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 !!!!!

Maas aaru Thekera Tenga

Well, THEKERA I think is again patented to the land of Assam. Though I could find out the English Name, it has a scientific name. It is green at the beginning, get deep purple when ripe and turns deeper purple or almost black when dried.It is a souring agent.

Thekera - Garcinia Mangostana of
Garcinia indica Family.

SO if you manage to import Thekera from Assam, great !!! Or else you can use other souring agents. But I like it with Thekera only.


1. Fish - 1 cleaned catfish, cut to about 3/4 inch pieces.
2. Turmeric - Half Teaspoon
3. Green chilies, Chopped - according to taste
4. Panch Foran
5. Mustard Oil
6. Salt to taste
7.The most important thing - Thekera


Put the "thekera" in a cup of water. A piece of thekera will give you one bowl of curry to serve one person.SO soak as much as you want. Keep for about 1/2 hour.Mix the turmeric and salt with the fish. Fry the fish in oil lightly. Remove from pan.

In the same pan, Remove the extra oil, leaving about a table spoon behind and add panch foran. Put green chillies. When fried, put the cup of water with "Thekera". Add extra cups of water (depending on the number of "Thekera" used). When it comes to boil, add fried fish and reduce flame
Let it simmer for some time (10-15 minutes), till the juice gets cooked and a tangy flavor comes out.

Serve with steamed rice.

Masor Aaloo Bilahi & Koldil Bhaaji

Here comes a main course recipe.

Masor Tenga - Rau ( Labio Rohita , scientific name) fish in tomato potato curry.

Ingredients :

1.Rau Fish 5 to 6 pieces big in size. ( can be more as per the no of people)
2. 2 Big potatos, boiled and peeled
3. 3 Medium or 2 Big sized tomato finely sliced along it's longitude. ( remove the seeds)
4. Fenugreek(Methi) seed about 1/4 tea spoon. It will be some 8 to 10 in no.
5. Green Chilly - 2 to 3 according to taste
6. Salt to taste
7. Turmeric
8. 1 spoon Coriander leaves chopped
9. Oil for frying ( preferably mustard oil)


Clean the fish pieces. add salt and turmeric to the pieces. Deep fry the pieces and keep aside.
From the fry pan, take out the extra oil leaving about 2 tea spoon behind. Add fenugreek seeds to the oil, sputter. Add the chopped tomatos.Cook till the tomatos are half tender. Add salt and turmeric to the tomato and cook till the tomato becomes a paste. Add the mashed potato to this and mix well. Add hot water almost double the curry you want. Let it boil till it bubbles. Add the fish pieces in to this watery curry. Add Green chillies. Shimmer and boil till the water becomes half and gives a blend.

Remove from flame, garnish with the coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice.

KOLDIL BHAAJI - Dry Sabji of banana flower:

This is quick fix. It goes well with the curry above.

1. One Banana Flower
2. One big potato
3. Dry Red Chilly
4. Bay leaves
5. Panch Foron - check the details in the side bar
6. Salt and Termeric
7. Mustard oil.


Remove a few of the outer covers of the banana flower. When you can see the lighter inside colors, thats it. Start chopping this whole flower from the pointed side ( my mother takes out about 2cm before chopping). Finely chopp the whole flower till you reach the end. Throw off the last half inch of the flower. Now add some oil to this. smash well with your hand. Mix for about 5 minutes like you kneed your dough. Squeeze out any water.

Cut the potato in to 2cm cubes. Do not forget to wash and peel.


Heat a deep pan on flame, add 2 spoons of oil. Add panch foron to it. It will immediately sputter.
Add one bay leave and the dry chillys. Add the banana flower and the potato almost immediately. Add salt and Turmeric. mix well. Cover and put the flame on low. Let it cook. Check in between so that it does not burn. When potato is cooked, remove the lid and put the flame on high. Stir continuously for about 5 minutes more. ( be careful not to break the potatos).
Remove from flame. Serve hot, with steam rice and curry.

A Complete Assamese Lunch Platter ( Assamese Thali)

I am still researching on how many courses an Assamese Meal can be; however I will try to put up one full platter here. Assamese platters are normally served in typical Indian Thali Style in bowls.

