Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bhapa Chingri (Steamed Prawns in Banana Leaves)

Prawns, rather shrimp, steamed in a mustard-chili sauce was one of the favourite holiday dishes when we were growing up. Normally, what Mom would do is seal the shrimp with the spices into a small container and put it into the bhater hari (rice-pot) once the rice was half done. The shrimp would get cooked in it's own juices on slow heat over an hour or so. And when at lunch it would be opened, you would have fragrant steam rising mixed with the pungent mustardy, chilli smell. Ahhhh.....Heaven.

Miss those rainy afternoon lunches when we would sit down for long slow lunches. Anyway, here's my personal adaptation. It's extremely simple to make, relies on the natural flavours of the spices to make the dish stand out and is great if you have a cold. Let me know if you try it.

Ingredients (Serves -2, Approximate cooking time-1 hr)

  • Prawns (shelled and deveined) - 250 gm
  • Mustard seeds- 4 tbsp (more if you are adventurous)
  • Green chillies- 8
  • Mustard Oil- 4 tbsp
  • Grated coconut (optional)- 3-4 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Banana leaves- If you can get them for wrapping the prawns-2 large


Soak the mustard seeds in hot water for 2 hrs. Grind half of the chillies to a paste. Add salt and the mustard seeds. Grind to a smooth paste.

Mix the paste into the prawns and set aside for 15 mins. Now wrap the prawns in the banana leaves along with the mustard paste. Sprinkle on a little bit of salt, 2 tbsp mustard oil, and two of the remaining green chillies chopped into small pieces. Use the second leaf to make a waterproof parcel as shown below. If you want, you could seal in even this pack in a length of aluminum foil so that you have no messy drips in the oven.

Bake in the oven at 200 C for 30 mins.

Remove the foil and unwrap the banana leaves. Add remaining chopped chillies and mustard oil. Serve hot with rice.

  • Picked this one up from my cousin. When grinding the mustard seeds, it is recommended that you add a pinch of salt as otherwise the paste takes on a bitter taste.
  • If you want, you could add a pinch of turmeric and red chili powder with the marinade in the beginning. Lends colour and masks a bit of the fishy smell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yum! visited my blog after years I think...a 2 year old can suck all creativity out of you...anyways here is a recipe you requested...god knows when...

ps: good to see you still carrying on with the blog...I need to refresh my cooking..