Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sharmin Assam Foodie

                 It's an honor to have Sharmin as my guest writer today.
Sharmin, is a freelance writer and stylist based in Dubai. Her work has appeared in several magazines, with a focus on health, beauty, travel and the culinary arts. She has published more than 200 features till date. Her passion for food from Assam, where she hails from has led her to create the Assamese Cuisine And Recipes fan page on Face Book, which currently boasts over 12500 members. She also enjoys travel and photography .                                                
I first met Sharmin through my blog .Few mails later realized apart from our love for Assamese Cuisine we also shared a common 'Shillong Connection'. It was then that i came across her popular fan page on Face Book .On asking her that what inspired her to start this page her answer was - away from Assam ,and with no access to any Assamese cookbook ,I realized that there was no barely any resources on the web on Assamese food and with the modern kitchen in use, many traditional recipes were no longer used.The page was created to show case our wonderful cuisine to the world and to preserve some of out ethnic recipes for generations to come .I believe, food connects us to our culture, It reflects our history . It is is everything we are .Since than she has my greatest admiration for her work and for the person she is.Today she shares with us this wonderful
photo feature and recipes related to Bora Saul , an integral part of Assamese Cuisine. Thank you Sharmin .

                                                      BORA SAUL

johabora saul
Bora Saul, a variety of sticky rice found in Assam, plays such an important role in Assamese culture that it is not surprising to find many festivals and traditions revolve around this particular rice. Bora rice is believed to have been introduced to Assam by the Ahoms. During the Ahom reign in Assam, a sticky rice mortar was made by adding Egg and Black Lentils to mortar materials. The resulting material was used in Ranghar (meaning Amusement House), a double-storied pavilion located in Sibsagar, Assam and many other structures. The grains can still be found in its original form even after hundreds of years of its construction.

There are over forty types of sticky or glutinous rice in Assam. They are classified into two groups, Bora and Chokuwa, based on their Amylose and Amylopectin content, starches responsible for their sticky quality. Birain is also another class of glutinous rice, popular in Barak valley of Assam. This group of rice is called glutinous in the sense of being glue-like or sticky and not in the sense of containing gluten. They range from Black, Red to White. Popular varieties of Bora are, Bogabora, Johabora, Rangabora, Kolabora and Rupahibora.
kola bora pitha

Uses :No Assamese festival is complete without snacks made from Bora Saul. The rice is ground to make rice flour.This flour is then made into snack items called Pitha , which are an integral part of the festival called Bihu .Snacks such as Hurum, a type of puffed rice ,Cheera a type of beaten flat rice and Mah Korai ,a combination of black lentils ,sticky rice grains,sesame seeds and nuts made fropm Bora Saul ,Sunga Saul ,anothetr Assamese favorite ,are all an inevitable part of Assamese festivals.

bora saul with jaggery and cream

Sticky Rice is also served as dessert, where cooked sticky rice is combined with sugar or jaggery and curd made from buffalo milk. In certain parts of Assam it is eaten for breakfast with sugar and curds or mustard oil and salt.
It is also used for preparation of indigenous rice beer. The thick, milky alcohol can be enjoyed with a meal or by itself. It is said to have medicinal and curative values. It is also offered to deities by certain tribes and is an essential part of their certain religious and cultural ceremonies.                         
 1 : Maah Korai
mah korai
1 cup White sticky rice (Bora saul)
½ cup whole black gram (Mati dail)
3 tbs white Sesame seed
1 tbs grated ginger
1/2 cup peanuts
1/4 cup chopped toasted coconut bits
Salt, to taste.
Dry roast the ingredients

other than the coconut.
Mix together in large bowl.
Season with salt and serve.       
2 : Til Pitha                                                                       
til pitha
500g Sticky rice (bora saul)
200g jaggery, grated
200g Black sesame seed.
Soak the rice for few hours

until soft .
Drain the excess water and

grind the 
rice to a fine powder.
Sieve, cover with a damp

cloth and 
keep aside
Toast the sesame seeds and

crush them 
while still warm.
Mix the sesame seed with

the grated 
Heat an unseasoned griddle

Take a handful of rice power

spread it in sweeping motion

to form a 
disc of roughly 4"diameter.
Sprinkle sesame and jaggery mixture in
the center. Roll into cylindrical shape.Move it to the side of griddle.Remove when crisp.Serve with tea.Black sticky rice (kola bora saul) can be used to make the above recipe, although not common.
        For more recipes from her you can check here too ... Easy Eats .

UPDATE :Because many readers wanted to know if Bora Saul is similar to Thailand Sticky Rice ,Sharmin sent me this picture where the similarity is quite evident .I am adding same picture to the post .


  1. A mouth watering post with a touch of tradition..
    Enjoyed reading the post

  2. This looks really delicious, Kavita. Is this sticky rice like the Thai sticky rice? I shall have to get myself to India someday to try some of this amazing food.