One traditional assamese plate is made up of an alloy metal called Ka(n)h in assamese. This is a assamese copy write product as it is produced only in Assam. A royal or most respectful version is a High Plate with stands for bowls. This is called "Maiheng Kaahi". The next one is a normal plate with bowls. In a family the size of the serving plate decides the rank and respect of the member of the family. A very small sized and cute plates are normally for the eye candy of the family.

You seat on a "Bor Peera", it would be like a table but of the size of a seating mat and of about 4 to 6 inches in height. Eat from your plate and Drink from your own "Ghoti and Gilas". A Ghoti is a personalized water jug normally round in shape and a Gilas is a Water glass. Both of these are made of Pitol or Kaa(n)h.

Now the Items:

  1. Steamed Rice - Bhaat

  2. Xaak Bhaaji - Dry green leafy vegetable.

  3. Daal - Dail or Daali

  4. Khaar - A kind of veg / non veg item

  5. Bhaaji - Dry veg

  6. Torkari - wet veg

  7. Maasor Aanja - Fish Curry, normally sour (tenga aanja)

  8. Mandxor Jol - Meat or Chicken

  9. Chutney

  10. Some Fries - can be of various vegetables.

  11. Pitika - a side dish , kind of a mash.

  12. Asaar - achar or pickle.

I think I need to start some where in telling how to prepare all of the above.
so here we go............

Breakfast - Paani Pitha

This is a typical assamese delicacy. This is one of my personal favorite. This is quick make and good to taste.

  1. Wheat flour
  2. Salt / Sugar to taste
  3. Onion for the salted version
  4. very little oil for frying


Mix wheat and sugar and salt+ onion. If you like sweet salt taste, then do not add the onion and add salt and sugar both to taste. Add water and mix well. It should be neither too thick nor thin. Can be of the same density as that of a cake batter.

Heat a flat pan to a medium hot. sprinkle some oil. Take a medium scoop of the batter. Add to the pan and spread fast in a circular motion. Low the flame. Cover for sometime ( it depends on the thickness of you pan). Reverse it and cook the other side. if you want a little crispy, add some more oil. Once cooked remove from flame and repeat the process for the rest of the 'pitha'.

Your pitha is ready. You can use rice flour in place of wheat flour. But you need practice to do so. You can have it with hot tea. You can serve it with Dry Potato veg ( xukan aaloo bhaaji) or simply honey.

Bambo Shoot Recipes

Here are the two Assamese recipes. These are from Assamese Cuisine by Neelaxi Arora

Lentil and Bamboo Shoot

1 cup lentil, soaked for 1 hour
1 cup grated bamboo shoots
4 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp methi seeds
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp grated ginger
4 green chilis, chopped
4 bay leaves

Cook the dal till thick and almost dry, then mix the bamboo shoots into the dal. Heat oil, fry methi, then add garlic, ginger, chilis and bay leaves. Fry one minute. Add the lentil and bamboo mixture and keep cooking until all the water has evaporated.

Breakfast - Komol Saul Xijoa

Komol Saul - roasted boiled rice.

Ingredient :

1. Broken Boiled Rice, soaked overnight
2. Milk or Curd
3. Sugar or Jaggery

Drain out all water from the rice soaked overnight. Let it dry till all the water is virtually gone.
Put a dry pan on the flame. Dry roast the rice in it till the rice sputters. Remove from flame and let it cool. You can store it for a long time.

Take adequate amount of rice. Boil enough water in a pan. When the water starts boiling, add the amount of rice to be cooked. Let he rice boil till soft. Drain out all the excess water.
Serve hot with milk or curd and sugar. With milk banana can be added.


Take the rice and add finely chopped ginger and salt. Add a little luke warm water. You can add some oil from your pickle bottle ( red chilly pickle or sour berry pickle best suited)

Breakfast - Xandoh Guri

Xaandoh guri - Powdered Rice. Assamese cousin of English porridge / oat meal.

1. Boiled Rice
2. Milk
3. Sugar

Roast the rice in a dry pan till light brown. The rice will sputter. Remove from flame and grind till powder. Do not make it super fine powder.

Take 2 to 3 spoon of this powder, add milk and Sugar. Add enough milk to soak the rice powder completely. Your porridge is ready. You can add banana to it for taste.