Monday, June 08, 2009

Shrimp in mustard sauce: An explosion of flavor

Yesterday, I had a taste of a quintessentially Bengali preparation after a long while -- sorshe chingri bhape, or steamed shrimp in mustard sauce. During this period of deprivation, I had survived on ready-to-eat packets of rajma masala (curried red beans), spicy vegetable curry, and tadka dal (tempered, or spiced, lentil). All this while, my family was away in Kolkata and I was busy with several things that I wanted to accomplish during my demanding 3-year-old daughter's absence.

On Sunday I got a jolt of the strong mustard sauce, an explosion of flavor I was dying for. My wife's preparation was intense. I had it for lunch as well as dinner. This experience was the one bright spot of my day.

1 comment:

Gautam said...


Did your shrimp have some grated coconut in it or some stone-ground? Do include this, for a delicate balance to the flavors, but not too much. Please request Ma Thakurani to grate the innermost third of the coconut, as this is the most tender, but not necessarily the sweetest.

If the mustard seed is washed well & ground with 1 aromatic green chili & some sea salt, and some good baata holud, stone ground turmeric is used, then the joy is doubled. Since only a little haldi is needed, this is NOT a big effort at all, as we are not cooking kilos of shrimp. Kucho chingri [fresh] is very good, chaabra chingri is 2nd.You can save the heads & add them in the vessel, removing them later. Sea salt is essential & good ghani-r tel,if at all possible.

There are many ghani-s still functioning in Kolkata markets. You should buy your own mustard, wash & dry, take your own bottle. Get 1 liter at a time. Store this oil in small baby food jars [glass] in freezer for months.

Defrost 1 for aloo bhathey, begun poda, ityadi, only!!

So we have mustard paste, coconut[hint], turmeric paste, sea salt, ghani-r tel or Ganesh brand, a few aromatic green chilies, a hint of green leaf coriander optional. In glass or stainless steel container, medium steam. Theek to? And some Sitabhog rice, cooked just a bit moist, steaming hot!