The craving for Axomiya Vyanjan marched our footsteps to JAKOI- the Assamese Cuisine Restaurant at Assam Bhawan. ‘JAKOI’ is a fishing equipment used by fishermen/fisherwomen to catch fish in Assam. The name has come to be inspired from this. In an Assamese livelihood, fishing is an activity of great enthusiasm, patience and satisfaction. The …View full post
Srimanta Sankardeva Movement- Delhi Initiative An event is organised for the awareness of an eminent scholar and social reformer from Assam,Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva. At this hour when the world is affected by violent rumors, humanity is ignored at the cost of religion/caste/creed/groups ,this initiative aims to ‘Give Peace a chance’. This, they are doing it by …View full post
The craving for Axomiya Vyanjan marched our footsteps to JAKOI- the Assamese Cuisine Restaurant at Assam Bhawan. ‘JAKOI’ is a fishing equipment used by fishermen/fisherwomen to catch fish in Assam. The name has come to be inspired from this. In an Assamese livelihood, fishing is an activity of great enthusiasm, patience and satisfaction. The restaurant wishes its customers to enjoy the enthusiasm, feel the satisfaction and derive pleasure from its food, ambiance and space just the way it is with fishing in Assam.
JAKOI is a well-maintained restaurant inside the premises of Assam Bhawan. Managed by Assam’s business conglomerate ‘Paradise group of hotels’ , Jakoi serves to be an ideal eat-out place for nostalgic Assamese Delhites in Delhi/NCR. It is also a good break the daily dominated high flavoured ‘North Indian Styled’ food which Assamese Delhites are so prone. So, next time when the rajma-chawal, bhature-kulche, naan- roti-butter chicken’ turns out to be too much on you, drive in to JAKOI for a pleasant light flavoured Assamese meal. For the much enthusiastic cooks, a Sunday brunch of Axomiya food would be a help to kill the monotony. But, for people like us who like to laze around on sundays and spend the day muching at restaurants, JAKOI can be a considerably good option for lunch. Plus for people from mainstream India, who are of the notions that ‘momos’ , manchow, chow-chow come from the north-east, this place would help to remove such stereotypes and introduce tongue-watering recipes and delicacies from Assam.
A bamboo gate decorated with ‘Japis’ and ‘Gamosa’ welcomes everybody. A ‘JAKOI’ is installed at the entrance too so as to symbolize the name. The restaurant has two areas of seating- the outdoor and the indoor spaces. The indoor seating space is a well-lit, fully furnished area with centralised ac and enable wi-fi connection. Bamboo simulated wallpaper and Mud house texture on the walls create an ‘Assam-like’ environment. Traditional craft items from the state decorate the area. On a far end, a wall stands with photos of eminent personalities from Assam. Hand crafted paintings of fishermen bring in interest. Textiles like Muga Mekhela-chadar and Gamosas are also installed either as hangings or as wall art.
The outdoor space is furnished with cane chairs and bamboo tables. At one end, there is a bamboo fencing with lush green ferns creating the ambiance as it is in any Assamese veranda in Assam. Crafted Lanterns hang from the ceilings. This space is for those who want to enjoy nature and treat their tongues with the delicacies. During the hot-humid Delhi summers, the inner space is a preferred choice.
Our attendant placed the menu card on the table. The menu book was in the shape of a ‘JAKOI’ which created an interest. I read the menu card like a nerd (:P) and browsed it well. It has a lot of variety of food from the land. The food items are well- organised in cadre and is reasonably priced. A meal for 2 will cost you around 600 INR.
A short intro about the restaurant gives one a gist about it in the front page and then the book starts featuring the popular ‘THALIS’ – Assamese Vyanjan Veg Thali, Assamese Vyanjan Non-Veg Thali, and the most favourite ‘Jakoi’s Special Parampara Thali’.
Like any Assamese food regime, the meal starts with Khar ( a veg preparation with soda bicarbonate).Starters include appetizers like bors (fritters) and pitikas (mashed potatoes) etc. Vegetarian and Non- Vegetarian items are listed separately for ease of convenience. Agreed that Assamese food include a lot of Non-Vegetarian delicacies (meat from Pigeon, Duck, Fish, Chicken etc.), but JAKOI has abundant Vegetarian food items which can never dissapoint you if you are a vegetarian or are visting with a vegetarian company. A variety of Pasoli (vegetables), Paleng (spinach) recipes, hewali phoolor bor ( fritters made of hewali flower) ,dal (boiled lentils with mustard), Benngena bors (brinjal fritters) and pitikas (mashes) etc. are listed in their vegetarian section. Many non-veg food items include fish and chicken made differently and served in style. Chicken curry with bamboo shoots, steamed fish in banana leaf are hot favorites.
