Assam is a north eastern state that is known for its diversity and amalgamation of culture. Since ancient ages, people of various religious faiths have lived in the hilly state and the culture has soaked in elements of those tribes and sects. Christianity and Buddhism have existed here as has Islam. Even Assamese cuisine has imbibed elements from others. The notable instance of this eclectic blend is the Assamese Muslim cuisine.
History of Assamese Muslim cuisine
Assamese cuisine has soaked in elements from the cuisines of neighboring countries like Bangladesh and adjacent states like West Bengal over the years. Similarly, Muslim cuisine in Assam has also got a distinct trait which is hard to find elsewhere in India. Islam reached in the state way back in 13th century, before the Ahom rulers came. Since then Muslims have existed in Assam. The Muslim cuisine in Assam has also evolved with time and the delicacies are absolutely mouth watering.
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Nuances of Assamese Muslim cuisine.
pioneer in this regard Of late, a number of Muslims based in Assam have taken endeavors to introduce their unique culinary style to the outside world. One such instance is a Guwahati based homemaker, Shabnam Borah. Her son Sarwar is another
Assamese Muslim cuisine blends basics of Muslim culinary traditions with Assamese cooking style and the result is irresistible. For example, the Shaami Kebabs are not like typical kebabs you get in other states of India. These have fresh lime juice, raisin and whole mint leaf.
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The Chicken Korma Pulao is made with Assam's jouha rice instead of typical basmati rice. Even the Mutton Rizala is prepared in a different way. Assamese Muslims usually cook dishes in mustard oil and use mild spices, a departure from mainstream Muslim culinary traditions. Using black pepper is preferred over red chilli powder.
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Elements of traditional cuisine of Assam have been adopted nicely by Assamese Muslims over the years. The examples are delicacies like Xoriyoh di Maas (Fish cooked with mustard seeds) and Masor Muri Ghonto (dal made with fish head). Both dishes, however, vary slightly from the way they are cooked in neighboring west Bengal. Assam based Muslims have started using vegetables like gourd and pumpkin in making meat dishes, a practice not usually seen in Muslims elsewhere in India. They like gorging on dishes like chicken with white gourd.
Another trait of Assamese Muslim cuisine is the variety of vegetable based dishes. The koldilor bhaji (banana flower stir fry) and Assamese version of sarson da saag are dishes that will make you licking the fingers. The veg as well as non vegetarian dishes cooked in this style are quite light and tasty. They make use of both indigenous vegetables of the state along with produce that are found everywhere.
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