This is a flavorful tangy fish curry from the North Eastern part of India.The flavors here are fresh and subtle.Spices used are minimum.The state of Assam is situated on the banks of river Brahmaputra and fish farming is predominant here.Fresh water fishes like carps are generally used in the fish dishes.”Maas” in Assamese means fish and “tenga” means sour ,the dish refers to a tangy fish curry which is served with rice and eaten with relish by the local residents.
There are many souring agents which are used locally,common among them are Lime(A different variety with thick skin and strong aroma),elephant apple also known as “ou tenga” in Assamese and raw mango.In case one of them is not available you can use tomatoes.Mustard oil is mainly used for cooking purpose.
- Fish pieces (Generally Carps are used like Rohu,Katla) 4 to 6
- Paach Phoron or five spice mix consists of fenugreek seed ,nigella seed , cumin seed , black mustard seed and fennel seed in equal parts.(1/2 tsp)[alternatively use at least fenugreek seeds]
- Red chilies (2)
- Tomatoes (1 finely chopped)
- Lemon juice (1 tsp)
- Turmeric powder(1 tsp)
- Salt (1 tsp)
- Warm water( 1 cup)
- Coriander leaves (A bunch chopped)
- Mustard oil (3 tbsp) for frying
- Vegetables (potato 1 cubed,1 ridged gourd cut into small pieces etc)
- Boil or shallow fry the vegetables in oil.
- Marinate the fish pieces with turmeric and salt for 10 minutes
- Heat mustard oil till smoking hot.[if the oil is hot the fish pieces don’t stick to the pan]
- Turn the heat to medium ,otherwise the oil will burn
- Drop the fish pieces one by one and fry in hot oil.
- Take out the fish pieces.
- Lower the heat and add 1 tbsp paanch phoron followed by red chillies.
- when the mustard seeds stop spluttering,
- Add tomatoes and simmer till they get cooked and turn like puree and release the oil.
- Add turmeric and fry.
- Add the vegetables and saute
- Add hot water and salt to taste .Cover cook for 5 minutes or till the vegetables are cooked.If you want more gravy can add more water.
- Add the fish pieces at the last.
- Cover cook for 2 minutes and garnish with coriander leaves.