Monday, July 21, 2014

:::বিলাহী-মাছৰ টেঙাঁ (Tangy-sour Fish Curry):::

Time for another easy-peasy recipe :-)

Tangy-sour Fish Curry is a very very staple dish in Assamese household. If you are from Assam (a very beautiful state in India), you know what I am talking about! Or if you ever had an Assamese roommate, I am pretty sure that you have seen and tasted this delectable curry! This is one of the recipe that truly symbolizes Assamese cuisine! We love our tenga (tangy flavor) and we love our maas (fish); this is just the perfect marriage between them. Another bonus point: it's extremely easy and quick, my kind of recipe ;-)

Let's discuss the recipe! If you happen to read my last blogpost on "জিকা-মাছৰ জোল (Fish Curry with Ridge Gourd)", this essentially involves the same steps. Same ingredients including the spices but because of the tangy nature of tomato this falls under the "tenga(sour) curry” section. We prepare same kind of fish curries with Outenga(Elephant Apple) and Nemu(Lime) as well. It’s a very regular preparation for us, but this kind of sour curries are all the more appreciated during the hot and humid summer months in Assam! You can definitely make it without the fish, but I can guarantee you, with fish it just tastes divine! :-) I have tried other signature Assamese dishes with saltwater fishes that are more readily at my disposal; I have to say there is something more that can be only achieved when freshwater fish (like Rohu etc.) is used. But I have tried this tomato curry with Tilapia, Catfish and Salmon and I see the same result no matter what type of fish I use! Also, like almost all Assamese cuisine, potato is important to this curry. Some of the other recipes I shared here can be made and relished without adding the potato, but I feel this curry NEEDS potato :-)

Also, like I have previously said, I am a trial and error kind of cook, which entails that I do not follow strict measurement for recipes! I do better when I estimate :-)

Ingredients: Tomato (More tomato means more tangy :-)), Fish, Red chili, Bay leaves, Pas furon (five spices mix), Oil, Salt, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Cumin powder, Turmeric powder, Potato, Coriander (optional), Green chili (optional) 
  • Marinate fish pieces with salt and turmeric for few minutes. Fry in your choice of oil or alternatively oven-bake.
  • I like to chop up the tomatoes lengthwise. The reason being -is  I love the tomato skin left away from the melted flesh in the curry after being cooked. I think it makes the gravy very textured! :-) You will also need to chop up onions, make a paste of ginger and garlic as well.
  • It's a good idea to pre-boil the potatoes. It saves the actual cooking time. Alternatively, I add the potato pieces a few minutes before the tomato as it needs more time to cook.
  • Heat oil in a pan; any oil will do. Because I make it so often, I mostly use extra virgin olive oil. But it tastes best with mustard oil. 
  • Once the oil is well heated, add dry red chilies, bay leaves, pas furon and chopped onions. 
  • Add potatoes at this time if you haven't boiled it already.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, it will start melting within 10 minutes. Unlike some other recipes I have shared here, this does not need that much stirring.
  • After few minutes add the ginger-garlic paste, green chili and salt. Stir for 2-3 minutes and add the turmeric as well as the cumin powder.
  • Keep stirring and once everything seems all blended out and cooked, add water and bring it to boil. 
  • Add the fish pieces; boil for some more minutes so that the flavor from fish blends in with the gravy.
  • Add coriander at this point. That’s it :-) :-) And it best served with rice.

I like this curry to be tangy; hence at times if it is not sour enough I add juice from half a lemon to increase the sourness. This recipe has been my “foolproof curry” from a long time, I always prepare this when I have friends over; it needs slightest attention so you can devote your time to more complex recipes. I also have very fond memories of cooking and enjoying this curry with my roommates from Tamil Nadu during the crazy busy days of “grad school”. They seem to really enjoy it :-) For me, it will always remain the perfect item to cook for days when I don't have much time or don't want to spend a lot of time in kitchen but still crave for some comfort food!!!

If you are an ardent follower of Assamese cuisine like me I am very sure that this curry makes a regular appearance in your kitchen too! If you are not from Assam and you love experimenting recipe from different cuisine, I sincerely think this will be an ideal recipe to try. It's super easy (Oh, I already said that :-) many times) and ingredients are so easily available. I know you will surely enjoy this curry!! :-)

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