Thursday, June 9, 2016

Chingri Macher Bhorta / Bengali Prawn Bharta

“Bhorta”, this special term is a typical Purbo- Bangla or Eartwhile East Bengal concept. We, who reside on the other side of the border...we basically, call it “bhate-bhate”. Something we eat only with rice, which is rather boiled or mashed and is sticky in texture. If I go by our food habit, then the only bhorta we know is “Aloo Bhorta” or Mashed Potato...but no one here uses the term bhorta, we rather call it as “aloo sedho” or “aloo sedho bhate”. See the difference!!!

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

When I was in class 8 or 9...my mother tried to teach me cooking. She persuaded me first with temptation then with mild blackmailing and finally with a cold staring. But I was terrible...I avoided kitchen by every means. During those painful days somewhere in the newspaper I read that mashed potatoes are also called aloor bhorta. It grabbed my attention as it had a fancy name for an utterly simple dish, which I thought was perfect to ornate my devastating cooking resume. So...of course I picked up that term then and there. And every time my mother resented on the fact that I will starve to death when I will have to cook for myself...I replied that “oh...don’t worry...I can pass my days with boiled rice, aloor bhorta and boiled eggs.” Yes...for a long time....that was my idea of a good lunch.


how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

Fast forward by 15 years...and to the surprise of everyone in my family I love cooking now. I am not that much of a baking person...but I love to cook anything and everything that catches my attention. My grandmother was from Dhaka, Bangladesh and she was a great cook. She loved to cook. In my maternal uncle’s home, they have giant cast iron kadais and big handis and a big stove with giant cooking spoons and big tubs and dishes. They were used during occasions, and in times of picnic. But now...they are stashed inside the storeroom and seldom used. Trust me, because I am telling you from my firsthand experience that...Bangladeshis are great cooks. Even one of my aunts, who came from Bangladesh to India some 20 years back, is another skilled treasure of our family. The more I see their cooking there more I become fascinated. “Bhorta” is their dish...and I have loved each and every bhorta I have tasted till now, following their recipes.

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

Chingri Macher Bhorta
Serves 3-4

how to make bengali Chingri Macher Bhorta recipe / Bengali style Prawn Bharta recipe and preparation

Ingredients:
250gms of prawns – you can use small, medium or king size prawns, depending on our preference. But the smaller the better
½ of a medium onion – finely chopped
3-4 green chillies – finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
½ inch ginger – finely minced
2 dry red chillies
¼ th cup of mustard oil
1 tbsp mustard oil for frying the prawns
2 garlic cloves – minced
Salt
A handful of fresh coriander leaves – finely chopped

Method:
In a pan heat the 1 tbsp mustard oil and lightly sauté the minced garlic in it.
When its raw smell hits your nosetrills throw in the prawns into the pan.
Sprinkle some salt over them and cook the prawns on medium heat for a good 3-4 minutes.
When they curl up do a taste test to see whether the prawns are cooked or not.
Once they are cooked transfer them to a bowl and let them cool down enough to handle.
If the prawns are of medium or big size cut the prawns into bite size chunks.
In a big bowl take all the prawns. Squeeze the lime juice. Throw in the chopped onions, ginger and the fresh coriander leaves.
Burn the dry red chillies on stove top until they are half charred. Do not burn them totally. We need its smoky flavour.
Let it cool down for 2 minutes and then crush them with your hand and add them to the bowl.
Pour in the mustard oil and mix everything well.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serve hot with dal and rice.

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