Baahor Sungut Dia Saol or Mangxo, a popular cooking technique in Assam, literally translates to rice/meat in a bamboo hollow, a technique that is all about slow cooking of food in wood fire or charcoal using a bamboo hollow.During the early days bamboo tubes were used effectively as alternates to modern day pressure cookers, steamers or such as they were not available. However, ‘Sungaat dia’ still remains a popular delicacy today in Assam as the water contained in fresh bamboo stem and the smoke from the woodfire/charcoal imparts a unique flavour and aroma to the food cooked within it.
However as with all traditional recipes, owing to the lack of easy availability of the raw materials the use of bamboo hollows in urban home kitchens are no longer a norm due to the difficulty in getting hold of fresh bamboo hollows, as well as the non-availability of wide open space/proper ventilation for woodfire cooking, thereby restricting this method to rural locations or ethnic food joints.
Must haves | Bamboo tubes/hollow 3-5ft long | Banana Leaves| Woodfire | Proper ventilation | A couple of good souls to sit around, chatting and enjoying the whole process whilest keeping an eye out to prevent the hollows from getting charred to ashes.
- Wash and soak the sticky rice in water overnight or for atleast six hours, then strain in a colander.
- Fill the hollow of the bamboo with the rice and seal the mouth with banana leaves. If the rice is not soaked overnight, add some warm water.
- Place the bamboo trunks around an open fire or directly over charcoal, turning the bamboo every few minutes or so to ensure that the rice is evenly cooked.
This may be then served as a jolpaan with whole milk/curd, fresh cream and jaggery or with several other accompaniments, my favourite being with chicken/duck/ pork in a thick gravy of potatoes and tomatoes or just with crispy fried baby potatoes and sour pickle.Sungaat Dia Mangxo| Meat In bamboo hollow | Method
Please adjust the portions according to the quantity of the meat used. The ingredients added can varied based on the choice of meat and preferences for certain style of cooking.
For a kg of Chicken, I have used : two tablespoon of ginger garlic paste | 5-6 slit green chillies |1 cup of finely chopped onion| 1 cup of chopped coriander leaves |2 tablespoon lemon juice |1 tablespoon cooking oil (optional)| Salt to taste| Turmeric 1 teaspoon.
- Marinate the meat with salt, freshly crushedt urmemic and the pounded ginger garlic.
2. Add chopped onion, split green chillies and coriander leaves. For aroma, add a few leaves of Assam Lemon.
3. You may also add fresh Bamboo shoot (goes well with pork) and other vegetables that suit your tastebuds.
4. Drizzle few tablespoon of mustard oil
5. Add the lime juice
6. Mix everything thoroughly.
7. Transfer to the bamboo hollow to fill 80% of its length
8. Firmly seal with banana leaves and place it around a fire or on top of burning charcoal.
Article By Antara Boruah
An avid traveller, Food Designer, Geologist and Founder of Choukascribbled