Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Daab Chingri!!!

Bengal has a unique bond with fishes, fresh river water fishes. And it’s quite difficult for other communities to understand this, especially the caste-ridden, vegetarian communities of India! Bengal is the only place in entire India where eating habits are same along every strata of the community. Poor to rich or, Brahmin to Shudra, everyone eats the same multicourse cuisine, which starts with something bitter and ends with something sweet. And fish is the star of the meal, eaten right in the end, before desserts.

Fish is deemed very holy in the big Bengal province! It’s a food noted for luck and prosperity. People are amused of the fact that when, we worship the fish, then how can we eat it too. Well, it’s a pagan concept! This is the food which ensured that the flood ridden delta thrived and survived. Bengal has always given importance to survival, rather than irrational concepts of higher castes being pure and hence vegetarians!

Though we have talked so much about fish, today’s recipe is about prawns, another little guy from the river beds! Daab Chingri is a bong classic! And trust me here, u really can’t go wrong. Pungent mustardy sauce, with soft melt in mouth prawns and the fresh hit of green chillies, paired with a dollop of simple white rice; perfection on a plate. And in a party, you actually don’t need another platter to serve it in. Serve it in the rustic manner right in the tender coconut. The ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ that your guests will shout after looking at them will always be very memorable!


3 tender coconuts with a layer of soft creamy coconut.
300 gms of prawns, deveined and cleaned
3 heaped tsp of mustard paste (I use yellow variety of mustard to make the paste, as I love the zing it gets along with it. You may use the simple black ones, also known as 'rye'.)
4-5 green chillies, slit
2 tbsp dark mustard oil
¼ cup water (or less, depends on the thickness of curry you want.)


In 1/8 cup of water, mix together mustard, scraped out coconut paste, salt and turmeric.

Smear each piece of prawn in this paste till well covered on all sides. Keep it to marinate in this mix for 10 mins.

After 10 mins, depending on the amount of curry you want, add in some water, the mustard oil and chillies. Put this mix inside the empty shells of tender coconut, and cover it tightly with cling film, which is poked with several holes for the air to pass while cooking. 

Now microwave the filled up coconuts on high for 3 minutes. After giving it a bit of a stir, microwave again for 2 minutes, till the prawns are well cooked, opaque and the tails turn a delicious red. Depending on the size of each piece and the amount of water you add, cooking time will vary.

For me 5 minutes at 900 watts always gives out the best results.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Love of Zouqh with Chicken Croquets

My morning, today was a bit special. Not only because it’s Valentine’s Day, but also because I came across Love of Zouqh, (taste in English). I came across a vegetarian friend who very casually started chatting to me about keema (mince meat). I was surprised! Wasn’t she the same person I was mentioning tips on how to eliminate egg wash in our Pinwheel Kachori recipe yesterday? On enquiring, I came to know that the love of her hubby leads her into trying out non veg cooking, for his sake, for him to devour, for him to savour. This my friends is the Love of Zouqh!! And hats off to you my darling!

Chicken croquets are a widely discussed, made and tried appetizer. Its simplicity is way beyond imagination and I always grope for this when I have no clue what to make as an appetizer for a zesty cocktail. Now here I have a fried version, but very simply you can bake or even microwave it. It’s a universal dish and it can be put in a curry as well. For curry, microwaving it is the best option as it would maintain its shape, while you cut down on the oil required for frying. Simple and tasty dish for all veggie friends of mine; who, want to make something special for their valentine’s non vegetarian taste buds, today.   

Chicken Mince – 500 gms
Boiled egg – 1
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 tbsp ground ginger
Handful of Coriander leaves finely chopped
Couple of Green chilly finely chopped
1 raw egg
Bread crumbs
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste

In a big bowl mash the boiled egg properly and mix the chicken mince, onions and ginger together. In this mix, add the coriander and green chillies as per taste. Though I am not too sure of how much coriander one wants, yet try to put in a little more. The smell of coriander with chicken goes very well. And in the absence of any masala (Indian spices), this flavour renders the dish a unique taste. Now add the raw egg in the mix, transforming it into a dry paste. Don’t make it too watery. If it happens then add some bread crumbs and/or rolled oats in it which will make it come together in a ball.

Now oil your palms slightly and shape the mince mix in small balls or flatten it like a kabab. 

Spread the bread crumbs on a plate and dust the kebabs well with it. Once all the croquettes are dusted and done, refrigerate for at least 2 hrs before deep frying in hot oil till it browns from both sides.

This dish is very different from the normal chicken kababs or balls as it has no masala into it.
Serve hot with hung curd dip and a nice cocktail (blue lagoon!!!)



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