Now, this is a tricky question. Do you think Bengalis are all about fish? Whenever I meet someone who is not a Bong, he/she always ask me this question – do you eat vegetables or is it just fish? Growing up in a family with my widowed grand mom, I have seen lots of vegetables being made at home, vegetables curries without even the hint of onion or garlic – and believe it or not those tasted heavenly.
Its probably because Bengal being such a fertile land and with loads of rivers the balance between vegetables and fish is always there. Whereas in the Western parts of India though the majority of population is vegetarian they mostly stick to different types of lentils for their daily home made recipes.What is your opinion of this?
Coming to vegetables in Bengal, especially in summer, its like a fair. The different types of veggies that you get in the market is beyond imagination, and of these patol or pointed gourd and bhendi or okra are two of my favorites.
My grandmother had her way into the kitchen. Her way of balancing whole spices and ground ones had its own unique style. She used to make this dry curry with okra, pumpkin and potatoes with just a little nigella – and it was tasted out of the world. I made this the same way with just a little twist – I added a few shrimps to it.
Hot Tips – Okra being a very slimy vegetables, its always better to wash and then cut the okra. If you do it the other way, the okra will be slimier making the gravy very gooey. Also, that’s the reason I fry the okra first and then put it in the curry.
Shrimps are quick and easy to prepare and auspiciously tasty. You can cook shrimps in less than 10 minutes and your family will be just happy to have it at the dinner table.
Shrimps have their own way of making a boring curry like lau-er tarkari (bottle gourd curry) or kumro boti into something with a wonderful taste and gives a different feel to the texture. And, when it comes to talking about shrimps how can chingrir malaikari (shrimps in sweet coconut gravy) be far behind. This sweet and thick authentic Bengali recipe is a pride of the Bengali kitchen. It cooks almost instantly, but is one of the most coveted recipes.
I had always been fond of shrimps and prawns, and the bhapa chingri (steamed praws) is one of my favorite recipes. One of my favorite bloggers, Pree of Preeoccupied posted a chingri bharta recipe yesterday and I couldn’t resist but cook it. It took me less than ten minutes to prepare it but it was an instant hit for the weekend lunch. Pree had not fried the onions and used it to garnish, but I thought of frying it, so you can try either way.
Heat about a tablespoon of mustard oil in a skillet, add the shrimps and toss for 2 minutes. Take out and keep for later
Pour another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet and stir fry the onion, garlic , red and green chili. As the onions turn translucent, add the shrimps with the ground spices and season with salt. Stir for a minutes, and transfer everything in a blender jar
Use the pulse mode in the blender to coarsely grind the shrimps.
Transfer to a bowl, pour in the extra mustard oil, serve instantly with warm white rice and masurir dal.
Hot Tips – This recipe is so easy to prepare, that it makes a good side dish for week night dinners. If you don’t have a grinder or the pulse mode in your grinder, don’y worry, just chop the shrimps coarsely with a chef’s knife.
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The availability of a particular food builds up its niche in the local cuisine. So, has been the case with shrimps and prawns in Eastern Indian cuisine, especially in Bengali recipes. There are many rivers flowing through Bengal and that makes the fresh catch so popular in all Bengali cookings. Be it the simple rohu curry or the much coveted steamed Hilsa, it seems we Bengalis cannot complete a meal without fish. And, if that fish spells shrimps there can’t be a happier fellow.
While cooking fish seems to be a rather difficult task for those who are new to the kitchen techniques, the veteran ladies find it comforting to get hold of a simple fish curry, which will tickle the senses when served. This shrimp recipe in microwave is definitely for all (read the newcomers and pros in kitchen). While the chingri bhapa or steamed shrimp takes much longer to cook on your stoves it’s just a matter of six to eight minutes in the microwave. I assure you, anybody can cook this one.
250gms deshelled and deveined shrimps
6 tablespoon of mustard seeds paste
½ cup fresh and thick coconut milk
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 /5 green chili, slit from middle
4 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste
Clean the shrimps thoroughly and put in a microwave safe bowl with alid
Put in all the ingredients and mix well
Place the bowl in a microwave oven and cook covered on microwave high (100%) for 6 -8 min or till the shrimps turn a little hard
Serve hot with warm white rice
Hot Tips – Instead of putting the shrimps in a bowl you can also use a pulpy green coconut, put everything inside and cook on microwave medium for 8 – 10mins.
If you are health conscious then you can just cut down the amount of oil and also take out the husk from the mustard seeds paste.