Masor Tenga is quintessentially Assamese. We eat this delicate, tangy fish curry – Tenga means sour and Masor means with fish – in almost every summer and winter meal. One reason for this is that it isn’t complicated to make. With a handful of everyday ingredients, it can be prepared in no more than 15-20 minutes. In summer, we add fresh lime as the souring agent and in winter, wood apple or tangy robust heritage tomatoes. I would recommend Masor Tenga to anyone trying our cuisine for the first time: savour it with hot steaming rice and a crisp fritter of eggplant or pumpkin as an accompaniment.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 4/5 fillet of Rohu fish (each weighing about 100 gm)
  • 4/5 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Wash, clean and pat dry the fish fillets. Sprinkle on salt and turmeric and give it a good toss, so that the fish gets coated well.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, and when it is starts smoking, slide in the fish fillets. Lightly brown them on both sides for a total of a minute or two. Over frying will dry out the fish.
  3. Next, if you want to go the traditional way, chop the tomatoes. Personally, though, I prefer to blanch the tomatoes, which removes the skin, puree them and strain to remove the seeds. The final gravy is smoother and more delicate.
  4. Remove the excess oil from the wok, add the brown mustard and fenugreek seeds, and let them splutter for a few seconds. Take care not to burn them.
  5. Toss in the slit chillies and the fresh pureed tomatoes. Stir for a few minutes until the raw smell disappears, and then add salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. Pour in a cup of water, and bring to a boil.
  6. Gently lower the fish fillets into the gravy and, with the wok covered, simmer for another 5-7 mins. You can keep the curry light and thin, but I personally prefer it slightly thick, coating the back of my spoon. Drop in the lime juice and finely chopped coriander leaves. Simmer for a minute.
  7. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve with hot steaming Joha rice (a small-grained fragrant rice from Assam) and some crisp fritters on the side.
Kashmiri Barkati Nath

Kashmiri Barkati Nath

Born and raised in Assam, Kashmiri Nath imbibed the natural charm and beauty of the North East. Her love for food was seeded when she was a little girl and began learning to cook in her grandmother’s kitchen. Encouraged by her father, she pursued her passion. This love has taken her on a rollercoaster ride from her home kitchen to commercial kitchen, serving up traditional and family recipes and evangelising the nuances of Assamese cuisine. She believes in mindful eating and is the founder of a North East Food Forum that promotes healthy and conscious eating.

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