8 Famous Assamese Dishes You Should Try In Guwahati

Of all of India’s many diverse cuisines, it tends to be those of the North Eastern states that fail to find the spotlight they deserve. Guwahati, the largest city in the state of Assam and a sprawling modern metropolis holds a treasure trove of culture and culinary adventures to explore.

Since the diverse city is home to people from all over Assam and beyond it has become a hub to sample traditional delicacies from all corners of the state. Assamese cuisine is renowned for its simplicity and ability to integrate and honour locally sourced ingredients in most of its dishes. Rice forms the backbone of the state's agriculture and is celebrated in almost every stage of the traditional meals. Freshwater and river fish also feature prominently in many dishes and although the cuisine is predominately non-vegetarian, there are also a lot of dishes that champion local vegetables.

If you’re looking to get a better understanding of Guwahati’s cuisine, here are 8 dishes you can try.

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8 Traditional Assamese Dishes To Try In Guwahati

1. Doi-Chira:

A staple of Bihu celebrations and a testament to Assam’s innovation with rice, this dish is made up of flatted rice flakes (Chira) with curd, cream and jaggery. It’s usually eaten as a breakfast dish and embodies the simple but nourishing cuisine of the state.  

2. Khar:

A uniquely Assamese dish, Khar describes both an ingredient and the dishes made with it. To make the basic khar, banana peels are dried and then charred, on an open flame. The ashes are then filtered with water into an astringent and alkaline liquid which can then be combined with other ingredients for a distinctive flavour.

3. Khorisa Maas:

Bamboo shoots are among the most popular ingredients in Assamese cooking. This dish brings together that earthy, pungent flavour of fermented bamboo shoots (Khorisa) with the light flavours of Assam’s freshwater fish. Cooked with traditional spices, Khorisa Maas exemplifies the region's love for local ingredients, offering a delightful and hearty culinary experience.

4. Aalu Pitika:

A humble, comfort food for many Assamese natives, this dish features a handful of ingredients but delivers a power-packed flavour. Mashed potato is combined with chopped onion, green chillies and coriander leaves, all sauteed in mustard oil. Some versions also call for charred or boiled fish but can be skipped for a vegetarian version.

5. Narikol Pitha:

Pithas are another place where Assam’s rice obsession comes into play. Usually made from Bora Saul rice or any sticky rice grain ground into rice flour, these pancakes are usually stuffed with sweet fillings made from coconut and jaggery, or sometimes a sweet black sesame paste. Pithas have great cultural significance in Assam and are staples of festive occasions. 

6. Hanhor Mangxo Komora with Ou Khatta:

A much-loved delicacy, this duck curry is cooked with ash gourd, crushed black pepper, dried red chillies and local spices until the meat is tender and absorbs all the aromatic spices. It’s then served with Ou Khatta, a sweet and sour chutney made from elephant apple and jaggery for a contrasting flavour. 

7. Masor Tenga:

‘Tenga’ in Assamese means sour, and most Tenga dishes get their tang from tomatoes, elephant apples, raw mango or lemon. In Masor Tenga (Masor meaning fish) a gravy is made with tomatoes, fresh fish and a tempering of spices to create a complex and refreshing flavour that is especially loved during summertime.

8. Dhekia Xaak Aru Aalu Bhaji:

Xaax refers to a wide variety of local leafy greens and Dhekia Xaax refers to foraged Fiddlehead Ferns which have a delicate flavour and a natural crunch. They’re then cooked down with onion, potatoes, spices, and mustard oil for a simple, nutritious dish that celebrates the bounty of Assamese cuisine.