Besides this, the rice used is ‘JOHA’ ( a staple variety from Assam). This makes the rice pudding ‘Payokh’ (kheer) taste even more brilliant. The chicken curry has many flavors to it and the kharisa ( grated bamboo shoot, fermented) makes the meal a delightful experience. Moreover, Kahudi ( dry mustard paste mixed with mustard oil and tamarind), kharodi , Mahor gudi ( powdered gram lentils seasoned with salt, lemon and chilies add a traditional touch it. Gooseberry juice in a shot glass is something that can be an element of interest to you. It is worth a try.The menu also includes deserts with various types of ‘Payokh’ ( puddings) as well as beverages that has Assam tea as its star drink.
The only disappointment in our entire food story was the ‘far from the east’ section in the menu card. This included Chinese cuisine including the much confused origin of momos, noodles etc. It would have been better to have a separate menu book for this so as to avoid confusion. Because many people/food enthusiasts from mainstream India have no clue about the kind of rich cuisine we have in Assam. We understand that for commercial viability of a business, one ought to include Chinese delicacies which are a hit in the country. But, when it comes to familiarising a state’s cuisine, such matters should have separate areas of execution. On a personal note we wouldn’t want our reader’s to question us if momos originated in Assam ? lol
The timings for the restaurant are fixed – daytime:11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, evening: 7 PM to 10:30 PM. So, if you plan up something, be sure you drive in there during this time range.
*We recommend JAKOI to all the Food enthusiasts Assamese Delhites as well as the Non- Assamese Delhites.
***3 stars out of 5
Nothing is as pleasurable as the JOY OF EATING.
‘Triptire Exaaj Khaok’ – meaning ‘Happy Eating’ ( courtesy: JAKOI’s menu card)
Srimanta Sankardeva Movement- Delhi Initiative
An event is organised for the awareness of an eminent scholar and social reformer from Assam,Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva. At this hour when the world is affected by violent rumors, humanity is ignored at the cost of religion/caste/creed/groups ,this initiative aims to ‘Give Peace a chance’. This, they are doing it by spreading teachings & messages of the saint Sankardeva who united the varied groups of Assam and succeeded in createing a monastic caste-free society.
This time its a new task for the familiarity project. SINAKI is familiarising the teachings of Sankardeva with the world. In an attempt, we are doing a short coverage of the event which will be published on sinaki.in.
We recommend this event for all our Assamese and Non-Assamese brothers/sisters from NCR.
It is ‘more than an event’ and a step towards building bridges between different cultures.
Lets stand for Universal Brotherhood.
Lets follow a religion called ’HUMANITY’
Venue: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi
Date: 13th September 2012, Thursday
Time: 7 P.M. to 9 P.M
In India, the Ahoms were the only rulers who defeated the Mughals seventeen (17) times. Lachit Borphukan was amongst the pioneer commanders under whose leadership the Ahoms won the Battle of Saraighat in 1971. His heroism during the last and decisive battle, when he inspired a dispirited and retreating Ahom naval force to fight back in spite of an illness, made him a National Hero.
There are a number of incidents displaying Lachit’s patriotism and devotion towards his land.One such an incident is based on this quote by Lachit.
During the preparations for the Battle of Saraighat, he ordered an earthen wall for fortification to be constructed within one night and employed his maternal uncle as the supervisor. Late night when Lachit came for inspection, he found that work was not progressing satisfactorily. When asked for an explanation, his uncle tried to cite tiredness. Lachit became so furious at this negligence of duty that he beheaded his uncle on the spot, saying-
“Dexotkoi Momai Dangor Nohoi”
which means “My uncle is not greater than my Country”
The barrier was completed within that night. This episode is still cited in Assam as the ultimate example of Lachit’s sincerity and patriotism.
Bordoisila-oil on canvas painting : Credits- Dr. Utpal Bordoloi, Dibrugarh, Assam, India
“……nalbirinar paah, brahmaputrot halise jalise, boga koi bogoli nil aakaxot urise,aahise bohagi tai maa’kor ghoroloi bordoisila hoi………..”
