Bhendi Diye Chingri

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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?

Chingri Bhendir Tarkari

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.

Chingri Diye Bhendi

Indian, Side, Prawns, Bengali shrimp recipe, Bangla ranna, Bengali cuisine, Bengali vegetables
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup okra, split lenthwise
  • 1 cup cued pumpkin
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 8-10 medium size shrimps
  • 1 teaspoon nigella
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
Directions
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and lightly fry the shrimps tll they turn pinkish in color and starts to curl, take out and place them in a kitchen towel to drain out the excess oil
  • Heat the rest of the oil in a wok, mix a pinch of salt and turmeric to the split okra and lightly fry them. Take out and keep aside
  • In the same oil add the nigella, and saute till they start sputtering. Add the pumpkin and potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour about 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and mix the turmeric powder, chili powder and salt – mix to make a runny paste. Pour the paste to the wok and mix to coat the vegetables
  • Stir till the spices start to dry, make sure it doesn\'t stick to the bottom of the wok. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of water and cook covered till the vegetables are almost cooked
  • Add the okra and shrimps, cook for 2-3 minutes more. Serve hot with warm white rice or roti.

Chingri Bhendi

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.

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Pui Dana Diye Chingri

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Bengal had always been the land of invasions. Dutch, Portuguese, Muslims and the British – everybody had ruled over this state at one point of time or the other. These invasions had a great impact in the social and economic arena of the state. The culinary field was not left behind. The indigenous Bengali cuisine had been influenced by these invaders. In spite of these influences there are some recipes which can always be called as authentic Bengali recipe. One such is the pui-er dana diye chingri maach (Malabar spinach seeds with shrimps).

This recipe is a typical Bangal style recipe and is cooked with a concoction of few spices to retain the green and fresh smell of the seeds. I have used fresh shrimps to prepare this recipe, but you can also use chingri shutki (dried shrimps) too. While using the dried shrimps, fry it similarly as when using the fresh shrimps.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Malabar spinach (Pui) seeds
  • ½ cup small shrimps
  • ½ cup thinly sliced potatoes
  • ½ cup thinly sliced pumpkin
  • 1 medium sized onion, julienne
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 4 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  • De-vein and clean the shrimps
  • Heat 1 ½ tablespoon of mustard oil in a wok, as it turns piping hot, add the shrimps and stir fry till they turn a little hard, keep aside
  • Pour in the extra oil and sauté onions, add the garlic paste
  • Drop in the potatoes and pumpkin as the onions turn translucent, cook for sometime
  • Season with the spices and salt
  • Add the pui seeds and cook till they soften
  • Add the shrimps and cook for 2-3 minutes more
  • Take out of flame and serve hot with warm white rice

Hot Tips – It is very essential to clean the shrimps properly. While frying the shrimps, just don’t let the shrimps turn too hard, else the shrimps will turn chewy.

Further Reading – Chanchra, Lutiya Shutki

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