O’ Tenga is the local name for Elephant Apple in Assam. O’ Tenga is the local name for delicious Assamese food in Bombay!
Bombay City – the mystic land that attracts young people by the droves. Some come to study and others to find their fortune in the big and often bad world of glamour and movies. Thankfully Joyee Mahanta and Priyangi Borthakur belong to the former category. The food world would have been a little bit poorer had it been otherwise.
Born and bred in Assam and friends for over a decade now, the two young girls found themselves sharing an apartment while studying in Bombay. Living away from family, with pressures of studies and then later work, they would survive on whatever food was available. But the continued, intense longing for home style food led them to slowly start experimenting in the kitchen. And these experiments resulted in the birth of O’ Tenga.
Ask them how they chose this name and they admit pondering over it for months till one fine day it just popped in their heads. The Tenga Jul is an indispensable part of Assamese meals and they use the fruit Ou-Tenga in many of their dishes; a no brainer really 🙂
The north eastern states offer a delicious array of food but very little of it is known to residents of metro cities. Both Joyee and Priyangi, who call themselves Team O’ Tenga are passionate and completely committed to the cause of popularizing Assamese food without any compromise on authenticity. Menu items are listed with their original names with simple explanations. We order a wide range of items, wondering if all ingredients would be available locally. What we get is an incredibly varied array of delicious food with no trace of extra oil that Indian food invariably has. I come to know later that they source all special ingredients including the very famous Bhoot Jolokhia Chillies from Assam.
A very well packaged lot of food arrives and we eat through a long list of items, along with steamed rice:
Omita Khar – Khar is a unique dish and traditional meals in Assam always begin with this. Khar can be made with a variety of ingredients; the one we have is made with raw papaya, possibly the most popular and unique in its deliciousness.
Koldil Bhaji – A delicious dry, vegetarian item made with banana flowers and dessicated coconut.
Bengena Alu Til Pitika – Aubergine and boiled potato mash tempered with sesame.
Ou Tenga Bilahi Mosur Dail – The light masur dal which is packed with flavour of the elephant apple.
Khutua Xaak Bhaji – One of the many fresh green saag found in the east, this one is cooked with black gram.
Lau Bilahi Masor Tenga – This tangy fish curry (usually Rohu) with bottle gourd is comfort food and an Assamese staple.
Til Diya Murgi Mangxo – Black sesame chicken, which is greenish black and looks super exotic but is super light on the palate.
Pork Chilli Fry – A total winner with pork which is my favouritest meat! They are happy to up or down the chilli quotient based on your taste. Be cautious, given that the famous Bhoot Jolokhia Chillies are used here!
Xanmiholi Xaakot Logot Mangxo – A light, flavourful mutton curry with mixed herbs.
Til Pickle – While an accompaniment in a tiny container, this one deserves special mention because of the unique taste and tang it adds to the food.
Coconut Payoux – I am not a huge fan of payesh (rice cooked in milk) but this is light, low on sweet and a delicious end to our wonderful meal.
O’ Tenga (delivery only) is your go-to place when you crave for simple food in this crazy city. I know people who order their weekly meals from them. Here are the main reasons I would go back to O’ Tenga time and again…
- They take a lot of pains to explain every dish and recommend combinations.
- The food is incredibly light and packed with flavour.
- They seem to use no oil! I could see absolutely no fat globules in any item. The pork had fat of course, but all it’s own.
- Their portion sizes are generous and three regular eaters can comfortably eat one vegetable, one dal and two mains and may even have a bit left over.
- Last but not least, O’Tenga is a labour of love and not just a commercial venture to make money. And that love shows in every conversation you have with the team and of course in the food.
** MCT verdict – good, old fashioned, healthy, tasty, comfort food that is easy on the stomach as well as the purse.**