It has been snowing hard for the last couple of days.The snowflakes seem to be cascading down the skies in a never-ending flow,filling up every nook and cranny they can find.The snow is there on roof-tops,on windshields...on the window-sills and on even the nook above the front-door keyhole!
There is snow nesting snugly amidst the flaky olive green branches of the pine trees.The snow fills up our walkway and shovelling is the first thing one gets to think about,first thing in the morning.
Everything is white everywhere.I desperately need some color in my life!
Spring Onion or 'Peyajkoli' as we know it in Bengali,is basically a plant in itself.It is a half-developed root bulb which makes it a bit milder in flavor than Onions.It also goes by the name 'Green Onion'(US and Canada) while the Irish refer to them as 'Scallions'.Mostly it is used to flavor up soups or in salads,but the Bengalis have a very beautiful way of cooking it with potatoes and shrimp.The resplendent ochre curry is sure to whet up your appetite!
Chingri & Peyajkolir Chorchori
You will need:
Spring Onion or Peyajkoli - A bunch of about 10-12 stalks.The stalks should be fresh and green;remove wilted ones,if any.Wash well and chop into pieces approximately an inch long.
Potatoes - About 2(if big) or 3(medium);Peel and dice into small cubes.
Shrimps - About 12-15 shrimps;remove the tail and thaw well,if kept fozen.
Panch phoron (Five spice) - About 1 teaspoon
(This is an authentic Bengali spice consisting of Cumin seeds(Jeera),Fenugreek seeds(Methi),Mustard seeds(Shorshe),Nigella seeds(Kalo Jeera or Kalonji) and Fennel seeds(Mouri).It is readily available at any Indian store.)
Turmeric powder - About half a teaspoon
Cumin powder - About 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - About half a teaspoon
Green chillies - as per taste
Salt and sugar to taste
Oil for cooking
How to cook:
1.Wash the potato cubes very well and smear with a pinch of tTurmeric powder and salt.Mix well so that all the cubes are dusted evenly.
2.Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and heat it.When the oil is well-heated,add the potato cubes and fry.Take care not to scorch or burn them.You may use a lid to cover up and expedite the frying process but remember to take a peek at frequent intervals!
3.Once the potato cubes attain a golden tinge,remove from the oil and drain on a kitchen napkin.In the same oil,add about 1 teaspoon Panch Phoron or Five Spice.Split up 2 green chillies longitudinally and add to the oil.The chilli seeds may crackle,so take care.
4.When the spices start spluttering, add the fried potato cubes and mix well.
5.After a good all-around stir,add the chopped spring onions and give another good mix.At this point,you will need to add the seasoning.Add about 1/4th teaspoon sugar and salt.Add the Cumin and Coriander powder and mix well.You will see the whole curry change to green-speckled amber as the earthy aroma of cumin wafts through.
6.After the spices are fried well,add the de-tailed shrimps and mix well.The shrimps do not need to be fried beforehand since too much frying will harden the outer skin and leave the inside half-cooked.The trick is to just fry the shrimp to a soft pink and leave the rest to be cooked while boiling.
7.Now add about a medium-sized cup of water and stir the curry well.The initial feel would be that we have lost the golden color,but do not worry!As soon as the water subsides,we will regain the amber hue.After a quick stir,cover up with a lid and let it come to a boil.
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