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Home > Cuisine of India > East India > Assam
Assam Food

Fish Curry with RiceAssamese cuisine is a mixture of different indigenous as well as external influences with a lot of regional variations. It is characterized by the use of simple ingredients which are at times very flavorful and at times very pungent. Fermented food is very widely used, giving it a very distinct flavor. Preparations in Assam are rarely elaborate.

The Yagini Tantra provides some of the early geographical and cultural information about Assam.

The upper classes of Assam were permitted no scale-less or serpent-shaped fish. Certain meats (duck, pigeon, tortoise, wild boar ) were specially condemned, and those of the goat, deer and rhinoceros were permitted. A later historic work called the Kumara Harana, recommended pork cooked with soft roots of the banana. The favorite curry mentioned was an alkaline salty extract of banana roots cooked with certain aquatic green plants, and also with fish. Vegetables mentioned in the Yogini Tantra showed that both tubers and green leaves were important  in the early Assamese diet. The usual pulses and spices were made from milk , curds and ghee, and madhumada may have had a honey base. Rice beer was made domestically, and the tribal brewed a liquor called laopani. Bana records that in the 7th century AD the Emperor Harsha received from King Bhaskara of Assam cups of ullaka, which diffused the fragrance of swet wine.

People of Assam eat non-spicy foods and even bland at times. Rice is the staple diet and other supplementary food includes lentils, fish curry, meat curry along with herbs and vegetables. The curry is generally seasoned with ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, onions and sometimes lemon.

Sweets made during the festivals are usually made of rice paste. Pitha is a paper-thin pancake stuffed with sweet coconut paste or sweet black sesame seed paste.

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