How To Make Tenga Shira - Recipe by Dina Begum

Tenga Shira is a tok (sour) fish stew with a light sauce, popular in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. It’s made with green or semi-ripe tangy tomatoes, and the sour element can be enhanced with Bangladeshi boroi (jujube) or jolpai/belfoi (wild/Ceylon olives), as well as various kinds of sour greens.

If you can’t get jujube or wild olives, which are available in Bangladeshi grocery stores, adding a little lemon juice will give you that extra tang.

Traditionally, this dish is cooked with boal fish, which is available from Bangladeshi grocers (ask them to cut it into large pieces). Delicious with plain white rice.


Made in Bangladesh by Dina Begum (Hardie Grant, £28), Photography by Haarala Hamilton and Habibul Haque

Ingredients for Tenga Shira Serves: 6

  • 400 g (14 oz) boal or skin-on cod loin, cut into large chunks
  • 1 ¼  teaspoons salt, plus extra for soaking if needed
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 750 ml (25 fl oz/3 cups) hot water
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 ½  teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4-5 dried Bangladeshi boroi (optional)
  • 4–5 Bangladeshi boroi (jujube berries) or 2–3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 semi-ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 green finger chillies, sliced lengthways
  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander (cilantro)

How to make Tenga Shira

  1. If you are using Bangladeshi fish, soak the pieces in cold water with 2 tablespoons salt for 5 minutes, then rinse with a few changes of water and drain well. If using cod, prepare according to the packet or fishmonger’s instructions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat for about 30 seconds, then add the garlic. Saut. briefly for about 30 seconds until soft but not brown, then add the onion, along with the salt. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
  3. Add 50 ml (1 ¾  fl oz/3 ½  tablespoons) of the water, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Leave to soften for 4–5 minutes.
  4. Once most of the water has been absorbed and the oil has risen to the surface, add the ground spices and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for about a minute to cook out the spices. Add 100 ml (3 ½  fl oz/scant cup) of the water. Once it comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, then cover with the lid and cook for a further 4–5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the fish, along with the boroi (if using), ensuring each piece is well coated. Spread out in a single layer in the pan and cover with the lid once more. Cook for 5 minutes. If the fish catches at the bottom, shake the pan gently. Do not stir, as this will break the fish.
  6. Now add 300 ml (10 fl oz/1 1/4 cups) of the hot water, pouring it in around the sides of the pan so as not to break the fish.
  7. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cover once more and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Lay the tomatoes carefully into the pan, being careful not the break the fish. Pour the remaining 300 ml (10 fl oz/11/4 cups) of hot water carefully around the sides of the pan.
  9. Add the chillies and cover, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5–6 minutes.
  10. Next, sprinkle over the coriander and lemon juice (if using) and simmer for 1 minute more before serving.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Latest Articles & Recipes

  • Bulgar Wheat & Vermicelli Noodles (Pourgouri) Recipes

    Bulgar Wheat & Vermicelli Noodles (Pourgouri) Recipes

  • Cypriot Lamb Shanks in Sticky Sauce (Arnisio Kotsi Me Saltsa) Recipe

    Cypriot Lamb Shanks in Sticky Sauce (Arnisio Kotsi Me Saltsa) Recipe

  • Giant Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce (Gigantes Plaki) Recipe

    Giant Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce (Gigantes Plaki) Recipe