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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!



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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shrimp,coconut and euphoria!

Yesterday we had some friends over for dinner at our place and an evening of unadulterated 'adda' (a session of light-hearted banter,which is a must for any Bengali den) followed. It had been quite some time since we have had one;everyone had somehow got entangled in one or the another preoccupation in the past couple of weeks...mostly deadlines to meet,working late,endless paperwork...everyone was looking forth to such a Friday evening very soon...

After a good scouring of politics,state of affairs in Kolkata (my home state in India)...ever-burgeoning price of fish and vegetables...Bollywood,new releases,movie reviews...a couple of impromptu strains from a Manna Dey or a Kishore Kumar number,the discussion eventually turned to another Bengali favorite-food!Amidst all the chatter and laughter,my mind seemed to reflect time and again on the thought,that,over a stretched period of time,living away from the place where I grew up,the people whom I have known and the places I have known so closely,I have realised that all souls living this existance far off from their own country and homeland have tried to establish their own identity in a new land through the social trinity of culture,cuisine and camaraderie.And that was exactly what we were up to,this balmy spring evening in March...trying to find a common oneness in our adopted land. 

All the lopsided reflections apart,I had decided to keep some very authentic Bengali items on the menu for dinner last night.More so,because some of our not-Bengali friends(who have by this time become accustomed to our incessant chatter in 'Bangla'!) constantly demanded a generous spread of these Bengali delicacies!I will post my 'Chingri Malai curry' (Shrimp in coconut sauce) preparation today but with a small disclaimer;the original preparation,as I have seen my Maa prepare,uses coconut milk,whilst I use the milk as well as the coconut.In my opinion,coconut adds a certain choppiness when combined with shrimp and that is what refrains me from keeping the coconut at bay!If coconut is not your cup of tea,feel free to tweak my recipe replacing shredded coconut with coconut milk:)

Sending this post to 'Midweek Fiesta # 6at Amy's place,'Fresh Food Friday' at 'la bella vita' and...
...'Full Plate Thursday' at Miz Helen's Country Cottage!

Chingri Malai curry(Shrimp in Coconut sauce)(Serves 4)

You will need:
Shrimp - About 500 gms;I prefer to use de-veined tiger shrimps for this preparation.The tail may however be left on.
Onion - 1 whole;diced into cubes
Ginger - About an inch and a half;roughly chopped
(The onion and ginger will need to be pounded into a fine paste in a food processor)
Garlic - 2 fat cloves;finely minced
Green chillies - About 4-5; finely chopped
Potato - 1 whole; diced into cubes
Shredded coconut - I prefer to use the moist,sweetened 'Made in Thailand' variety,readily available in Indian stores(I do not use the dry dessicated variety since it does not yield the sweet juice).The variety I use comes in a block and needs to be refrigerated.I usually thaw the frozen block and combine it with a cup of lukewarm water and bring to a boil to prepare my own coconut concoction for this dish.

Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala - 1 teaspoon

Cooking Oil(Mustard or Canola)

How to cook:
1.In a wok,heat about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.Rub a pinch of salt and turmeric both on the diced potato cubes and the washed shrimps and coat well.When the oil is hot enough,fry the potato cubes till a golden brown and then drain on a kitchen napkin.Next fry the shrimps very lightly just for a few seconds maybe,and drain quickly.

2.In the same oil,add the minced garlic and chopped green chillies.The oil should be infused with the heady aroma of garlic.Next,add in the onion and ginger paste and fry well.Keep on frying till the masala is cooked well enough.

3. Next,add a little sugar and salt as per taste and all the spices(turmeric,cumin and coriander) and mix well with the masala.When oil starts seeping out,the masala is done.

4.Next add the fried potatoes and the fried shrimps to the masala and give a good stir so that the masala coats the potato and shrimps evenly.

5.Next,add in the coconut concoction prepared and kept aside earlier.Give a very good mix and cover with a lid to let the curry simmer for a while.When the potatoes are tender and the shrimp turns translucent,remove the cover and sprinkle Garam Masala on top.Chingri malai curry is ready!!Enjoy with pearly white steaming Basmati rice and have a meal to remember!

3 thoughtful musings left behind...:

Miz Helen said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful evening of talk and food. I would not change a thing in this fabulous recipe, it looks delicious! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon. Hope you are having a great week!
Miz Helen

Wit,wok and wisdom said...

You are right - we did have a lovely time!! And I really enjoy making this everytime I do, more so because this is one of my husband's favorites:)Glad that you liked it and thanks for coming!


Amy said...

Delicious dish & an interesting post...
Thanks for sharing with Midweek Fiesta

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