  3. eight years out of Assam we are deprived of the awesome delicacies of Assam..though my mother sends us pitha and naroo during Bihu, I miss the 'doi cheera, maah korai, sunga pitha', etc..todays post took me to the golden old days where we used to have all these either it was bihu or not..thanks Kavita for the beautiful post and Sharmin for the beautiful photograph of 'Maah korai'..luv ranita

  4. Mouth-watering dishes. I will also visit Sharmin's facebook page.

  5. bom dia querida kavita
    era hora que eu botasse o tradutor nè???
    querida hoje usei o tradutor no seu blog.
    adorei conhecer essa moça simpatica e com tantos interesses.
    eu tambem gosto muito de culinaria,
    e para quem como eu gosta de comer,
    na italia estou no paraiso.
    querida obrigado pelo recadinho,volte sempre è sempre um prazer ter vc no meu humilde bloguinho.
    bacione da italia

  6. nice to see you & others are trying to preserve your culture.

    Keep it up. Keep Smiling.

  7. Dear Kavita .Thank you for having me as a guest in your beautiful blog.
    Its lovely to read the comments from your visitors as well.Thank you.

  8. Interesting information about food from Assam. Thanks for sharing.
    Hi Sharmin,
    Thanks for all the
    information.Everything looks delicious.

  9. it looks yummy. interesting how different regions of the same country have their specialities. My husband is from texas and often comments about this dish or that that he misses from his childhood.

  10. @Kavita: Sharmin looks as gorgeous as her recipes! :-D

    Now, I have an additional anxiety issue: Just as I will never be able to read all the books, see all the places I want to, I cannot taste all the kind of foods as I would love to! :-o

  11. nice write !
    just slobbering ... !!

  12. Language and food connects people across from far away.
    It is also a fact that generally culinary specialists are as magnific like the gourmet dishes they lay out.
    Your friend does not seem to be an exception.

  13. I order sticky rice all the time when I dine at Thai restaurants in Hawaii. I also love to eat sticky rice with ripe mangos. Yum!

  14. Nice to meet Sharmin through your blog, Kavita.
    Everything looks so good!
    Thanks for sharing the great pictures and recipes, Sharmin.
    Wish you much success!

    Margie :)

  15. very interesting never heard of these recipes ..its so unqiue ..
    thanks for sharing page of sharmin

  16. With zero interest and zero skill in cooking, I still read some parts. Her profile appears very interesting. :)))

  17. thats a treat for all of us...
    getting to know someone i wouldnt otherwise perhaps know and of course these delicacies :P

    thanks for sharing...

  18. This is great. One place for all who want to learn and taste Assam food.

  19. The food looks inviting.

    We get connected with food no matter which part of the world we are from isnt it?

    I wish I could taste all those; looks yum for sure!

  20. I had read about the bora rice before but had not seen it. I happened to see the pictures on this blog before I went through the information and I mistook the Bora rice to be pods of garlic. :)
    Are they real big grains?

    Well this post is very informative as your posts always are.

    Hello to Sharmin and next thing I'll do is jump to her facebook page. Thanks for the introcudtion Kavita.

  21. Dear Kavita,

    I am trying to comment in your 'Sharmin' post. Something is
    wrong...don't know if it is on my side or not. Anyway, I can see from
    the recipe and pictures that the bora rice is hand made and so very
    good for health. Til, dry coconut, nuts, jaggery...all the
    ingredients are very good for health. Your children must be eating
    these things as snacks. I am going to try these things, when we visit
    your area, Kavita. I love your blog mainly for this reason...we are
    coming to know so many things related to Assam, which we never knew,
    thank you!

    Take care,


  22. I want to eat i want to eat i want to eat :) yummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy


  23. Thanks for another informative post and those yummy sounding recipes.

  24. Interesting, enlightening and delicious post!! :D
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  25. delicious post indeed...hey Dr...u never told me abt yr dubai u have reason to visit here..:)

  26. Aaah. This post has left me hungry. It is cheese sandwich and crisps for me. :(

  27. Believing that Sharmin is still reading these comments, I wish to add my thank you to those others, for a glimpse into her culture, through food.

    Probably more telling about a country's Peeps, even more than their costume, is what they EAT. And to what other uses food is put.

    And...AND, how strikingly beautiful is Sharmin!

    So kavita..the best thanks are for you, who let your blog spave to another for this weekend.

    PEACE to all.

  28. HEY, woman...I just became your 'follower' #300!!!!! And happy about being here. So THERE!
    Steve E
    Also you are on my sidebar now.

  29. Thanks to Kavita for the beautiful post and Sharmin for beautiful photography, I enjoyed reading your post!

  30. Very beautiful post with delicious and mouth watering dishes. I always enjoy reading your post as you portray very nicely. I went to Assam 15 years before and was thinking about the delicacies of Assam.

  31. Glad to know that this piece has been so well received.Thank you all who have taken time to leave a comment.
    To answer ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ/Ashwini's query:Bora grain is smaller than Basmati rice approx size would be about 5-6 mm

  32. Kavita,

    Informative and tempting.

    Take care

  33. AMAZING blog. Great variety of posts. And I Dont know if its your blog, but I am suddenly VERY hungry. And I just had lunch.

    much love and best wishes
    Scribblers Inc.

