Assamese elephant apple (otonga) with lentils

I visited my Sister-in-law’s mothers house in Guwahati at the end of the year and was fortunate to be able to spend time in her kitchen learning some truly Assamese recipes. I visited the local market and the variety of fresh and unique ingredients, colocasia stems, elephant apples, varieties of red and green amaranth leaves, garlic chives and so much more, took me by surprise. I was fortunate that her wonderful cook, Morumi was a wonderful teacher and so knowledgeable about the ingredients and food. What a joy to learn and enjoy local delicacies. One of the aspects of travel that I enjoy is local cuisine, and I was fortunate to experience it from the local vegetable market to the kitchen and to the tables. What a treat. Elephant apples are a relatively unknown fruit that is found throughout Southern Asia including Northern India. Raw the fruit is pickled but ripe it is used in jams and some curries. It gets it name as elephants love the fruit, feasting on it till they are full. If the elephant apples is overripe and fermented, they have quite a party. This dal was absolutely fabulous. The lentils were creamy and had a wonderful and delicate tartness from the wood apples that is complimented by the spices and light heat. This local recipe is elegant and the unique sourness is refreshing. For more recipes from

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1/2 cup red lentils (masoor dal)

1/2 cup yellow mung dal

Salt, to taste

3 cups water

2 tablespoons mustard oil

3-4 dried red chilies

1 tablespoons whole panch poran spice mix

1/2 cup onions, sliced