Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chingri Macher Jhal

Kali Pujo is over too and now we have only the “Bhai Phota” remaining in the list. The countdown began one month ago and all the festive drama is over for the Bengalis. But if you can get yourself a more broad view then it’s only the beginning of the Christmas. Shops and streets are starting to be redecorated...and it’s time that the retail stores are piling up their storage with Christmas decors.

bengali chingri macher jhal recipe

bengali chingri macher jhol recipe

While growing up, this used to be the saddest time of the year. Vacation is almost over and there is not a chance of any long holiday in the vicinity. Christmas used to be a 2 day festival which finished up even before we started to feel it right. Christmas in my childhood was the day of Rum Cake and visiting Park Street once in a year. I loved the idea of decorating streets in red and green attire. But then by the night it was “whoosh” and we had to prepare our bags for school in the morning.

bengali chingri macher jhol recipe
Temper the oil with cumin seeds and bay leaf
bengali chingri macher jhol recipe
When they start to sizzle add the chopped tomatoes.
bengali chingri macher jhal recipe
When the tomatoes are cooked add the spices, ginger paste and cube potatoes. Add water and cook till the potatoes are done.
bengali style chingri macher jhal recipe
Next add the prawns, peas and chillies. And cook till prawns and peas are done.
So Durga Pujo is what we enjoyed the most. Then there were Lokhi Pujo, Kali Pujo and the Bhai Phota. Diwali was also not very meaningful for us except the day of Dhanteras, when Ma used to buy something of silver. In the evening Ma told us to light fourteen candles around the house, and we used to do them happily. Back then the scented and decorative candles were not so much of a middle-class item, so our memory is all full of those slim white stick candles which came within a brown paper package. We used to light them in the balcony, on the two corners of the “choukath” (the rising part which stood just in front of the main door to make it stop from going further) and in front of the small temple we had in our house. Ma said it was “Bhootchaturdoshi” and we had to light candles to ward off the demonic presence from our home.

bengali chingri macher jhaal recipe

The next day was the day of fire crackers rather than Kali Pujo. Buying them, then putting them under the sun and finally in the evening we had the permission of “baji porano”. I haven’t lit a single cracker in almost 10 years...but I love to watch them. I am more of a silent spectator in this case rather than of a person in action!!
Sharing the recipe of Chingri Macher Jhal / spicy prawn curry, which I made a few days ago. It’s overly simple and easy. You can let go of the peas. I added them just as an experiment. But the dish, just plain is also good to go.

Chingri Macher Jhal
Serves 3

how to cook bengali style chingri macher jhaal recipe

250gm prawns – de-veined and cleaned
1 tomato – chopped
A handful of green peas (I have used frozen)
A handful of fresh coriander leaves – chopped
1 potato – peeled and cubed
½ inch stick of ginger – paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp oil

Take the prawns in a bowl and rub 1 tsp turmeric powder and salt over them. Keep aside for 5 minutes.
Heat oil in a kadai and fry the prawns until they are nicely golden from both the sides. There is no need to cook them completely while frying.
Take out the prawns and in the same kadai add in the cumin seeds and bay leaf.
When the cumin seeds start to sizzle add in the chopped tomatoes to them.
Sprinkle some salt over them and cook till they are mushy and oil has started to ooze out from them.
At this point put the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger paste and cubed potatoes to the cooking tomatoes.
Stir to mix and add in ½ cup of water.
Put cover and cook till the potatoes are completely cooked.
Now add the green peas and fried prawns to them. If you want you can add some slitted green chillies also.
Add ¼ th cup of water again and cook. Do not put cover.
Simmer for another 3 minutes more or until the prawns and peas are cooked completely.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Sprinkle some chopped coriander over them and put off the flame.

Serve hot with some steamed hot rice.

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