Uruka Bhoj

A chilled mid-January morning, endi shawl draped around shoulders, mist forming, as I greet my father and neighbours in the front yard. Mother brings out hot black tea for everyone and I help her pour it out to everyone. The cup sends the cold numbness in my hands away as the warmth spreads. Munching on a til pitha, I look at my elders deal with the fishermen, who are selling freshly caught shrimps, rohu, borali (big cat fish); some are alive. My uncle arrives with a pair of pigeons in a bamboo cage attached to the handles on his bicycle.Today is Uruka and we clean the house to celebrate Magh Bihu (Makar Sankranti) the following day. My sister and I go to the pond right across the front yard with all the bedsheets, curtains bundled up to wash them. Young boys were clearing the area near the pond and chopping bamboo poles away for the meji and bonfire. A meji is a hut made of bamboo, thatch and straw, that is used as kitchen for the uruka bhoj (community feast of Magh bihu eve in Assam).By afternoon, with the meji ready, women from the neighbourhood gather in the temporary hut to start cooking for the feast. ‘Maasor tenga’ (sour fish curry), roasted ducks, pigeon meat with banana flower, chunga chawl (steamed sticky rice in bamboo pipes) are the main components of the menu. Maasor tenga with different fruits like lemon, outenga (elephant apple), amlakhi (gooseberry) is the most popular; from a little child to the oldest lady in the village, everyone loves it. My mom taught me how to make this savoury delicacy. To cook fish with amla is a very simple.

Recipe:

Amlakhi Fish Curry

Non-veg curry for two.          

Preparation time: 10 min.                

Cooking time: 20 min.

Ingredients:

Fish- two small cut pieces of Rohu fish

Ripe gooseberry (amla) – 1 big

Potato- 1 boiled

Cooking oil- 1 tablespoon (mustard oil is preferred)

Salt as needed

Turmeric- ½ teaspoon

Maan dhania leaf (Thai coriander): 1 (in absence common coriander)

Green chilli-2

Mustard seed- ½ teaspoon

Water-2 cups

Preparation:

Marinate fish with little salt and turmeric. Keep for 10 minutes

Mash the boiled potato

Grate one ripe amla with a cheese grater

How to cook fish with amlakhi or amla:

Fry the pieces of fish in hot oil and keep aside on a plate

Pop mustard seeds in the remaining hot oil in the pan

Add one green chilli

As aroma comes add mashed potato

Add salt and turmeric as required amount

Mix with a spatula

Now add grated amla

Add water, cover the pan

Cook, let the bubbles come

Add fried fish and cover for 5-7 minutes

Switch off the gas

Add maan dhania leaf.

Slit longitudinally the other green chilli and add

Cover for 3 minutes, let flavour of dhania and green chilli arise

Serve hot this runny tangy fish curry hot with steamed rice.

Maan dhania or Thai-coriander enhances its flavour. In absence of maan dhania, chopped coriander can be used as required amount.

One comment on “Uruka Bhoj

  1. Beautiful write up to this family recipe from the less explored north-eastern cuisines. A must try for the fish lovers as it is a culinary digression from the usual fish fare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *