When there is a baby at home, it’s really hard to cook. You chop the onions, and there he is under the table, you heat the oil and about to add the onions in the skillet and there he is eating a magazine page. The last 6 months have taught me a lot of things, but above all it has taught me to multitask.
These days I try searching for food, which is wholesome and is easy to cook. When it comes to cooking time, nothing can beat shrimps. You can cook shrimps in less than 5 minutes, you don’t believe it, try it. Whether its the Bengali favorite chingrir malaikari or Italian style shrimp scampi, shrimp is the easiest and quickest meal you can prepare. You can prepare scampi and serve it as an appetizer, or you can also serve it with rice or pasta.
I am not a big fan of pasta, but I love angel’s hair pasta, the thin and smooth texture of the cooked pasta steals my heart every time.
For the pasta, boil a large pot of water, when the water starts boiling add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cover and let the water come to a boil. Once it starts boiling keep it on high heat for 6-8 minutes or till the pasta is soft to touch. Drain in a colander and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick to each other
In a skillet add the olive oil and butter and wait till the butter is melted. Saute the chopped garlic and let it start to sizzle.
Add the chili flakes and shrimp. Season with salt.
Chop the parsley leaves and add it to the shrimp, give it a good toss and then pour the wine.
Let the shrimps simmer in a the wine sauce for 2-3 minutes.
Divide the pasta in 4 equal parts, and top with equal portions of the scampi. Garnish with parmesan cheese
You can use cilantro leaves instead of the parsley and if you don't like to add the wine then substitute it with chicken or vegetable stock/broth.
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.
Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 4 different simmer sauces from Saffron Road Food. Click the image to know the rules. Just 9 days to go.
Monsoon has set sail in almost all parts of India, and hilsa, the monsoon queen has arrived in truck loads in the fish markets. But, this fish doesn’t come cheap, a kilogram ranges from 300 INR to 800 INR in India and almost 3-6$ for a pound in US. In spite of that hilsa makes it to the lunch plate in Bengali home.
While eating hilsa during monsoon is almost like a ritual among Bengali, another fish has its stand all through the year. Ask any Biologist, he’ll say its not a fish but a mere insect belonging to the same class as cockroaches and milipedes. Oops, did you ever thing about that while having prawns/shrimps. I hope not.
Chingri maach (prawn fish) is one of the most loved “fishes” among all fish eaters. Fried or curried shrimps and prawns has its own place among the fish lovers. Whether, you put it in a gourd curry or steamed with mustard paste, shrimps/prawns are just unique to taste. And, when talking about chingri, how can we forget the irresistible authentic Bengali recipe – the chingrir malaikari.
Debjani Chaudhuri, our todays guest has sent a rather different recipe for preparing prawns. The tangy and tasty preparation has loads of mustard paste and raw mangoes to get that familiar yet so different taste of the prawns. Try Debjani’s achari murgh.
250 gms Prawns (washed and deveined).
1 ½ tablespoon of yellow and black mustard seeds
1 raw mango
4-5 Green chilies
3 tablespoon mustard oil
½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
A pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
A pinch sugar
Grind the mustard seeds with 1-2 green chilies, coconut (if adding), and a pinch of salt and little water. Keep aside.
Smear the prawns with little salt and turmeric and keep covered.
Heat the oil and add 1-2 green chilies, when splutter, add the prawns.
Sauté on low for a couple of minutes or till the prawns turn a little coral in color.
Add the raw mango and a pinch of salt.
Keep mixing with a very light hand till the raw smell of the mangoes is gone.
Add the mustard paste and turmeric.
Give it a good mix and cook on low heat, till it coats the prawns.
Add 1 cup water.
Mix, add sugar and salt and if required chili powder.
Cover and let it simmer on low till all the water evaporates and the gravy coats the prawns.
Turn off the gas and pour in a serving bowl before it become too thick.
Treat your taste buds with hot and tangy Chingri Aam Kashundi.
Hot Tips – I personally like to keep the head for more flavors. One can omit according to wish. On un-availability of mustard paste, you can add kashundi. Add 3tsp of kashundi. I have cut it into small cubes, you can use it grated. You can add 3 tablespoon of grated coconut to balance the pungency of mustard n tart of green mango.