Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lau Chingri - Prawns with Bottle Gourd

Bottle Gourd or Lau always put me off when I was a child. I also greatly disliked prawns in those days. I never imagined I would ever cook either of the two myself, let alone together in the same dish! And here I am, after 30 odd years showing off the Lau Chingri I have cooked :)

Lau chingri is an eternal favourite among Bengalis and, as is always the case with such preparations, recipes vary from family to family. I got this recipe from my cousin's wife. What surprised me is the incredible simplicity of this preparation and how frugal the list of ingredients is. See for yourself -

Lau Chingri

10-15 prawns, shelled and deveined
1 medium bottle gourd or Lau, peeled and cubed.

chilli powder
tej patta or bay leaves
1/2 tsp whole cumin or jeera
2 dried Kashmiri chillies
mustard oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp pure ghee

Add salt and turmeric to the prawns and fry lightly in hot mustard oil for a minute, turning frequently. Let them turn just opaque. Remove to a plate.

In the same oil add the red chillies, tej patta and jeera. Let it sizzle and then add the cubed pieces of Lau. Add turmeric, a little salt and some chilli powder.

Stir it all well and fry the lau pieces nicely with all the spices for a few minutes. add some sugar and fry some more. Add a very little bit of water, less than quarter cup, and stir again. Once it starts to boil cover the wok and reduce to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes till the lau is cooked through.

Add the prawns now and cook covered for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Add a generous teaspoon of ghee once the cooking is complete. Leave it covered for a minute. Remove to a serving bowl and enjoy Lau Chingri with gorom bhaat or steaming hot rice.

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