Some of the popular Assamese cuisines are acidic or sour named as ‘tenga’.‘Tenga’ or a sour dish is a curry made with various souring agents. A favoured tenga dish of delight in this hot and humid climate is a sour fish curry known as ‘masor tenga’ মাছৰ টেঙা . The dish forms an integral part of dining in every household in Assam. ‘Masor tenga jul’ or sour fish curry is prepared in many ways and the taste depends on the souring agent. Sourness is usually prepared from tomatoes, lime or sometimes ou tenga (elephant apple) or thekera tenga (wild mangosteen).
Masor tenga is easy to cook although the final dish looks quite complex. The flavor depends on the spice and the souring agents used. Normally varieties of spices are not required while preparing this dish. The basic spices used are turmeric, salt, garlic, onions, ginger, ‘paach poron’ (mixture of five spices) or simply mustard seeds, cumin seeds or fenugreek seeds. While preparing masor tenga, I especially like popping mustard seeds in hot mustard oil and add thick pulpy grated tomatoes. Once when the tomato thickens, some amount of water is added and boiled to make curry. Mustard paste as an option can be added. After stirring for sometime the fried fishes are put into the gravy and allowed to mix. To add flavor one can add fresh lime juice and sprinkle some finely chopped coriander leaves in the curry. A coriander flavoured masor tenga is ready.
This issue we bring you Masor Tenga prepared by Rakhi Phukan.
1. 250gms of bottle gourd ( jatilou )
2. 3 pieces of rohu fish
3. 4 ripe tomatoes
4. 4 tablespoon of mustard oil
5. ¼ tablespoon of fenugreek seeds ( methi)
6. Salt and turmeric
1. Marinate the fish in salt and turmeric.
2. Fry the marinated fish pieces until half fried.
3. Slice the tomatoes and bottle gourd into small pieces
4. In the karahi (traditional frying pan), put mustard oil
5. After allowing the oil to warm up, put methi (fenugreek seeds) until they turn brown to dark brown.
6. Add the sliced tomatoes and cook in low flame. After sometime put the sliced bottle gourd into it.
7. Add salt and turmeric as per taste, sprinkled some water and cover the vessel.
8. When the ingredients soften and cooked properly, pour warm water according to need and allow it to boil. Into the boiling tenga place the fried fishes and cover it. After 5 minutes serve it hot. Cooking time 25 mins. approx.