3 Simple and Delicious Assamese Veg Khar Recipes


Khar is a unique Assamese dish, traditionally served as a starter. The specialty of pure khar is its key ingredient, ‘kola khar’, which is prepared by sun-drying the peels of a banana tree trunk, burning them to ashes, and then filtering water through them. This alkaline preparation is believed to have medicinal properties and is served before the main meal to help prepare the tongue and the palate for the subsequent flavors to come.


Khar can be prepared with a wide range of main ingredients, resulting in a huge variety of recipes. Even the ‘kola khar’ can be substituted with other items, such as baking soda. In this post, we are sharing three simple, yet delectable vegetarian khar recipes that you can try at home. Do read about them below.

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1. Spinach Khar (Paleng Xaakor Khar)

Ingredients:

  • Fresh spinach (paleng xaak) – 2 medium branches
  • Split pigeon peas (toor daal) – 4 tablespoons
  • Kola khar / baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic – 2 to 3 cloves
  • Green chilies – 2 to 3
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Water – (1/2) cup

Preparation:

  1. First, wash the split pigeon peas under running water. Then, soak them in clean, filtered water for half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves and chop the green chilies. Wash, strain, and finely shred the spinach leaves.
  3. Heat the mustard oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the garlic cloves and green chilies to it and stir-fry them for a minute or two, until they become fragrant.
  4. Add the soaked pigeon peas and shredded spinach to the pan. Keep stirring until the spinach shrinks and becomes tender.
  5. Add salt, water, and kola khar or baking soda to this mixture. Cover the skillet with a lid.
  6. Turn the flame to low heat and leave it for 5 minutes. This allows the split pigeon peas to cook thoroughly under pressure. As soon as all the contents of the pan develop a mushy consistency, turn off the heat.
  7. Remove the pan from the stove and serve the hot khar with steamed rice.

Spinach Khar


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 2. Mustard Greens Khar (Lai Xaakor Khar)

Ingredients:

  • Mustard greens (lai xaak) – 500 gm
  • Rice powder (khud chaul) – 3 tablespoons
  • Green chilies – 2
  • Garlic – 8 cloves
  • Kola khar / baking soda – (1/2) teaspoon
  • Mustard oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Fresh coriander leaves – for garnishing

Preparation:

  1. Wash the mustard greens properly and chop them up. Also chop the garlic and green chilies and keep aside.
  2. Take a large wok with a thick bottom and heat the mustard oil in it.
  3. In another pot, bring some water to a boil.
  4. Add the chopped garlic and green chilies to the mustard oil and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Once they become golden brown, add the chopped mustard greens to the wok and sauté for a few minutes.
  6. Then, spread kola khar or baking soda over the entire wok and wait until the mustard greens shrink.
  7. Add the rice powder, a pinch of salt, and the boiling water to the mixture and keep stirring with a spoon to avoid lumps.
  8. Once the concoction become thick, take the wok off the heat and garnish the khar with chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Serve immediately with hot rice.

Mustard Greens Khar

3. Pumpkin and White Gourd Khar (Kumura Aru Rongalour Khar)

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin – 250 gm
  • Leaves from white gourd – 250gm
  • Onions – 2 large
  • Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves
  • Green chilies – 4
  • Mustard oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Five spices – (1/2) teaspoon
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Kola khar / baking soda – 1 tablespoon

Preparation:

  1. Chop the pumpkin and white gourd leaves finely and then mash them together with a little salt. Set this mixture aside for some time.
  2. Slice the onions and mince the green chilies and garlic cloves. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the mustard oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the five spices and minced green chilies to it. Fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pan and sauté until they turn golden brown. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the pumpkin and white gourd leaves mixture into the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the kola khar or baking soda to the pan and cover it. Adjust the flame to low heat.
  7. After 12 to 15 minutes, remove the cover and serve the khar with steaming rice.

Pumpkin and White Gourd Khar

All of these dishes sound delicious, right? These were the three vegetarian khar recipes we wanted to share with you, as we really thought you would enjoy them. Do try them out for yourself, and serve them as a starter with your next meal – the traditional Assamese way.

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Nilankeeta

A digital media professional, an ardent beauty lover and a passionate foodie - this is what describes Nilankeeta in a nutshell. She is in a serious relationship with music and can't think of a life without family, friends, and online shopping.

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