Winter is upon us and the riverine areas that were underwater during the monsoon are turning yellow with mustard flowers.
My mom in law has already sowed our patch and when we visited her for holidays, we had fresh mustard greens as salad and with freshly caught fish from the rivers.
You see, winters are somehow much endearing to us than the rest of the year. As soon as we reach October, there’s a nip in the year as the sunrays are slanting and we get rid of that exhausting humidity and heat.
It is the time to harvest the year’s hard work, preserve the yield and sowing of the winter vegetables. It is also the time when we sundry the banana steams/peels and make the raw material for khar.
The legumes and lentils will also be harvested and soon, we would have new black lentils, sesame seeds and varieties of rice for the Assamese harvest festival, Magh Bihu.
Oh, buddy! There’s so much to talk about winter and its food and culture as well as our traditions. I am positive that gradually, we would cover everything in our blog. But for today, let’s talk about sesame seeds.
Somehow, for me, the most exciting thing of the winter harvest is the sesame seeds. The freshly harvested sesame seeds play a major role during Magh Bihu. Sesame seeds, locally known as til is widely used in Assamese cuisine.
There are so many food items made from sesame seeds. Til pitha, tilor laru, mah korai, korai guri… the list is endless. These foods help to keep warm in those cold days before and after Makar Sankranti.
Since childhood, I love eating the sesame seeds. But it is the aroma of freshly pounded sesame seeds used in mashed potatoes or eggplants, as chutney, in salads or curries that make me drool. I can eat the whole dinner with just the aroma and a dash of sesame seeds chutney!
Let’s learn about sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are one of the most used oilseeds in human history. The seeds have the highest oil content than any other oilseeds known to men.
It is been in use since the last 4000 years as the history indicates. Sesame is believed to be originated in India and spread to other parts of the world.
Sesame is a flowering plant that does not grow taller than 2-3 feet. The flower is white in colour and very pretty. The shape of the seeds is oval and can be of black, grey, red, golden, and brown in colour.
Sesame or til is good for skin, hair, improves digestion, and balances the blood pressure. It is also a good source of energy and boosts bone health.
As a little young man, my son has developed quite a good taste of food and as a mother, I love and proud of him.
The other day, I made the sesame seeds chutney for the lunch and let me admit that I was a little nervous serving it to him like any mother who offers her kid a new food.
But to my joy, he loved it! It was one of our favourites and now we can call it a family favourite!
Let me put the recipe here so that someday, you can make it too.
Sesame Seeds Chutney
1/2 cup Sesame seeds
2 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
1/4 a cup of water
Ground the sesame seeds
Now add the water, garlic, salt and chillies and ground until you get a smooth consistency.
Adjust the salt and then serve.
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