Assamese Masoor Tenga (Assamese Fish in sour curry)
Since the day we celebrated ‘Independence Day’ last week, I have been thinking a lot about the day. Specially looking at all of ours FB pages where we are wishing each other on the day, proudly talking about being Indian made me think; What does Independence Day really mean to me, more importantly to us? Where do we stand after 65 years?
The way I see things, we mostly stand at: (these are my thought and up for debate) ( to see the recipe, scroll below)
1. Mass exodus of North Easterners from all over the country- result of a communal clash, a tit for tat act. Shame shame!
2. It takes religious hatred to unite us- We escape the truth by blaming the colonial power to give us such a gift of hatred. To me the truth is we have always benefit politically from such virtue (pun intended by calling it a virtue)
3. A Hindu dies; Hindus go and kill Muslims, A Muslim dies, Muslims go and kills Hindus. I think at this rate at this rate end of another 65 year, we all will be dead. Thanks to religious propaganda we are all brain dead anyway!
4. We think Americans are stupid, as they do not know where Iraq is. That is a different country in a different part of the world. Many of us do not know where North East is. We do not know which states makes seven sisters. All “chinky” women in cities are from Nepal, china or Timbaktoo. And they are, of course are easily available. Sick!
5. We believe that a woman deserves to be raped, if she is dressed provocatively and goes out at night. So it is her fault. Someone please tell me I wrong!
6. All the wicked women in TV soaps are working women- ambitious, outgoing and go-getters. And All the sati savitris wear kanjibharam to sleep, wake up, go to kitchen and does ‘seva’ for rest of the family. She is always in tears, always getting hurt and her only sense of justice is her families’ happiness. When I walk around my para when I go home, I can hear the same music coming from every house- TVs serials. People are clearly irritated if you drop by any time in afternoon or evening when the serials are going on air. What does it tell us about the way we want to look at our women? I am wicked.
7. Our defense budget is higher than our education, health budget. What fun!
8. India shining- we have successfully eliminated poor people from our city spaces. Therefore, poverty is no more on the face. And, if some still can be seen, thanks to schemes like JNNURM, we will be able to throw them out of city soon. How can we show our ugly faces of the poor to foreign investors? Yahoo!
9. We do not have any use for a robust agricultural policy and who needs farmers. So force them to sell agricultural lands to property dealer, builders and other corporations. We will live in beautiful buildings and we will not eat any more.
10. With all due respect ( Please trust me when I say this as I work with minority community), to minority community in R’s village, I never understand why they run with some other country’s flag and distribute sweets when Indian team lost in a game of cricket. I would love when people will no more be ‘national’ by geographical boundary. However, is it that realisation which motivates such behavior? Or Is it also part of minority rights? I do not think so. Look what have we done by criminalizing certain religion!!! I do not want to be louder than this!
11. Middle class ‘us’ have started to think that sc/st and minority community are in a better state then upper class rest of us. Look at some Facebook status. Seriously friends? We were myopic and now have turned blind.
12. We have criminals in ministry ruling us- instead of jail.
13. Our child development index is one of the lowest in the world and we are one of most corrupt country is the world.
14. I went to a property mela in London. We realised that we cannot really afford one anymore. One proposal in Delhi was particularly interesting. They are selling land with condition that one can only build houses with European or Middle Eastern or contemporary design if they buy the land. No Indian styled houses. And this property will have a theme park for children with Eiffel tower, London bridge and things like that- nothing about India figure there.
And, I can go on and on. I seriously cannot stop thinking what are we celebrating on Independence Day? Freedom of ‘colonial power’ is not just a name it is also freedom from hunger, violence, discrimination, stereotype, riots, religious propaganda, equal rights, women’s human rights and many more. We have a long way to go before we are truly free. Happy Independence Day to everyone!
Now, let me share a recipe from Assam, North East, as it seems so fitting. This is my wonderful friend JB’s recipe. An Assamese beauty, painter, singer, a great cook and my friend-JB. She exposed me to some wonderful Assamese cuisine, which is now staple in my kitchen. I am going to cook Masoor Tenga and hope is it something near to hers.
Masoor Tenga is one of the most popular and favorite delicacies of Assam. What I learnt from JB is that there are various ways to make tenga and every household has their own recipe of this famous dish. To make tenga, various souring agents are used- Bilahi (Tomato), Owtenga (Elephant’s Apple), Thekera (Mangosteen, Nebu (Lemon) etc. I am using Bilahi (Tomato) as that is readily available. This is a very simple dish. JB usually cooked the fish with Rui (Rahu) fish when she treated me. However, I am cooking it with Sea Bream. You can use any white fish to cook the dish.
Assamese Masoor Tenga (Assamese Fish curry in sour gravy)
Preparation Time: 5 mins
1- Medium sized Sea Bream clean and slices
2 – Large tomatoes cut into small chunks
1- Medium boiled and mashed potato (optional to thicken the gravy)
½ teaspoon of mustard seed (or Panch Phoron)
3-tablespoon oil to fry the fish (preferably mustard oil)
Salt to taste
2- green chilies, slit length wise
Chopped coriander leaf for garnishing
2-tablespoon lemon juice for serving (optional)
|Sea Bream marinated with turmaric and Salt
1. Marinate the fish with turmeric and salt
2. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil and fry the marinated fish on both sides until light brown. You can give less oil depending on the size of the fish as sea bream releases a lot of oil
3. Once fried , keep them aside
4. Now on the same pan add the mustard seed on the remaining hot oil ( in case there is no left over oil from the frying, use 1 tablespoon of oil and heat it up before adding mustard seed)
5. When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the chopped tomatoes.
6. Add turmeric, salt and green chili
7. Fry the tomatoes until totally purée or pulpy
8. Add the mashed potatoes (optional) and mix well with tomatoes
9. Add water depending on how much grave you want to give and let it boil
10. add the fried fish
11. Cook until fish is cooked, gravy had reduced and thickened as desired
12. Garnish with chopped coriander
13. You can add lemon juice just before serving or on individually so that people can adjust tanginess, as they like.
14. Enjoy with boiled white rice and some dal (yellow lentil )