  34. A really unique post. Informative as always with great pics. You chose your guest writer well.

  35. Didi, Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, glad to meet Sharmin through your words.

    Usually when people share recipes and cuisines, they explain the cooking procedure and health benefits - but its very interesting that you even share the history behind it!! and discuss its uses in detail :)

    You take the effort and extra time to explain things in simple words and wonderful photos, thats what makes your blog unique!! :)

    Bora Saul's dishes look very delicious, hope I get a chance to try it sometime!! :)

  36. nice recipe.
    a writer from Dubai..hmm..

  37. beautiful post with delicious and mouth watering dishes.

  38. Sharmin is lovely. The post is good, and is this sticky rice like Thai rice. In Bangalore, I haven't come across Assamese food at all, Tibetan food -yes but not Assamese. You posts bring out your passion for food and I love that. I am very similar :).

  39. Absolutely wonderful! Keep it coming! :)

  40. It's so nice to know about Sharmin, and that was a delicious post :)
    I so wanna eat Maah Korai now ;)

  41. These dishes look yummy. I wonder if this rice is available in my country. She is a beautiful and talented woman. Thanks for sharing all this information with us. Have a nice week.

  42. this food is so tempting!

    Your sister is lovely - like you

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral


    > < } } ( ° >

    < ° ) } } > <

  43. oh my god! i am hungry now!
    mouth watering post!

  44. Sumandebray : i am aware of your love for NE.Thanks.

    Kay : Yes,it is similar to Thai sticky rice.Hope you do travel to India soon :)Thanks.

    Ranita : i am glad that you liked it .Hug you back.Thanks.

    Onkar :thanks a lot .

    Casa de fifa : Edna thanks a lot for trying the translator.Thanks.

    Makk : welcome here .Thanks .

    Sharmin:pleasure is all mine.Thanks.

    Rama:thanks a lot .

    Lin :Food from childhood /home is always best.Thanks.

    Balachandran: You are right ,they are gorgeous .And why be anxious,just direct your bike travels towards this part of country .Thanks.

    Anil Kurup: thank you so much Anil.

    Daanish : welcome here.Thanks.

  45. Gigi : i am going to try bora saul with ripe mango as mangoes are in season now.Thanks.

    Margie:thanks a lot for your encouragement Margie.

    Harman:these recipes are unique to Assam.Thanks a lot Harman.

    A : Thank you so much Amrit.You are wonderful .

    Deeps :Thanks a lot .

    Rajesh :yes ACAR is a great place for people who love Assamese cuisine.Thanks.

    Magic eye: thanks a lot Deepak.

    Insignia :i hope you get to taste them soon.Thanks.

    Ashwini :well Sharmin always answered your question.A big thanks for checking out ACAR.

    Sandhya: well i copy pasted your comment.You are right because most of the dishes here are low in fat/salt/sugar,they indeed are a healthy option.

  46. Rupa :thanks.

    Bikram: yayyyy .Thanks.

    Petty Witter:thanks a lot.

    Shilpa:glad you find it so.Thanks.

    Ramesh :yey Dubai

    Zeba : awww .Thanks.

    Steve E :welcome here .A big thanks for everything.

    Grandma's Scrapbook : thanks a lot Steve.

    Babli : thanks a lot for finding them interesting .

    Jack:thank you so much.

    Scribbler Inc:welcome here .You have a fab page Mithun.

    Holy Lama: so glad to see you here .i was missing you .Thanks.

    SM:Thanks a lot.

    Saicharan :through my blog i am keeping a journal of the things that i find are important.It is a future gift for my kids that's why most of my post are bit long and informative.Thanks for saying such nice and kind words Sai .

    Kiran:yeh Dubai .a coincidence .Thanks.

    Keval ram:welcome here.Thanks.

    A :I am working on it .

    Rachna:yes,it is similar to Thai sticky rice.Thanks.

    Swaram:trust me it is addictive.Thanks.

    Upendra Shukla:thanks.

    Cloudia:yes she is lovely.Mahalo.

    Raam Pyaari:thanks a lot .

  47. Wonderful, more than the recipe made I like the fact behind it and its important as a Ingredient in Assamese festivals. Nice post sharing Kavita.

  48. ჱܓOlá, amiga!

    A fotografia do prato está maravilhosa... e o sabor então?

    Bom fim de semana!


    ♫° 。✿ ✿ჱܓ

  49. always nice to hear fm my dear friend..her name is Dr K

  50. hhmmmm...mouth watering dishes!!!

  51. I wish you would post something new - whenever I visit and see this my mouth begins to water and I instantly feel hungry. Seriously, hoping all is well, best wishes, PW.

  52. ummm...yummmieeee...realy delicious

  53. Looks delicious! The rice looks like puffed rice called kurmura!!
    The desert too is mouth watering.
    Have a wonderful week ahead Kavita:)

  54. The photo of the bora saul with jaggery and cream looks good. Let's face it, I'm all for any kind of dessert. LOL

  55. Great blog, how about links exchanging? Please contact me asap, Thanks.

  56. Very enjoyable reading, thanks for sharing. As always I learned something new here today. Thanks also for sharing your customs and culture with us.

  57. great for my education! thanks :) x

  58. Admirable read!!