KalaJeera Masor Jhul translates to fish curry with Nigella seeds. It is a recipe celebrated in the lower parts of Assam. When I had this fragrant spicy fish curry for the first time, it came across as a soothing breeze of fresh air. As an Assamese, I now have one more unique recipe to happily brag about. 😀
So….Assamese fish curries/ Masor jhul are not just based on Tenga, Mustard paste, Khar, Herbs and vegetables, but also on some really bold and beautiful spices!!!!!
Nigella seeds/ kalajeera as a base in Fish curry is not something that myself or my parents have grown up eating. We reside in upper Assam and the use of Nigella seeds has always been confined to a tarka or added as an taste enhancer in certain snacks.The geographical division of Assam into lower, middle and upper parts somehow brought in strong cultural implications.
A stark difference in the dialect, rituals, traditions and eating habits is easily visible amongst these regions . However with progressive times of social media influence we tend to see a beautiful exchange or confluence of various culinary traditions. Pork, which has always been integral to tribal cuisine was deeply abhorred by so many non tribal communities till the past decade. But now, the tables have turned and guess what, ask any millennial about their favorite meat, 8/10 would give a cheer for pork!
Coming to the recipe, it’s usually had with climbing perch/kawoi Maas for its beautiful earthy flavor and soft meat. Since I couldn’t find it here in Ahmedabad, I went with Mystus Tengara/ tengra/ hingora and it tasted really good. The original recipe also goes without lime juice and green chillies, but I decided to add it for extra flavor.