The plump line-caught Bay of Bengal prawns that rest on my kitchen counter this morning pose infinite possibilities.
Not ideal, for sure, I nod in disapproval, for a busy mid-week morning.
Especially when that backlog list is already threatening to be ominous.
But its not every morning that I am blessed with such gorgeous beauties. I console myself.
I decide to indulge.
And before i have even blinked, I am sucked into a maelstrom of conflicting choices.
That, despite my best endeavors and many cups of Darjeeling in the hope that they shall clear my clouded faculties, I struggle to pull myself out of.
Do I do myself a sinful Portugese-influenced chingri malai curry ?
Or is it a day to pair these lovely prawns with the humble posto, spiked with wicked chillies ?
Or a sublime daab chingri with its delicate subtle flavors ?
May be an Anglo-Indian jalfrezi ?
As ever, Grandma comes to the rescue. To save me from the dilemma.
I settle on yet another favorite from her scratchpad of recipes. Shorshe Narkel Chingri it is!!
Shorshe Narkel Chingri. Succulent Bay prawns. The soothing sublime sweetness of grated coconut. The piquant zing of mustard. The fire of fiendish chillies. A generous glug of mustard oil for yet more zing.
Quintessentially Bengali. In which yin meets yang. A perfect balance of opposites. A delicate yogic equilibrium.
Shorshe Narkel Chingri (Prawns with Grated Coconut and Mustard Paste)
- 5-6 golda chingri or jumbo prawns de-shelled and de-veined
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 3/4 cup coconut freshly grated and ground to a coarse paste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 8-9 green chilies slit
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4-5 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- Marinate the prawns with salt and a pinch of turmeric, keep aside.
- Soak the black and yellow mustard seeds in warm water for 15 odd minutes. Drain the water and grind to a smooth paste along with 4-5 green chilies.
- In a big bowl, take the mustard paste, 1/2 a cup of coconut paste, turmeric powder and 3 tbsp mustard oil. Sprinkle in the sugar and salt, give it a hearty mix.
- Add the prawns to the same bowl, throw in the green chilies. Coat the prawns evenly with the masala.
- Heat a kadai, add the prawns along with the masala. Cook over a low flame for 10-15 minutes or till the prawns are just cooked. Remove from heat.
- Adjust seasonings. Finish with the remaining grated coconut and mustard oil. Give it a hearty stir, allow to rest for another 5-7 minutes.
- Serve hot with rice.