729. Bengana and Shanmehali Xaakor Khar

November 29, 2017mayurisjikoni
Blog post

Assam – The Red River State

November is when the Shhh Cooking Secretly Group visited Assam. Assam is a state in the North East of India. Its strategic location makes it the ‘Gateway to the Seven Sister States of North East India’. Assam’s history goes way back to the ancient times, having been mentioned in the Mahabharata, was known as Asham during Aurangzeb’s time and the British developed the tea estates  during the British Rule. Assam is well known for its flora and fauna and the famous tea estates. Assam itself has nearly 500 varieties of orchids. Its also known as the state of the  Red River due to the presence of the Brahmaputra. Its a state rich in culture and traditions.
Coming to the Assamese Cuisine, Assamese are by and large non vegetarians. The staple food is rice. Their food is not too spicy or oily but is still rich in taste. They make use of naturally growing herbs and vegetables which is used in making fish and meat dishes. Most of the dishes prepared are served with a variety of rice. A lot of the dishes have khar added. Khar is prepared by burning banana stems or banana peels. It adds a distinct flavor to the dishes and is suppose to be soothing for the stomach.Most popular meat used is pigeon, duck, mutton, pork besides fish. Sweet dishes are usually made using rice called pitha. Assam is famous for Buth Jolokia or Ghost Pepper which is the hottest chili in the world.

My partner for this month was Aruna who blogs at Aaharam. Her blog has a variety of recipes including many from Andhra Cuisine. The friendly and ever helpful Aruna gave me Brinjal and Fenugreek leaves as my two secret ingredients. I gave her colocasia leaves and masoor dal. Do check out her blog to see what she has prepared with those two ingredients.

With those ingredients at hand I made Bengana Shanmehali Xaakor Khar which is basically mixed herbs khar with Brinjals. As I was not able to get the original khar that is used in Assam, I had to substitute it some soda bicarbonate or baking soda. This vegetable preparation is basically a healthy dish, but the addition of the baking soda though in a tiny quantity added a unique taste to it. I think whenever I prepare it again, I’ll give baking soda or khar a skip. The main flavors for this dish are from the mixture of greens and mustard oil.

So lets get to the recipe. My recipe source is assamese cuisine.com which I cannot link at the moment as the site is temporarily suspended.





Image result for assam images
Image courtesy of Google

Serves 4

2 medium (200g) brinjals/eggplants
2 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped amaranth
1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek (methi)
1 cup chopped fresh mustard leaves
1 cup chopped spinach
1 large sprig of curry leaves, chop the leaves
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp mustard oil
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
1-1½ tsp salt
2-3 green chilis, chopped

  1. Cut the brinjals into cubes or strips.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  3. Add fenugreek seeds. As soon as it begins to sizzle, add the chopped onion and chopped curry leaves.
  4. Saute till it becomes soft.
  5. Add chopped brinjals, ginger, salt and baking soda.
  6. Mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat. Let the brinjal cook till its done.
  7. Add the chopped chilis and all the greens.(herbs)
  8. Cover the pan and cook till the greens wilt.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Just before serving drizzle the remaining oil over it and you can add some more green chilis on top.
  11. Serve this healthy dish with some cooked rice.
  • The amount greens I’ve used is just a rough guideline. You can use whatever greens or herbs are available.
  • The original recipe added some sugar which I omitted.
You may want to check out the following dishes from different states of India:
Litti Chokha – Bihari Cuisine
Khandvi – Gujarati Cuisine
Koat Pitha – Arunachal Cuisine
Undi- Udupi Cuisine



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  • Poonam Bachhav

    November 30, 2017 at 7:27 am

    I am loving the different Khar recipes of Assamese cuisine..and this brinjal Khar with healthy goodness if leafy greens is so inviting di !


    November 30, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Definitely trying this. Looks interesting 👍

  • Freda Dias

    November 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Assamese cuisine is something that I've never tried! This sounds delicious,I'd love to try it soon.Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Pavani N

    December 1, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    That is such a healthy and delicious dish. Never tried adding greens to eggplant before — will try this recipe soon.

  • Priya Suresh

    December 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Interesting find Mayuri, never tried my hands with this brinjal and green combo like this. Lovely delicious khar.

  • Indfused Sandhya Rege Nadkarni

    December 1, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    What a fabulous share Mayuri! I am so happy to learn more about Assamese cuisine.

  • Shobha

    December 2, 2017 at 1:51 am

    This is an interesting variation with brinjal.. will try it out.

  • jayashree

    December 2, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I have never tried this, it looks inviting. Do need to try this from Assamese cuisine.

  • Ruchi's Veg Kitchen

    December 2, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Sounds so delicious … Something never tried and tasted but would love to… Lovely share

  • Jagruti Dhanecha

    December 3, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    This aubergine and mixed green leafy curry sounds so delicious and healthy. Surely I am going to try this recipe.

  • Sapana Behl

    December 4, 2017 at 10:01 am

    That is an interesting way to serve eggplants. Love reading your post.

  • Padmajha PJ

    December 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Such a unique recipe this is! Never tried brinjal with greens!!


    December 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    This is such a delicious recipe..and healthy too!Bookmarking this!

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