The Winged-Prickly-Ash-with-Tungtap Recipe is one of the most common and popular chutney recipes in Northeast India’s culinary delights. It transcends the borders of all the states of the region. And talk about Winged Prickly Ash, also known as Szechuan pepper, would never be complete without mentioning one of its most popular uses, the Tungtap (traditionally fermented dried fish) chutney.
As a Khasi, this is one of my favorites. We’ve grown up listening to the stern warning from our mothers: “Do not have too much of it, else you will feel drowsy.” I guess the beautiful taste lingers and lulls you to sleep? Frankly, this has not happened to me so far.
As kids we were treated to this chutney without any chillies in it and it was always fun to watch how the elders’ eyes watered or heads were shaken to get over the heat off the tongue. Yet people would help themselves to more.
When I grew up, I realized how this chutney would never be complete without a strong dose of chillies. And, more the merrier. You may wonder if the amount of chillies we consume could wreak havoc on our system. But thankfully, our mothers have found that Winged Prickly Ash, or Jaiur, acts as an antidote. The tongue numbing sensation from Winged Prickly Ash has the ability to counteract the heat of the chillies.
Around the time of the year when potatoes are harvested, families in Shillong perform a unique ritual unlike anywhere else. Potatoes are boiled till they are soft and good to eat. Then tungtap chutney (with and without chilli) is prepared and enjoyed by the entire family along with boiled potatoes, lots of raw onions, salt and loads of laughter. This is a family event which is fun and the love, togetherness and bonding that is shared makes it that much more special.
Let me share with you the recipe of Tungtap Chutney.
Winged Prickly Ash with Tungtap Recipe
Serves: 8 to 10
- Two pieces of medium sized tungtaps (these are traditionally fermented dried fish)
- Two medium sized onions
- Chillies (we prefer Bhut Jolokia, a variety which ranks as one of the hottest pure breed chillies in the world!)
- One large tomato
- Salt to taste
- Winged Prickly Ash – if raw, then ¼ of a teaspoon, and ½ a teaspoon if dried
Ingredients of the chutney
- Grate the onions
- Either char or boil the tomato and remove the seeds
- Chop the chillies
- Char the fish using a pair of tongs or a thin frying pan
- Mash or grind these ingredients together to make a grainy paste. Do not over grind.
Szechuan pepper with Tungtap – A unique and memorable blended taste
It is mouth-watering, really. So, at the end of it, sluurrrp. We did have the very same tungtap chutney you see above.
Try out the simple szechuan pepper with tungtap recipe and let us know how you liked it. Love it? Hate it? Tell us.
Add as comments! And in case you have a recipe of your own, why not share that with us?