Sharmin Pasha is a food writer currently based in Dubai, UAE, where she teaches privately-organised cooking lessons on different techniques of cooking. She also hosts an informative page featuring Assamese recipes on Facebook, which was created to showcase the culinary treasures of Assam to the world and to preserve ethnic recipes for generations to come.

Festive choconuts

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Ingredients:

* Shelled peanuts........ 350 gms

* Cocoa powder.............. 3 tsps

* Sugar......................... 250 gms

* Water............................. 250 ml

* Salt.................................. ½ tsp

* Unsalted butter.............. 2 tsps

* White sesame seeds . 3 tbsps

Method: In a heavy-bottomed pan, combine the peanuts, the cocoa powder, the sugar, the salt and the water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, until the sugar melts into syrup. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until the excess liquid evaporates and a dry, grainy sugar mixture coats the peanuts. Do not rush this step, otherwise the nuts may remain raw.

Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring, until the sugar begins to melt again. Stir in the sesame seeds and mix well. Add the butter and cook, stirring, until the peanuts are coated with crystallised sugar. Transfer to a greased plate and quickly spread them in a single layer. Allow the peanuts to cool and harden before serving. Serve with tea or coffee.

Savoury pastry bowls

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Ingredients:

* Plain flour..................................... 2 cups

* Ghee or shortening......................... 3 tbsps

* Salt ................................ ½ tsp or to taste

* Water..................................... as required

* Potatoes (boiled), large, cubed................. 2

* Chickpeas (boiled)............................ ½ cup

* Tomato, diced.................................... 1

* Onion, diced......................................... 1

* Yoghurt, whisked............................ 1 cup

* Roasted cumin powder....................... 1 tsp

* Store-bought tamarind chutney...... 5 tbsps

* Store-bought green chutney........... 5 tbsps

* Store-bought savoury noodles (sev) 5 tbsps

* Salt............................................ to taste

* Sugar.......................................... to taste

* Vegetable oil........................ for deep frying

* Small stainless steels bowls

Method: Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the ghee or shortening and mix using your fingertips, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add water, a little at a time, and knead into a stiff dough.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for half an hour. Turn the dough out onto a board and knead until pliable. Roll the dough out into a two mm. thick sheet and prick it all over with a fork. Using a cookie-cutter, cut out circles, large enough to cover the stainless steel bowls.

Place the bowl at the centre of the dough circle and wrap the dough around it. Smoothen the edges. Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Gently place the dough-covered bowl in the oil. Push the bowl down so that it’s filled with hot oil. When the bowl separates from the dough, use a pair of tongs to remove the bowl. Reduce heat to low and fry the dough bowl, until golden.  Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Repeat the process until you have used all the dough.

Whip the yoghurt, the roasted cumin powder, sugar, two to three tablespoons of water and salt in a small bowl until smooth. Combine the potatoes, the chickpeas, the onions, the tomatoes and mix well. Place a small quantity of the potato-chickpea filling into each dough bowl. Top with some whipped yoghurt. Drizzle with a few drops of the tamarind chutney and the coriander chutney. Finish with a sprinkling of the savoury noodles. Serve immediately.