Assam is a land that has a variety of yummy dishes which are healthy, filling and quite less in spicy content. Unlike the regional based dishes of a number of Indian places which abounds in spices, Assamese cuisine does not comprise of a large amount of condiments but has the capacity to charm the taste buds of every person with the few local ingredients that goes into its making. With the daily food platter of the Assamese people comprising of dishes that has been churned out with a few ingredients, it is a fact that the taste of the main constituent of the dish will become more prominent in the mouth as you continue to chew with your teeth and feel it with your tongue. Besides being delicious, a number of Assamese dishes does not give you the feel that you had just tucked into a hearty meal but it will, nevertheless, satiate your hunger levels for long hours and give you the healthy boost of energy to perform your tasks of the day without making you feel drowsy which sometimes happens when you gobble up every food item present in the dining table in large amounts. An Assamese breakfast, lunch and dinner plate will mostly comprise of a number of side dishes which are the comfort food of the people of the state besides the mandatory rice (bhaat) and dal (dali)
Here is a list of the dishes which are consumed popularly as comfort food in Assam-
Aloo Pitika (Mashed Potatoes)
The foremost comfort food item of the Assamese people which is found almost every day in a breakfast, lunch and dinner plate is the Aloo Pitika. Although it is basically made by boiling potatoes and mashing them with only mustard oil and salt, its superbly delicious taste has a mysterious charm to it which cannot be resisted by anyone so it is often eaten daily as a side dish. However, many other produce such as boiled eggs, onions and other veggies may go in the making of an Aloo Pitika to enhance its deliciousness. Aloo Pitika has the real, healthy and filling taste of the potato so it works its magic around the taste buds thereby making it the No. 1 comfort food of Assam.
Masor Tenga ( Tangy Fish Curry)
Being a land through which the mighty river Brahmaputra flows by and abounding in a number of wetlands, Assam is a storehouse of various fishes. For this reason, a fish is a popular dish that is enjoyed by the Assamese people. Although it is mostly relished in its fried version and also enjoyed by conjuring up with a number of spicy curries where many veggies go, nothing beats the flavor level of a fish when it is prepared with a tangy curry. The fleshiness of the fish becomes more pronounced and the additional sour taste of the curry can make anyone swoon away with the level of deliciousness. Masor Tenga is mostly made with sour fruits and veggies like elephant apple, tomatoes and lemon.
Xaak Bhaji ( Green Leafy Vegetables Fries)
Assamese people are head-over-heels with the different types of green leafy vegetables or herbs that are grown in abundance across the state of Assam. Besides being deeply fried in oil and seasoned with salt, ginger, garlic, chillies, onions, various vegetables like bottlegourd, pumpkin, brinjal, potatoes are added to Xaak so that the side dish can become more tasty and healthy. Xaak Bhaji is consumed on a regular basis and this side dish can also help in elevating moods of the Assamese people whenever it is found on a plate for a meal.
Paror Mangkho (Pigeon Meat Curry)
Although pigeon meat might be less popular in most parts of India, it is a staple delicacy of the Assamese people. Pigeon meat is known as Paror Mangkho in Assamese language. The meat is enjoyed by mostly preparing it with a delicious potato based curry seasoned with ginger- garlic and onion paste. As pigeon meat has the capacity to give a warm sensation to the body, it is mostly consumed during winter months. Apart from potatoes, pigeon meat is also enjoyed with a papaya and banana flower based curry. As pigeon meat is one of the highly loved non-vegetarian dishes of Assam, it features prominently as a food item of an Assamese platter.
Hahor Mangkho (Duck Meat Curry)
One of the most popular meat based dishes of Assam, the duck meat curry is consumed by the people of the state in various ways. Due to the presence of the tender flesh of duck meat, it can be easily bitten into and chewed up in no time. As the Assamese people are obsessed with duck meat, special meals for festive or important occasions always comprises this dish as a part of the food menu. Duck meat curries are mostly prepared with vegetables like potatoes, sesame seeds, pumpkin and different varieties of gourds.
Outengar Dail (Lentils with elephant apple)
As elephant apple is a prized food commodity of Assam, it always features as an ingredient in the curries and chutneys of the state. However, it is also added to lentils so that the staple food item can be relished as a kind of coolant in the summer season. When an elephant apple is boiled with lentils, it gives a distinctly sour and delicious flavour to it thereby turning the whole dish into a unique one.
Khar (Alkaline based local dish)
Khar is obtained by filtering out liquid from a solution of water and dried, charred banana peel. This alkaline solution is added to various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to make Khar. The most common types of Khar are prepared with papaya, gourds, brinjal and fish. Khar renders a distinct flavour to the dish and it gives a uniquely strong taste to the tongue when consumed. The people of Assam are so fond of Khar that there is a self-proclaimed nickname of the community known as ‘Khar Khua Axomiya (Khar eating Assamese people)
Doi Chira (Beaten rice flakes with curd)
One of the yummiest and sweetest Assamese dishes, Doi Chira is mostly consumed as a breakfast meal. The amalgamation of curd and jaggery / sugar with beaten rice flakes is a mouth-watering dish that is mostly consumed during Bihu festivities. However, it is also consumed as a morning meal or as a heavy snack for special occasions too. The creaminess of the curd and the extreme sweetness of the jaggery or sugar combined well with the dry and crispy beaten rice flakes to produce a heavenly dish to satiate any person.
Pitha ( Rice Cakes)
The people of Assam have got a variety of Pithas or rice cakes to savour it as a mid-day snack or as an accompaniment with tea. Pithas can be fried, steamed or roasted but every variety requires proper execution of its cooking method otherwise there is a high risk of it getting burnt or losing out its authentic flavour. Coconut and sesame seeds are the popular add-ons to Pithas to enhance its taste. Although Pithas are mostly prepared for Bihu, it is also commonly prepared across Assamese homes to enjoy it as a homemade snack.
As almost every state of India has its own special Laddoos, Assam also has got its own versions which are known as Larus in local language. Larus are also enjoyed as snacks. Like Pithas, Larus are mainly made for Bihu but it is also prepared regularly to consume it as an everyday savoury. The most common forms of Larus that are widely eaten are the Narikol (Coconut) and Til (Sesame) Laru.
With a number of tasty dishes on offer, no person can leave an Assamese home without having satisfied himself /herself with local delicacies.