Magh Bihu 2024: 9 Dishes To Add To Your Festive Platter

In addition to being delectable, the foods connected with Bhogali Bihu serve as symbolic representations of the festival's agricultural and cultural facets. They highlight Assamese cuisine's rich history and add to the joyous celebration, which promotes a sense of community. The following is a list of foods that are essential to bhogali bihu or magh bihu:

1) Ghila pitha: A traditional rice cake made in Assam during the harvest festival, Bhogali Bihu, is called ghila pitha. Ghila Pitha has a distinct flavour that combines sweetness, richness, and the earthy taste of sesame seeds in a pleasant way. The sweetness of Ghila Pitha, a sweet rice cake, comes from molasses or jaggery that are added to the batter. Usually, the sweetness is not overbearing, giving the flavour a harmonious balance. Ghila Pitha gains a nutty undertone from the addition of sesame seeds. A nice crunch and enhanced flavour are produced by toasting the sesame seeds, which is a common practice. A coconut ingredient is made to some Ghila Pitha versions, adding to the dish's richness. Grated coconut enhances the flavour and texture of the dish by adding a layer.

2) Khar:

 Alkaline water made from sun-dried banana peel ash is used to make a stew called khar; this water is thought to have digestive and detoxifying qualities. When fish or meat is added, khar becomes a source of vital nutrients and protein. Adding a variety of veggies to the dish increases its vitamin and mineral content. Assamese culture is centred around khar, which is frequently cooked for festivals and other significant occasions. It showcases the relationship with the surrounding environment and the gastronomic customs. Khar's blend of ingredients results in a dish that is well-balanced and healthful, offering a variety of nutrients and flavours.

3) Sagolir Mankho:

 A traditional Assamese meal called "Sagolir Mankho" is served during the Bhogali Bihu, or Magh Bihu, festival.  Sagolir Mankho is well-known for its robust and aromatic flavour, which is frequently attained by utilising locally grown Assamese ingredients and spices. Mutton curry is what sagolir mankho essentially implies. Aromatic, regional spices are a defining feature of Assamese cuisine. A combination of these spices may be used in Sagolir Mankho to produce a distinctive and local taste. The dish is made in honour of Bhogali Bihu, lending traditional flavours and cultural meaning to the celebratory feast.

4) Joha Saulor Payox: 

A traditional Assamese meal called "Joha Saulor Payox" is made for Bhogali Bihu, also known as Magh Bihu. This is simply a rice pudding, sweetened with sugar or jaggery, and made with a special aromatic kind of rice known as "Joha Saul".  The dish's overall flavour profile is enhanced by the peculiar aroma of Joha Saul, a fragrant and short-grain rice species. The rice is given a rich and comfortable texture by being boiled in milk until it becomes soft and creamy. To lend a subtle and organic sweetness to the dish that goes well with the rice and milk, jaggery or sugar is added. A common addition to Indian cooking, cardamom lends a toasty, fragrant tone to dishes like Joha Saulor Payox.

5) Til Pitha:

A crucial component of Til Pitha, til (sesame seeds) provide the meal a deep, nutty flavour. The jaggery or sugar used in the recipe is what gives it its sweetness. Til Pitha has a delicious crunch from the sesame seeds, which contrasts with the soft and chewy inside. When making Til Pitha, ghee, or clarified butter, is frequently added. It adds a rich, buttery flavour that improves the dish's flavour profile. Typically, the sweetness of the sugar or jaggery is balanced to produce a dish that is pleasantly sweet and suitable for both dessert and snack.

Video Credit: Youtube/ Simpy in the kitchen

6) Jolphai chutney:

Indian olives are the source of the distinct tangy and sour flavour of jolphai chutney. Usually made with jaggery or sugar, the chutney is balanced with sweetness and seasoned with mustard seeds or green chilies.  The flavour profile is improved by adding pungent spices and herbs, like fennel or fenugreek seeds.  Olives have softened and the consistency of jolphai chutney is slightly chunky, giving it a textural contrast. Indian olives are a good source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system and has antioxidant qualities. The chutney's blend of sour, spicy, and sweet flavours results in a harmonious palate experience.

7) Apong: 

Apong is a fermented rice beverage with a hint of alcohol. Apong's alcohol concentration ranges from low to moderate, contingent on the method of fermentation. It has a mildly alcoholic kick along with a mildly fermented flavour. Rice is the main component of Apong, giving the drink a gritty, somewhat sweet flavour. Because apong ferments naturally, it can have subtle flavours impacted by the fermentation process, much like conventional beers. Apong is more than just a drink; in Assam, it has cultural importance and is frequently connected to celebrations, social gatherings, and customary practices like Bhogali Bihu.

8) Doi Seera:

A traditional Assamese meal called doi seera is frequently made for the harvest celebration known as Bhogali Bihu (Magh Bihu), which is observed in Assam, India. The flavour profile of Doi Seera is recognised for being sweet and creamy. The addition of yoghurt (doi) gives the dish a tangy and creamy flavour. Seera, also known as poha (flattened rice), gets a soft, pleasant texture via soaking in yoghurt and other seasonings. The dish's mildly acidic taste from the yoghurt counterbalances its sweetness and results in a flavorful combination. To enhance the dish's sweetness, some Doi Seera variants incorporate sugar or jaggery, which are natural sweeteners.

9) Narikol Laru:

Coconut Ladoo, or narikol laru, is a delicious dessert that is typically made for Assamese harvest festival Bhogali Bihu.  The main ingredient in narikol laru is freshly grated coconut, which gives the dish its characteristic sweetness and richness. Jaggery or sugar are used to sweeten the meal, giving it a delightfully gooey and sticky texture that enhances its overall appeal. Some recipes use for ground cardamom, which gives the sweet coconut mixture a delicate, fragrant flavour. Chopped nuts, like almonds or cashews, can be added to enhance the texture of Narikol Laru and add a crunchy touch.