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Showing posts from January, 2019

Eri silk the warmth of Assamese culture

Happy 70th republic day India. India's independence has a lot to do with Ahimsha silk or peace silk Khadi. Unlike khadi, my home state Assam is a proud curator of Eri silk. This subtle understated light beige or cream color silk has huge importance in Assamese culture.      After the festive season bids adieu in Assam, the mild winter arrives. My grandfather used to wear the Eri shawl to protect him from cold. Not just my grandfather, in those times a quintessential Assamese winter essential was an Eri shawl and still is.     Cultivated domestically the word Eri came from Assamese word ‘era’, which means castor as the silkworm feeds on castor plants. Eri is also called ahimsa or peace because while producing eri threads it does not require to kill the worm as moths leave the cocoon naturally and then the cocoons are harvested to be spun. Isn't it enthralling?      Eri silk was once considered as an essential part of the bridal trousseau in Assamese culture. The

Kumar's Manchester, CT review

      Do you ever wonder what the taste of country-style cooking or village inspired cooking in southern India is? Even though I come from India, I have never visited the southern part of India yet. If I imagine southern Indian village style cooking, my mind instantly clicks a picture of earthy rustic flavorful cooking, a good dose of spices and of course all natural ingredients served in banana leaves, ah solace.       A few weeks back one of my friend mentioned about Kumar's the newly open Indian restaurant in Manchester, CT  with inspiration from Southern Indian village style cooking. I couldn't resist but to visit soon. Entering Kumar's I discover a hut in Kumar at the entrance felt good at the little effort to bring southern India to Connecticut USA, as huts are an integral part of an Indian village. It was busy Saturday night at Kumar's, it would be great if you can call ahead and ask for a reservation, otherwise, the wait is super long. As we call ahead earli

Bora Saul or Sticky rice a beyond festive delight

After moving to the USA when I tried sticky rice in a suburban Thai restaurant in my city, the taste exactly felt like the bora saul in Assam. That reminds me that Assam has a huge connection with Thailand and is believed to be Assam Ahom king came to Assam in golden stairs from Thailand. While migrating Ahom brought food from Thailand to Assam and probably sticky rice is the result of Ahom's immigration from Thailand.    In Assamese culture, bora saul or sticky rice has great significance whether Bihu  or any festivity. Whether making a flattened rice cake (pitha) or as a cereal or preparing just by itself,  it serves any occasion or festival.    A mild flavored, luscious in taste, small oval in size after cooking it gives little silky texture. Without this glutinous rice, Bihu  festivity is incomplete.               Variety of Pithas from Bora Saul or Sticky rice   A snippet of Bora saul in Assamese culture: 1. Bora saul can be served as Jalpan(snack) w

A piece of pride of Assam called Gamusa

      Growing up in the early 80s, a piece of white rectangular cloth with crimson border and flowery designs on the edge was a quintessential part of my Assamese household. Today whenever I use a Gamusa, it feels like yesterday,  when the softness of Gamusa wiped me up after a bath, the crisp and sweet smell of new Gamusa presented on a special occasion.       Whether it is a festivity, or special occasion or mundane task, one thing is for sure, in every Assamese household, you will find Gamusa. Ga means body and Musa mean a wipe, so it is technically a towel, but Gamusa has a deeper place in Assamese culture and a greater place in every Assamese heart. You can’t imagine any Assamese cultural celebration without Gamusa. The look      Gamusa in traditionally woven in cotton threads with red borders in all the four sides in a rectangular shape and motifs or designs on one side but sometimes could be found on either side as well. Nowadays silk Gamusas are available and peop