The first day of the lockdown and we were thoroughly under-prepared.
We knew it was coming, we were rather desperate that it be imposed, however when it did finally arrive, we wished we had a day to stock up essential supplies.
The refrigerator had no vegetables.
The freezer had the last batch of shrimps.
The online mart that was meant to deliver fish that day had already put up a notice profuse with apologies, no delivery till they sorted their delivery models and supply chains.
The first thought that struck me was one of utter despair – what do I cook ?
But necessity, as the old men say, is indeed the mother of invention.
So after that initial biting sting of frustration and nervousness, descended the calm.
And it took just a moment to plan the lunch – Piping hot rice, a masoor dal tempered with panchforon and a chingri bhorta.
It was only after I was done with the cooking that my eyes caught the shrimp heads, waiting in a desolate corner of the kitchen counter waiting to be disposed.
But today was not a day to waste anything at all.
So out came the kadai, (despite having completed the cleanup of the kitchen post my cooking !!) went in a measured spoonful of mustard oil and the shrimp heads followed.
By the time the heads came out, they were a sinful gorgeous golden. Crispy and packed with delicious flavour. A sprinkle of salt and they were ready for the table.
And I have no qualms in sharing that I even relished that left-over oil with hot rice. (Try it, its divine !!)
Chingri Bhorta. River shrimps. Sautéd and coarsely mashed. A throw of finely chopped onions. A handful of wicked chillies. A glug of mustard oil. And food heaven for sure !!
And before I forget, do not discard those shrimp heads if you are making a chingri bhorta.
Fried to a sinful golden in some chilli-spiked mustard oil, they are drop dead gorgeous. I do see that cynicism in your eyes, but try it once and you shall be a convert forever.