Hurum (a type of puffed rice)

Preparation of Hurum, a traditional delicacy of upper Assam, was taught to me by my mother. This is one of my favourite snacks, and I feel proud when I offer this snack to my guests, particularly to non-Assamese people who actually relish this and pose a lot of queries regarding its preparation.

Method of preparation:

Soak Bora dhan (paddy) for five days. After five days, strain the rice in a Khorahi (traditional Assamese container with small holes and made of bamboo). If you do not have a Khorahi, you can drain the water out by using any container that has small holes.

Now boil the bora dhan just for a little while in a kadhai/kerahi, botuwa (traditional Assamese utensil) or any other suitable utensil, but be careful not to boil too much as the husk should not split from the rice. In other words, partially boil the paddy. Move the slightly boiled paddy again to a container with holes and allow it to cool. Now put a kadhai on the stove. Take some bora dhan and roast in the kadhai. To know whether the bora dhan has been roasted properly, check by using your fingers, and if the husk is coming out easily, it is done. So, empty the content in a utensil. In similar fashion, roast the remaining bora dhan and allow it all to cool.
Pound the bora dhan in a dheki (traditional homemade wooden mill) in a slow or gentle manner. Collect the pounded portion immediately in a container that has a cloth spread at its bottom, and cover the container tightly. Once the entire bora dhan is pounded and collected in the container, sift to dehusk by using a Dola (traditional Assamese circular bamboo tray used for separating husk or broken grains) and again collect the rice in a cloth and keep it in the container.

Now, in a kadhai, put washed sand and let it become hot. Add palmful of the pounded and dehusked rice in the kadhai and roast it. Then sift the rice in a Saloni (sieve used to separate dust of food grains). Roast and sift all the remaining rice in similar manner. Your Hurum is ready.

My grandmother used to keep the Hurum in a Koloh (pot), tightly capped, and the Koloh was placed on the Dhowa chaang (an elevated platform made of bamboo over traditional kitchen fireplace). The Hurum was preserved for a long time in this way.

Hurum is an important snack amongst the members of the Ahom community and in adherence to the traditional beliefs, the newly-wed bride offers this snack in a Banbati (traditional Assamese bellmetal bowl) to her groom to begin their life long journey together.