Aakhol Ghor, the Assamese Cuisines and Foods from Assam

Its all about Food and Food Habits from the land of blue hills and red river, Assam.

Aakhol Ghor means Kitchen in Assamese. Assamese traditional Kitchens normally has two parts. First the dining area plus a small cooking space for tea etc. And the next bigger and more functional room is the actual kitchen with at least two earthen fire places (chowka).If you are a food lover you can hope to see a lot of authentic Assamese Recipes in this place......


Some famous Chef of India once said, " India is so unique, one can find three different recipes for the same chicken curry in the three houses lined in the same row. Every kitchen and every cook in India has it's own cook book, unlike rest of the world."
I personally feel it is so well said. Even in my case, you might find small to big differences in your known method of cooking and the ones posted here. I call them true Assamese for two main reasons, one: because of the spices used, and two: my granny knew nothing beyond her village ( she did not believe that cauliflower can be green, which is Broccoli). So whatever she cooked was passed on over generation. And my Mom finds it hard to believe anything can be cooked beyond her traditional methods( she is best at it, though she makes excellent Indo - Chinese things, invented). So please feel free to put in your comments / correction. One thing I can assure is I have cooked all these ( everything) myself with my own hands at least once. So whatever is here is tried and tested. You are always welcome to do your bit of experiment !!!!!

Haanh aaru Maah - Duck in Lentil

Haanh and Maah features in many a form in Assam. But the black lentil ( gota maati maah) is the king of taste and never fails to satisfy the taste buds or occasin.


1. Duck Meat - 1 Kg Chopped, I prefer small pieces, you pick yours. 
2. Black Lentil - 1 Cup, soaked for minimum 8 hours ( can be over night).
3. Onions - 1 big, Chopped. 
4. Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 table spoon
5. Fresh Cummin and Red Chilly Paste - 2 table spoon. 
Black Lentil - Whole, Slip, and Cleaned
6. Salt and turmeric - to taste
7. Oil - 2 table spoon.

Black Gram

Duck Meat, Chopped


For this you definately need a wok / pot with a air tight lid. 
Heat the pot and add oil. Add 3 and 4. When this is light brown, add meat, lentil and cummin chilly paste along with salt and turmeric. Fry till all the water evaporates and the meat starts to leave oil. 
Now add about 2 cups of water and cover with the lid. Let it shimmer till everything is cooked. You may need to keep adding water in between, just to check the consistency. I like it as a thick gravy, you can make it watery. But gravy is best. 

Serve with Chapati / Rice and something on the side !!

Photo Courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/krishnajina.deka

One More Green and Fish - Bor Manimuni Maasor Jhol

Ah Assam!! Seems we can eat green leafy vegitable and fish in infinite way. They seem to be mixed in so many ways, some times feels like repeat. But trust me they taste absolutely different and amazing in all versions. 

Mousumi Gogoi of Facebook did most of the work and as usual, picture is her's :

1. Bor manimuni(with roots):150 gm 
2. Small fish :200 gm any fish you like. 
3. Garlic:3/4 pods(crushed) 
4. Fenugreek seeds: a pinch 
5. Mustard oil - To fry the fish and a little for the curry.
6. Salt and Turmeric - To your taste.
7. Black pepper powder: 1/4 tsp 
8. Hot water - I normally use double the amount of curry I need.

Grind the bor-manimuni greens root and all.  Strain and keep the juice aside. If you are good with hands strain with hands by squeezing. My grand ma used to keep those lums tie them with a thread and drop in the curry, to be later taken out before serving. 
Wash and clean fish and marinate with salt and turmeric.Fry them 80% in a wok and in mustard oil, keep aside. 
In the remaining oil,add the fenugreek seeds to crackle. Add crushed garlic pods,salt,turmeric,manumuni extract and let it come to boil .Add the hot water and drop the fried fishes into the curry.

Let it simmer untill the the water is half in quantity. Just before turning off the fire,add the pepper powder.  Serve with steamed hot rice.

These details below are from Mousumi as well. 
Bor manimuni; (English name Asiatic pennywort),(Scientific name Centella asiatica) is popular for its medicinal values.It is antibacterial,antiviral ,anti-inflammatory and good for stomach related ailments!

