India grows a mind-boggling variety of rice. Many varieties like the long grain Basmati and the short-grain Joha (of Assam), are fragrant. A friend got this black rice from the neighbouring state of Manipur. This one must be the most fragrant of them all. There are some whitish tinges here but the rice that we got earlier was a deep, rich burgundy. More of a wine colour rather than the colour one associates with rice.
Centuries ago, black rice was known as Forbidden Rice in China, and only the nobility were allowed to eat it. According to scientists, the cereal is low in sugar and but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds which can prevent heart disease and cancer. (Source–news.oneindia.in).
Even the water that the rice is soaked in turns into this shade of purple. A pudding made of this rice is a favourite in our parts. Some people like to soak the rice overnight and then cook. I usually soak it for an hour and cook with milk and sugar. The cooking process takes about 25-30 minutes. The aroma that wafts around the house is heavenly!
Voila! A little dry here but that colour stands out! This dessert is delicious! And because the rice itself has a unique flavour, I don’t like to add raisins and nuts the way we add them to the usual white rice pudding.
The Elephant Apple /Dellinea indica is a common tree in Assam. Locally known as Ou tenga (tenga means sour), the fruit is large and acidic.
The tree grows to a height of 15 mtrs and the season for tender fruit is the long, hot, days of summer. I took these pictures of the fruit at my sister’s garden in July. As with any acidic fruit, we make a dish of chutney using the Elephant apple. It’s a sweet and sour variation usually eaten at the end of a meal.
Having sour curries in summer is supposed to have a cooling effect on the body. Which is why several acidic fruits and leaves are used as souring agents. In Assam ‘tenga’ is a must on the table especially when the days are hot and humid. The dish above has elephant apples and fish. The other ingredients that went into the dish are oil, green chillies, salt, turmeric powder, mustard seeds, and a bit of coriander powder. For the garnish I used serrated coriander locally known as maan dhania.
Food is a fascinating subject and the variety that every region produces, is amazing. Just as I love reading about food on the many blogs that I visit, whether unique or common, I find them all so interesting. I hope you’ve enjoyed going through this post, even if it’s only a little culinary slice from my part of the world.:)