The Magh Bihu Flavours From Assam
Image Credit: Til Pitha courtesy Ishani Dey

Makar Sankranti, one festival that is celebrated across the country from east to west to North to South of the country. This harvest festival is known in different names in different parts of the country be it Uttarayan in Gujarat, Lohri in Punjab, Poush Sankranti in Bengal or Magh Bihu in Assam. This festival of abundance is a time for celebration is Assam is all about merriment and of course good food. 

The word 'Bihu'  come from the Sanskrit word ‘bishu’ which means “to ask for prosperity from the Gods during the harvesting season” and this festival of harvest is all about prosperity. Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu is a celebration of nature’s bounty. On the first day of Magh Bihu or Uruka the woman of the family get together and prepare dishes like - Chira, Pitha, Laru, Curd for the next day. With food being one of the main focus there are various dishes made with rice cakes including til (sesame) Pitha, Narikol (Coconut) Pitha, Tekeli Pitha, Ghila Pitha along with coconut called Laru, sesame Laru and more. 

Til Pithe

Made with sesame seeds, this cylinder-shaped sweet pithe is a must during Magh Bihu. Made form local rice variety that is much glutinous in nature, the rice grains are opaque grains and becomes sticky when cooked. The rice is first soaked and then strained and dried nicely for hours. Later it’s grinded into fine powder. Along with that roasted black sesame is also ground coarsely and mixed with jaggery. This is used as the filling for the pithe. The grounded rice is spread evenly over a heated pan and then the til and jaggery is spread over it. As the rice powder gets cooked it’s slowly rolled. This one is pretty delicate yet tasty.

Murir Laru

This sweet made with puffed rice and jaggery is super light and guilt free eat. Made in a jiffy and all you need is - ghee, jaggery, water and puffed rice. Add the ghee and jaggery to the pan till it metls. Add a little water too. Stir and check for the right consistency. Add the puffed rice mix them well and then made into round balls. It’s absolutely gluten-free and vegan too

Ghila Pitha

Courtesy- Sneha Saikia


This fried pitha is one of many variations that assam has. This traditional snack also known as Tel Pitha is made with rice powder. The rice powder is added to the wok and is stirred for 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, some jaggery is heated along with some water and kept aside. To the rice flour little salt and grated coconut is added and mixed well along with the jaggery syrup. Made into small balls and then fried deep in a wok. 

Tekeli Pitha

This steamed pitha is a delight. "Tekeli mukhot diya pitha" means “to make the pitha by placing or steaming it on the mouth of a Tekali or a kettle”. This pithe with the made from the seasons first harvest. This assam style steamed sweet delicacy sees the use of a special fragrant variety rice, grated coconut and aromatic jaggery. This pitha happens to be integral part of their Bihu celebrations.