My sister in law, K's sister, is quite fond of the few Bengali dishes she has eaten at my house and it was quite natural that I would cook something Bengali when she's coming for lunch. She and her kids love prawns and so I decided to make Sorse Narkol diye Chingri or Prawns cooked with Mustard and Coconut.
The mustard and coconut combination is a classic Bengali combination and it is magical with prawns. My recipe is not traditional at all but is my own tweaked version. It's easy, it's delicious, and I usually have all the ingredients at hand.
This is a simple preparation with a few ingredients and that is why it can be tricky, especially with the mustard paste. Be sure to soak the mustard powder before you add it into the prawns. I use the Sunrise mustard powder that's popular in Bengal. I have also had success using the Atlas brand mustard powder which is great for making table mustard and is easily available in Mumbai. Even bottled kashundi works quite well. However, English or French style mustards are not options.
The same sauce can be used to cook fish and paneer too.
Sorse ar Narkol diye Chingri
Prawns, shelled and de-veined
jeera or cumin powder
2 onions, finely minced
Marinate the prawns in salt and turmeric powder.
If you're using mustard powder to make your paste soak in water and make a thin batter like paste 15 to 20 minutes in advance.
Heat oil in your wok or kadai and let it get really hot. Reduce the heat and add the green chillies. Slit them if you're okay with the pungency or leave them whole if you just want the milder flavour. Add the chopped onions and fry slowly. The onions must not brown. Add a sprinkle of sugar and let this cook on a relatively low heat for a good five minutes. Add garlic paste and cook for another minute.
Now add the marinated prawns, a dash of chilli powder and some jeera powder. Stir well and let it cook for a minute or so.
Pour in the mustard paste and and stir. And then pour in 200 ml of thick coconut milk. Add a little water if you want a thinner gravy.
Bring it all to a boil and let it bubble till the prawns are done. This should take 3 to 4 minutes at the very most.
Serve hot with plain rice.