Being born and brought up in Bengal, my interaction with the other Indian communities had been quite limited. However, once I shifted to Delhi, my first roommates were an Assameese and a Punjabi. That was my first major stint with communities belonging to other parts of India. I was quite perplexed and excited at the same time. Wondering how would I gel with them and also looking forward to a newly learning experience – getting to know people from various cultures and regions.
So, it was from Sanchayita (S) that I got to know a lot about not only Assameese culture but also their food habits. Being a hardcore non-vegetarian she enjoyed almost every delicacy – from fish to chicken – and from pork to pigeons. Every time I wanted to have non-veg she would be my partner-in-crime (the PG accommodation offered vegan food). So, one fine day she took me to Mukherjee Nagar where I tasted Assameese cuisine for the first time. Geographical closeness definitely has its impact on the cuisine. It reminded of my home especially the tangy taste of Masor Tenga.
Since then I have tasted many a dish peculiar to the north-eastern part of our country. But, the simple tangy Masor Tenga score above all. This post is definitely dedicated to S and my other friends from Assam
PS: Natives from Assam, you may put in your signature touch to this recipe as most of it have been collected from memory.
Here’s the recipe.
- Fish (rohu/carp) 500 grams cut into medium-sized pieces
- Tomatoes 2 large, sliced
- Mustard seeds, a handful
- Green Chillies, 2-3 slit lengthwise
- Lemon (juice of half or 1 full lemon)
- Salt to taste
- Mustard Oil, 4 tablespoons
Marinate fish pieces with salt and turmeric for at least 30 minutes. In a wok heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil and fry the marinated pieces. Keep aside. In the same wok, add the rest of the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. Once they began to splutter, add green chillies and the tomatoes. Stir for two-three minutes and then sprinkle some salt. Adding salt after the tomatoes will help the tomatoes to become tender thus enabling you to make a pulp. Add turmeric, stir for a minute and then add some water. You can add some salt at this stage depending upon your taste. Keep stirring for a few minutes and then add the pieces of fried fish. Cook for some time on low flame. Drizzle the required amount of lemon juice (depends how tangy you want it to be), bring to a boil.
The gravy should be a runny curry or jool as Assameese call it. So make sure the quantity of water you add. Remove from gas. Serve hot with boiled rice.