Nangol Dhuwa Pitha / Tora Pitha - Steamed Rice Cakes

First of all, thank you Rupam Kowar from FB :  https://www.facebook.com/rupkon?directed_target_id=0. 
The original photo is his. 

I have been pondering over two things. Assam has 6 seasons ! And we Assamese know how to celebrate each moment with specific food and some sort of music. Guess we really came down from the heavens through a golden ladder, that we seem to know how to live life king size. Our food is simple and has exotic taste! How can something be so simple? Some times it is so simple that I do not know how to describe. Hence when I saw this picture, I could not resist but use it. 

Nangol Dhuwa is the end of all plowing season normally falls say Mid End Sept to Mid End October. This is the time when all farming jobs comes to a halt and the time to reap your harvest. People start to take life easy ( we are easy any way) and prepare for harvesting (not the witchy version).  

This is normally a small ritual at home, not much of fanfare ( because people are hardly left with much money) and then distribute some of this cooked Pitha to the neighbours. This also declares that till next farming season, we are done ! In olden days it was a social way of saying, '' now I am available for social causes and celebrations''. ( this is what I gathered from my grand father; he used to say '' eh tahati nagol dhuwai nai, keneke ahibo'' meaning '' Sigh, they have not yet hung their plough, how can we bother them''. 

Let me not go on and on about it, and give you the pitha recipe.

1. Banana Leaf - depending on how much and what size of pitha you want.
2. Rice Flour - Ideally Bora Saul, but any sticky rice - 2 Cup
3. Seasoning - Coconut Powder - 1/2 Cup
4. Salt & Sugar - As you like it.
5. A pot to boil.

Mix 2, 3 &4. Make a paste. NOT dough, thick paste ( thicker than your traditional pan cake).
Leave it for about two hours if you are using dry flour. In this case you will need more water.
If you are using fresh flour, you are ready to cook.
Now take about 2 table spoon for 1 pitha and wrap it up like in picture 4.
Let the water boil in a deep pan. Meanwhile your wrapping job may have been done. Once the water boils, remove from fire, put the packets you have made and drop them in water; put the pan back on fire.

You must be careful that all packets are submerged in water. Once the pitha is cooked, in most case it will float up. Else, just in case of fresh flour, it takes about 10-15 minutes depending upon where you are. Dry four takes a little more time.

Take them out and they are steamy hot.

If salty, serve with duck curry, if sweet eat with fresh cream or tea !!!

NOTE: You can use any other leaf that is traditionally used to steam in your place, a bit of flavour difference, but who cares. When I do sweet, I add a cardamom to the water just for fun; mind you not part of the original recipe. 

Xewali Phool Masor Khaar - Night Flowering Jesmin and Fish Curry/Gravy !

Some times I feel we Assamese seem to be eating whatever grows on earth! And we are extremely creative. In this season, I found one very apt recipie. I love this one, for it's simplicity and ability to cook is ASAP. So here we go.

This line I added after finishing the write up. I am now a days wondering is it too simple?? Pictures tomorrow.


1. Any river fish - I prefer Rahu/ Catla types. Magur goes good too. - 5 pieces.
2. One cup Sewali (night jesmin) flower - If you have, use fresh ( aunt recomended) else dry is fine.
3. Garlic - 15 cloves.
4. Khaaroni Paani - chose wisely. - 1/2 cup is fine.
5. Salt to taste.
6. Oil to fry. You need about 1 spoon for the garlic, rest for fish fry.


You can use left over fish head and such as it seem to happen very often in a home scenerio.
So, have the fish fried nicely, but not crispy. Wash and clean the flowers; try to clean and take out as much red water as possible. Add oil to a wok and split the garlic cloves. Fry till light brown. Add the flowers and fry a bit. Say about 3 minutes continously stirring and on high flame. Add Kharoni, salt and about three cup of water. Once this mixure comes to boil, add the fish, you can break them if you want to.

Let this shimmer and boil till the water reduces and comes to a gravy state.
You are done, serve with plain hot rice as the first course.

***You can add both a bit of red lentils and small potatos or one of them.Reduces the bitterness and increases the thickness of the gravy.

NOTE: Gathered from my all time fav Tora Pehi !!! Torkari khao tora pehi ka gun gao ( relish and praise aunt Tora) !!!