Fiddlehead Fern Pork | Indigenous recipe from Assam

Words by Kaashvi Seth

In the heart of Assam, a region rich in tradition and flavor, Gitika has inherited a special recipe from her mother-in-law in Tezpur: Fiddlehead fern pork. This dish, rooted in tribal cuisine, blends simplicity with rich, earthy flavours.

When Gitika married into her husband’s family, she received this recipe as a cherished gift. While she grew up enjoying fiddlehead ferns with baby potatoes, the combination with pork introduced a new, delightful dimension.

When Gitika married into her husband’s family, she received this recipe as a cherished gift.

The magic of this dish lies in the fatty pork, which releases oils that blend beautifully with the fiddlehead ferns. The slightly grassy, crisp ferns perfectly complement the smoky, savory pork, creating a harmonious and flavorful dish.

Gitika often returns to Tezpur to hand-pick fiddlehead ferns and source fresh pork from her village, maintaining a farm-to-plate ethos. In Bombay, she shares this traditional dish through pop-up events, inviting others to savor Assam’s unique flavors.


  • 500g pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 200g fiddlehead ferns, cleaned and trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons mustard oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit lengthwise


  1. Heat the mustard oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the slit green chilies and minced garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until aromatic.
  3. Add the boiled pork pieces to the pan. Stir in salt and turmeric. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pork is nearly done.
  4. When the pork is almost cooked through, add the cleaned fiddlehead ferns to the pan. Stir well to combine with the pork and spices.
  5. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the fiddlehead ferns – they should retain their crunch and bright green color.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Serve hot, preferably with steamed rice.

Note: This dish showcases the unique combination of tender pork with the crisp, slightly earthy flavor of fiddlehead ferns, a seasonal delicacy in Assam. The mustard oil adds a pungent kick that complements the meat and vegetables perfectly.

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