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.