…durga puja special recipes…
Mahasaptami te phulkopir dum, daab chingri ar kaju-kismis pulao
Sometimes in late 90’s on a Navami afternoon we went to Aheli at Peerless Inn for a lavish buffet spread to satiate our quench for authentic Bengali cuisine.The theme was perfect, Bengali cuisine, dressed in traditional Bengali attire with live Rabindrasangeet, it was there that I was introduced to daab chingri – the headless prawns with their tails intact, bathed in rich creamy and velvety gravy, looks gorgeous when served in the half-open daabs. It was awesome and simply beautiful! The taste and aroma still lingers in my memory.
I am not sure whether it is a traditional Bengali cuisine but cooking inside a tender coconut is a century old tradition. It was quiet unassuming for the part of daab that it lend such a magical touch to the dish. Daab chingri has become a signature dish of Bengali cuisine whereby prawns cooked (slowly cooked) inside the green or tender coconut acquiring the rich taste and flavor of tender coconut or daab. It is subtly spiced and has white creamy velvety texture. Try this dish with kaju-kismis pulao.
Daab chingri or prawns cooked in tender coconut
Daab (Un riped or Green Coconut) with a layer of kernel in it) – 1 Big
Coconut water or Daab water
Prawns (peeled and de-veined)- 500 grams
Mustard Oil – 1 cup
Mustard paste (optional) – 1tsp
Onion paste – 4 tbsp
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Ginger paste – 2 tsp
Green chillies (fine paste) – 5 to 6
Poppy seeds paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder (optional) – 2 tsp
Tender coconut flesh paste (malai or soft kernel): ½ cup
Melon seed paste: 3 tbsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Whole wheat flour dough as required
Method to prepare:
Cut off an inch from the top of the tender coconut and keep the cut out part aside to act as a lid.. Make sure the green coconut is full of kernel. Scoop out some of the soft kernel and make a paste of it. Pour the coconut water in a separate bowl.
Sprinkle some salt over the prawns and keep it for half an hour.
Heat some mustard oil in a pan and add onion paste and saute. Add ginger-garlic paste, poppy seeds paste, green chilli paste and keep stirring. Next add the melon seed paste and tender coconut flesh. Adjust the salt and add sugar. Add the coconut water and stir in well . Finally add the prawns and coat them well with the mix.
Transfer the mixture into tender coconut shell. Cover with the lid and seal with dough. Place in the preheated oven at 250 F and cook for about twenty minutes. Open the lid and serve the hot daab chingri with kaju-kismis pulao.
To prepare the kaju-kismis pulao
Kaju kismis pulao
For pulao we Bengali usually prefers govindobhog or radhunipagol rice but any flavored rice like basmati or dubraj will do. Soak around 1 cup of rice in water for at least 15-20 minutes. Drain the water completely and keep it in colander to make it almost moisture free.
In a heavy bottom pan heat some ghee and temper it with black cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms and cloves. Add half cup of kaju (cashew nut) and kismis (raisins) and saute till they changes the color. Add the rice and saute for few minutes. Add the very finely chopped ginger, sugar (it is actually a sweet pulao, so we usually add 1-2 tbsp of sugar) and salt to taste. Mix well and add 1 cup water. Cover it well (steam should not escape) and cook in low flame for exactly 15 minutes or till done. Grains should not be sticky and water must have dried completely leaving behind the fragrant grains of rice. Grate some nutmeg into it and add a teaspoon of ghee before serving. Serve the hot kaju-kismis pulao with daab chingri or anything of your choice.
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