If Kashmiri Rajkhowa has her way the ubiquitous tray laden with a variety of sweets at the juroon ceremony in weddings in Assam will soon be replaced by a tray of delectable traditional pithas.
The innovative step to make the pithas a part of juroon tradition was taken by Kashmiri by posting her idea on social media.
Kashmiri has also replaced the aluminum or thermocol plates with sturdy round bamboo sieves (dolas used to dry or sort grains) to give a traditional feel to the entire package.
The pithas and ladoos, which come in 15 to 20 varieties are concoctions of sesame seeds, coconut, sugar, jaggery, glutinous rice powder, flour, and milk and are roasted, steamed, boiled or fried.
They form an integral part of the Bihu festivities in Assam.
“I have received two orders for making these trays after I put up my idea on social media. I think this will catch on as the trays which I decorated looked like the customized ones sold in the shops, “she said.
Kashmiri said that the range of pithas and ladoos were comparable to the sweets made of cottage cheese, mawa and besan and tasted as good.
“We should not let go of what is traditionally ours, ” she said.
The price of a dola of pithas depends on the variety and numbers of each variety like til (sesame) pithas, gila pithas (rice powder and jaggery), narikol (coconut) laddoo, tilor (sesame) ladoos, etc.
“There could be 10 varieties of pithas and ladoos and for each variety, the order could be for 10 pieces each. If everything does not fit on one dola I give the rest in packets to be placed on the dolas, when the first batch is consumed,” she said.
Kashmiri has been making pithas for the past six years and supplying them mostly to residents of Assam Agricultural University campus during Bihu festivities and other traditional ceremonies.
She had over several years won the first prize in the university’s horticulture show cum competition under the traditional item category.