Assam, the beautiful state of North-East India has an incredible range of culture, awesome wildlife, the world famous Assam Tea, oldest oil refineries, famous Kamakhya temple and of course, the Assamese cuisine, which is characterized by very little use of spices but strong flavors. This Masor Tenga (Tangy Fish Curry), is an indispensable part of a proper meal in Assam. This is a light and tangy dish, and is one of Assam’s signature preparations. The key ingredient in a tenga is the use of a souring agent like lemon or tomato which lends the dish a tart tangy taste. I being a fish addict, when saw this recipe in one of a popular food forum, could not stop myself and recreated the same in my kitchen some days back. It can be best enjoyed with plain rice. 

There are wide variety of souring agents that can be used to prepare this dish, ranging from the commonly available lemon, tomatoes, sour spinach to more exotic Elephant apple and  Garcinia.

A very important element of the dish is Panch Phoron (five-spice mix) which is a spice blend used in  Eastern India, especially in Bengali, Assamese, and Odia cuisine. The five spices that makes up the Panch phoron are a colourful blend of flavourful seeds: the green of fennel seed, black mustard and nigella seeds, golden fenugreek and buff-coloured cumin seeds.



Generally the ingredients are added in equal proportions, though this can vary according to taste. In the tradition of Odia and Bengali cuisine, panch phoron is typically fried in cooking oil or ghee, which causes it to start popping immediately. This technique is called “baghaar” (literally “tempering”) in odia, “phoron” in Bengali, and chaunk in Hindi. At this point, one adds the other ingredients to coat with the spice mixture. The distinct aroma of Eastern cuisine is mostly due to the blend of spices known as panch phoron.


[if !supportLists]·[endif]1 tbsp nigella seeds

[if !supportLists]·[endif]1 tbsp black mustard seeds

[if !supportLists]·[endif]1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

[if !supportLists]·[endif]1 tbsp fennel seeds

[if !supportLists]·[endif]1 tbsp cumin seeds

Preparation Combine all spices in a jar, store away from heat and light.It is widely used in eastern states of India and is known to impart a distinctive flavor to the traditional food!was amazed by the taste of this dish – so few ingredients, yet so effective. Just perfect for summer.



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Masor Tenga (Tangy Fish Curry)
  1. Marinate the fish pieces with turmeric powder and salt and leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan and shallow fry the fish until lightly browned. Set aside.
  3. Now, heat up 1 tbsp of mustard oil, almost to fuming and add the dry red chili, followed by the spoonful of Panch phoron. Once the dry spices release the aroma, add the chopped tomatoes and the turmeric powder, saute for a while and then simmer to make a pulp out of the tomatoes.
  4. Then put the chopped potato, mix well, saute and simmer under a lid until oil separates. Once the potatoes are soft, put the water and then fish pieces, bring to boil and keep for 3-4 minutes, check the salt content and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Recipe Notes
  • If you want more sourness, add some lemon juice as per your taste and your fish tenga is ready to be relished.

serve with steamed rice.



Happy Cooking:)

13 thoughts on “Masor Tenga (Tangy Fish Curry)”

  1. Wonderful dear for introducing me to the nuances of Assamese cuisine. The fish gravy looks truly flavoursome and yummy. Loved the trivia about this tany fish curry. Very nicely done up post with a finger licking dish.

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