These lines from a famous Assamese spring song mean that:
As the month of ’Chaut’ (march-april) of the Assamese calender nears, Assam witnesses a series of wild winds accompanied by heavy showers and storms. This is a yearly phenomenon for this part of India. However, this natural occurrence has a legend to it. According to the belief of the Assamese people, this ‘wild wind’ of the ‘chaut‘ month is none other than the mythological Goddess of Nature- the Bordoisila. The myth has various definitions and meanings. Down the Brahmaputra valley they say that the word ‘Bordoisila’ is made of 3 words from the Bodo language.
” Bor-” meaning big, “doi” meaning water and “sila” which means a girl. However, people from the Upper valley area believe that it has evolved from the Ahoms. ’Sila‘ means ‘a kite‘ and ‘Bordoi‘ could be her name.
The legend is that ‘Bordoisila‘ is a young, married lady. In the mid of March, the Goddess rushes to her mother’s home and in such rapidity she causes a series of destruction. ‘Bordoisila‘ is taken to be her anger towards her in-laws and her husband. The tale says that she had a fight with her husband, so she leaves her in-laws home and rushes to her mother’s place. While she flies to her home, she is in grave anger. Her anger is expressed in the form of a storm and the wild winds. She destroys everything that comes in her way and nothing is spared. In this act, she causes a lot of harm and damage to life and property- uprooting trees, breaking down huts etc. That is why, in the peak March month one experiences dust winds and dust storms in Assam.
Inorder to calm down her anger, an array of rituals exist in the Assamese culture. They are passed down generation after generation. People of Assam present her with ‘kakoi-phoni’ (pronounced as kaa-koii fo-ni) which is a special type of comb made of bamboo used in the ancient Assam, to comb her hair. Another gift is the ‘Borpira’ (pronounced as bor-pirha) which is a kind of wooden stool, for the Goddess to sit on it. The traditional comb and the wooden stool are left outside in the courtyard of Assamese homes for the Bordoisila as a gesture for her to comb her tresses and rest for a while, before she continues on her journey to her home. In some cases, these are also considered as welcome gifts for the Goddess to her mother’s home. There is also a tradition of keeping ‘saaloni’ (a strainer made of bamboo used to clean the dirts from the grains, especially rice) in the ‘sutaal’ (courtyard) to make “Bordoisila” calm.Sometimes, people also throw rice in the sutaal for the same. We have also heard that traditionally when this storm came, the males were being advised not to be out of their houses. According to them ‘Bordoisila’ might think that they are coming to fight or attack her. In that case she would be more angry and the ‘wild winds’ might turn strong and become ferocious. Sometimes they write a Shlok from the holy book of the Hindus “The Bhagawad Gita” called as “Narayan Kawaz” on the leaves of the Nahor tree (a valuable tree). This is done for protection from the destructive acts of the Bordoisila.
After the end of the month ‘Bohag’ (*pronounced as Bau-haag) i.e. April – May which is the first month of the Assamese calendar, ‘Bordoisila‘ returns from her mother’s home. She comes back in a similar fashion. While returning, it is more of an emotional outburst rather than anger. It is because she is leaving her mother’s place after a very short maternal visit. Rain- filled clouds cover the sky and thunderstorms are felt. One can witness darkness of the night in broad daylight. Such a rare play of nature makes one awe-struck. The thunderstorms followed by heavy rains expresses Bordoisila’s burst of tears.
No matter what the legend says, ‘Bordoisila‘ brings in with it ‘Bohag’ -the spring season.
It is a boon in disguise for the land.
(*source: inspired from the internet)
We have been talking about the spring in all our April posts. April won’t be complete without the mention of nature’s blessing to Assam- KOPOU PHOOL: Assam’s ’State Flower’.
Kopou Phool (Foxtail Orchid Flower) is -an exotically blooming orchid with more than a hundred pink-spotted white flowers. It blooms during the spring and is very native to Assam. It rejuvenates the entire environment with its freshness.
Kopou (prounounced as kau-poh) Phool (pronounced as fool)
Traditionally, orchids have always been closely related to the socio-economic culture of North-East India, particularly Assam. Assamese people conserve orchids in their local environment and they are seen in cultivation in almost all Assamese homes and courtyards. They are grown with special care and attention.
“Bohagote aahibi senai oi,
Khupaate epaahi kopou phool diboloi “
(On the onset of spring, o love!.Come and adorn my bun with a kopou phool.)
These lines from an Assamese song talk about kopou phool as a symbol of love amongst the youth of Assam. Young girls adorn their hair with its inflorescence during the spring festival- Rongali Bihu. It is an integral part of the Bihu attire. Another significance is that of fertility. It is used in marriage ceremonies in Assam, symbolizing merriment and joy.