Saturday, June 06, 2015

Khorisa Brings Assam to Pune

Indians tend to be conservative when it comes to food. North Indian and Chinese continue to be the most popular choices when people dine out. South Indian food is popular in the country too, but only as breakfast or snack food. Therefore, the vast richness of our regional cuisines remains unavailable outside of their native regions.

It is therefore an event of considerable excitement when someone bucks the trend and brings a new cuisine to town. The moment I heard about the opening of at new Assamese restaurant, I had to visit right away.  Khorisa is Assamese for bamboo-shoot, an important ingredient of this North Eastern cuisine.  The owners seem to have spent a great deal of thought and effort in recreating an authentic dining experience to transport you to the land of the Brahmaputra while you dine.

Khorisa is located within Pune’s newest shopping destination: Seasons Mall in Magarpatta City (right opposite Amanora). Bamboo furniture, Assamese artifacts, and a counter that offers an authentic tea experience together gives this place an unique homely charm. The walls with their framed posters of Assamese produce and spices unique to this cuisine was a nice touch, as was Bhupen Hazarika playing in the background.

We were given a quick overview and help in making our choices. The owner even showed us the (in)famous Bhoot Jholakiya chillies, rated as one of the hottest chillies in the world.  This, like other Assamese ingredients, have to be shipped by them all the way from Assam.

We began with a Haah Mangho Bhoja, a dish of delicately spiced fried duck pieces with bones.  I liked the dish, but those who aren’t used to bones in their meat will need to be cautious especially since the bones are small and can be sharp.

The Ou Tenga Diya Dail is a daal made with elephant apple, a souring agent used in the North Eastern states (like raw mango and tamarind used elsewhere in the country).  Actually, seem the simple daal was quite a delight and went well with the duck and rice.

The Banh Gaaj Aru Maas, is fish in a thick gravy made of bamboo shoot and other spices.  While I have had a lot of bamboo-shoot in the past, they have been primarily in Oriental cuisine.  The taste of bamboo-shoot with other Indian ingredients seemed a little strange to me; it will probably take some time to get used to this unique combination.

We also ordered the Bora Saul, a sticky local variety of rice, which gave the meal a very authentic feel.  The portions here were quite large and we were full when it was time for desserts.

We decided to share one eventually: the Mihidana Aru Cream.  Mihidana is a variety of boondi popular in our Eastern states; during my childhood days, I remember looking out for the vendors when our train passed by Burdwan in West Bengal.  They served it here with some cream on top.  The dessert was not particularly memorable, but I loved the rest.

Khorisa has quite a large menu.  Now that Oh! Calcutta has exited Pune, this is the only place I can visit for any taste of East Indian delicacies.  I expect to be back for the other interesting stuff I could not try today: preparations made of pork, banana flower, banana stem and more.


Sharmila said...

Hi Shantanu! So glad to know, thanks to you, that an Assamese restaurant has opened in Pune.
Just wanted to know are there good vegetarian options too?
Thank you.

Shantanu said...

@Sharmila: Oh yes! They have a fairly good number of vegetarian choices too. Some uniquely East Indian stuff like dishes made of the flower and stem of the banana plant.

Lizy Geogy said...

Assamese Cuisine1! sounds like a novel variety in Pune. Would definitely try this out!

Shantanu said...

@Lizy: Let me know what you think.

Unknown said...

Your blogs are very well written. There are lot of exchanges of food experiences in Pune which happens on a FB page - Pune Eat Outs. With 10000 or so members so far. Would love to share your blog link on that with your permission. Though that group is mainly about Pune eateries,

-Nitin Mahajan

Shantanu said...

@Nitin: I do know of Pune Eat Outs. Please feel free to link to my pages.

Unknown said...

Food is one of the most important ingredient of a good trip ;) Good food definitely adds worth to the entire experience of travelling.
Visit this place near Satara, called The Rural Door. Its got the yummiest rural cuisine. Spicy and filled with flavour.
The place also has many other interesting thing to look forward too like its one of a kind photo booth with props and the terrace gardening workshop is what I enjoyed the most. They also have a heritage gallery full of knowledge about farming and interesting activiteis like pottery and cattle feeding. :) Check out whenever you get time