's leaves with stems from him. As he was also selling water hyacinth's blossoms, I bought it too which was a new vegetable for me. 

A bunch of water hyacinth plant
Water hyacinth 

Blossoms of water hyacinth plant
Water hyacinth's blossoms 

Tipam is located in the Naharkatia Tehsil of Dibrugarh district of Assam. Tipam was the first capital of Ahom dynasty. The first Ahom king Swargadeo Chaolung Sukapha is said to have set his first foot hear after he entered Assam.  The main attraction of Tipam is the Deosali hill which is a beautiful hill surrounded by beautiful tea plantation. Above the hill there is a Deohal - a worshiping place of Tai-Ahoms.

A worshiping place at Tipam hill
The Deohal 

Worshiping place of Tai Ahoms
Worshiping place of Tai-Ahoms 

Stairway to tipam hill
Stairway to Tipam hill

The stairway to the Deosali hill contains 1065 steps. As I recovered from Covid just a month ago, it becomes really very difficult for me to climb up the hill. I took two small breaks, ate an orange in between my climb. 

The view from the hilltop was absolutely beautiful. Surrounded by greenery, the view of Dihing river passed by its side was very mesmerizing. 

View from Tipam hilltop
View from Tipam hilltop 


Back home, I searched in the internet and found that the binomial name of water hyacinth is Eichhornia crassipes. In Assamese it is called meteka (মেটেকা). Water hyacinth is a free floating aquatic plant that has purple flowers. In north-east India, water hyacinth's stems are used to make a fiber which are used to make bags, hats, vases etc.

 Water hyacinth plant is quite popular in Taiwan and used as a carotene rich vegetable. Javanese also cook and eat the greens of water hyacinth and inflorescence. It is also quite popular in Vietnam as Vietnamese cook the plant and sometimes add the young leaves of water hyacinth and flowers to their salads. 

Water hyacinth is not so popular as a vegetable in Assam. As I enquired here and there I came to know that water hyacinth's flowers best taste when fried with small fishes. Both water hyacinth greens and flowers took little more time to cook.  

I cooked water hyacinth's flowers with eggs and cooked water hyacinth greens with dry fish. Get the detail recipes below. 

Stir Fried Water Hyacinth's Flowers With Eggs :

📎Course : Side dish 
🔪Preparation Time : 10 minutes
♨Cooking Time : 20 minutes
🕞Total : 30 minutes 
🍴Servings : 2

Stir fried water hyacinth flowers with eggs
Stir fried water hyacinth

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of  water hyacinth's blossoms or flowers 
  • 2 eggs,  beaten 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped 
  • 1 cup spring onions, chopped 
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves 
  •  pinch of turmeric 
  •  2 tbsp mustard oil 
  • salt to taste 


METHOD:

  1. Wash water hyacinth's flowers under running water. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan.  Add chopped onions.  Fry till translucent .
  3. Add turmeric powder.  
  4. Now add water hyacinth's flowers, chopped spring onions and chopped green chillies.  
  5. Add salt. Mix well. Cook until water hyacinth's flowers become tender and soft. 
  6. Add beaten eggs. Mix well to combine them together. Stir again for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. 
  8. Remove from heat.  Serve hot with steamed rice as a side dish.

Water Hyacinth With Dry Fish :

Water hyacinth greens need more time to cook than its flowers. So it's better to boil them first. I have used pressure cooker for the purpose to save time. 

There are many varieties of dry  fish  available in the market. Here  in this recipe I am using small dry fish which are dried on smoke over the open fire cooking stove by the village people.

📎Course : Side dish 
🔪Preparation Time : 10 minutes
♨Cooking Time : 10+15 minutes
🕞Total : 35 minutes 
🍴Servings : 2

Water hyacinth with dry fish
Water hyacinth with dry fish 

Small dry fish
Dry fish 

INGREDIENTS:
  • A bunch of water hyacinth's leaves with stems
  • 6-8 dry fish
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  •  salt to taste

METHOD:
  1. Soak dry fishes in warm water for 5 minutes.
  2. Wash water hyacinth's leaves with stems in running water.  Chop roughly. I'm using only the tender parts of water hyacinth's leaves and stems. 
  3. In a pressure cooker take chopped water hyacinth's leaves with stems. Add 2-3 cups of water Close  the lid. In high heat cook for 2-3 whistles.
  4. Remove from heat. Let the cooker open itself. Drain and keep aside. 
  5. In a pan heat oil.  Add ginger garlic paste.  Add chopped onions.  Add turmeric. Mix well.
  6. Add boiled water hyacinth's leaves and stems. 
  7. In high heat cook for some time. Mix well.
  8. Add salt. Add dry fishes.
  9. Add black pepper powder.
  10. Cook for 5 minutes in medium heat by covering the lid.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. Serve hot with steamed rice. 

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