Bamboo Shoot with Split Red Lentil (Banh Gajor Khar)


Banh (Bamboo Shoot) Khar

'Khar' is an alkaline dish that is cooked with vegetables, lentils and often fish is added. 'Kola Khar' is used to cook while cooking this dish. Kola Khar is the ashes that is obtained after burning the dried peels of  Bhim Kol or Musa Balbisiana. The peels are sun dried in the month of August/September when the sun is the hottest in this region and the monsoons are over. The dried peels are then burnt and the ashes saved to be used in cooking during the entire year. A little of the ash is placed on a strained or a coconut shell lined with a soft cloth and water is passed through it. The water obtained through the ashes is then added to the vegetables & lentils or fish to cook a dish called 'Khar'. It imparts a wonderful umami flavour to the dish and is always served at the beginning of a meal, preparing your palate for the other dishes to come.

Salt was available only to the Royals and nobility of Assam. It wasn't an affordable condiment for the common man, hence it is said that, they developed Khar to season and add flavour to their food. According to this belief, it is said that Khar helps in digestion and curing gastric problems. It helps to maintain the pH balance in the body due to its high alkaline properties. Assamese people are often referred to as Khar khuwa Oxomiya, which can be roughly translated as - "people who eat Khar". 

The Ingredients - Sliced Bamboo Shoot, Masoor Dal, Khar Water, Green Chilli and Ginger

The Cuisine of the North Eastern States are intrinsically simple based on the availability of the produce and the use of  seasonal vegetables, fruits and berries are common. The consumption of Bamboo Shoot during the rainy season is very common, tender young bamboo shoot is eaten fresh and as well fermented and pickled to be used throughout the year. Fermented Bamboo shoot is considered a delicacy. Bamboo shoots are nutrient dense, research have revealed that it helps to improve digestion, curing cardiovascular diseases  and also antioxidant rich. Bamboo shoot are a power house of proteins, carbohydrates, fibre and mineral and it is readily available to the common man. It is known as "Green Gold" because of its innumerable therapeutic properties.

Sharing today with you here is one of our favourite bamboo shoot preparation  "Banh Gajor Khar", tender bamboo shoot cooked with split red lentils with Khar.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback for this recipe.

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