Bhogali Bihu, the harvest festival so dear to the various Assamese communities, has once again brought to the fore the fact that the Bihu delicacies that the Assamese people prepare are some of the best in the world in general and India in particular.
Bihu Special Food Items
Here is the long list of Bihu festival foods...
'Jalpan' which comprises chira, muri, akhoi, hurum, pitha-guri, sandoh-guri, komal-chaul, gur, doi and milk – is totally devoid of any spices, including salt. Yet, whether one just takes any of these items alone, or takes a combination of several or all of them
Specialities: It is not just very tasty, but also very healthy & nutritious. Not even one of the above items is manufactured by frying or using oil, except for a couple of items like the ghila-pitha and malpowa-pitha. And if one takes a banana – preferably a bheem-kol or honda-kol – with it, the taste and nutrition-value of a jalpan only increases manifold.
Even the laroo – whether made of ground til (sesame), rice powder or coconut powder – is one of the healthiest items found across India. The various traditional Assamese dishes which are prepared during the feast of uruka or eve of Bhogali Bihu too are devoid of the various kinds of spices – masala – which communities in most other parts of India cannot even think of.
Some may consider authentic Assamese cuisine as bland because very little oil is used and practically no spices except for green chillies and ginger. In villages, even turmeric is mostly absent. Yes, meat – mutton, duck, chicken, pork – is also cooked that way. Yet, they are very delicious. Cardamom, cinnamon and onions are only recent entrants into the various ethnic cuisines of Assam.
3. Fish Recipes
When it comes to cooking various recipes of fish too, there are hardly any of the typical masala ingredients. The taste of the fish tenga-anja in fact has remained matchless and inimitable for centuries, with the kazi-nemu or gol-nemu reigning supreme over it.
Yet, even as a number of restaurants and eateries have sprung up across Assam which offer traditional & ethnic food, two things have remained a cause of concern for the culinary connoisseur –
- The quality of food has not been standardised, and
- Authentic Assamese & ethnic cuisine have not yet been able to catch the imagination and attention of the global foodie.
What appears is that point 1st is definitely responsible for point 2nd. Those entering the business of food probably need to look at the first aspect first, and then work out strategies to realise the second aspect. After all, Bihu is synonymous with the Assamese.
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