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Showing posts with label Odisha prawn recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Odisha prawn recipe. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Chingudi Manja Besara ( Prawns cooked with banana stem)

'Too many mouths to feed'. A refrain I have often heard when documenting Odia recipes or even the processes involved in creating them. Ladies in such households often got creative with their cooking, devising unusual workarounds when a choice ingredient was in short supply. Such clever treatment was often reserved for ingredients that lay on the extreme ends of the desirability scale. For example, prawns or the head of a fish would be highly sought after while the tail or the innards of the fish would be mostly undesirable. Hence the recipes that centred around them evolved in response to the need of catering to each family member without the other one feeling discriminated. 

But as those sizable joint families succumbed to the vagaries of urban migration, they swallowed up an entire genre of recipes that were created to ensure each member got their share of the nutritional pie. It is an entirely different matter that such divisions often lacked equality and often called for the less privileged members of the household to supplement their meals with ingenious recipes that could be whipped up in a jiffy. The 'pagaw' as we collectively term them, comprises an array of dishes that have a distinct 'umami' element to them. And even a small portion of them is enough to elevate the most frugal meal.

I had a chance to cook a few such 'Jugaad' recipes last week at my in-law's place with inputs from my father-in-law. He had been expressing the desire to eat some of the dishes which were a staple during his childhood. While they cannot be classified as lost, they are no longer being cooked regularly in most Odia homes. Freshwater prawns cooked with tender banana stem and a smidgen of mustard paste is one such culinary gem that needs to be brought back into the public consciousness. It is sheer magic when a handful of prawns caught from a local water body meets an ingredient that was found in abundance in most Odia homes and never really sold in the markets. Mostly exchanged with relatives and neighbors as a goodwill gesture, the banana stem was always an important part of the retinue of vegetables that made up a regular meal. 

Chingudi Manja Besara

Freshwater prawns cooked with tender banana stem and a smidgen of mustard paste. The heat of the chili and the mustard balances out the inherent sweetness of the star ingredients. A whiff of mustard oil and a slight whiff of garlic add to the flavor profile. (never make the last two overpowering)

  • 1 cup finely chopped tender banana stem
  • 1/5 cup small prawns (cleaned)
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tsp mustard paste ( mustard seeds + garlic + green chili )
  • 2-3 green chili
  • 1-2 garlic clove 
  • 3 tsp mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste


Marinate cleaned prawns with salt and turmeric. 
Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add the prawns and sauté them for 4-5 mins. Remove and keep aside.
Add the remaining oil to the wok. When hot, add mustard seeds, green chili, and crushed garlic. 

Add the chopped banana stem along with the mustard paste, turmeric, and salt. Cover and cook on low flame till the banana stem is almost done.
Add the prawns and cook for 2-3 mins. Drizzle a little mustard oil on top. Switch off the flame.

Serve after a couple of minutes with hot rice or Pakhala.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chingudi Jholo (Odia Prawn Curry)

The staple Chingudi (prawn) recipe from Odisha had been missing from my blog for so long. This I realized with a shock (or was it more of a disappointment ?) when I was trying to do some minor changes on my posts. This version is more popular than the 'Chingudi Besara' that is prevalent only in the western regions of the state. While the masala used is the staple 'onion-garlic-ginger-green cardamom-cinnamon' combo, one must take care to get the right texture. Too fine a paste makes it a thick gravy while over-frying the masala tends to caramelize it and changes the flavour (kind of intensifies it)of the curry. My family prefers this curry to be mellow and kind of watery ('pania jholo' as we say in Odia) but then different folks have different preferences.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins
Ingredients -

  • 500 gms prawns (I have used small ones)
  • 1 large potato 
  • 1 large onion + 1 small one
  • 12-13 garlic flakes
  • 1 1/2 inch ginger
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 2 inch long cinnamon
  • 2 dry red chilis
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder, 
  • 1/3 tsp red chili powder ( I have used less as the whole chilis were very spicy, adjust as per taste )
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbs oil

Preparation - Clean prawn and add salt and turmeric. Allow to marinate for 15 mins.

Grind the cumin seeds, 2 cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon and red chillis into a powder. Add  the small onion, half of the garlic flakes and 1 inch ginger to the same grinder jar. Grind till the paste is smooth.Keep aside.

Finely chop the tomatoes and keep aside.

Coarsely grind the remaining onion and keep aside. Crush together the remaining garlic pod and ginger using a mortar and pestle. Take care not to make a very fine paste.

Cut the potato into cubes.

Cooking- Heat 1 tbs oil in a pan. Add the marinated prawns and fry till golden. Remove and keep aside.

Add another tbs of oil into the wok. Add the potato pieces. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove and keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add coarse onion paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the sugar and allow it to turn brown. Add the crushed garlic-ginger and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the ground masala along with turmeric and chilli powder. Fry for 4-5 minutes till the raw smell goes off.

Add tomato and fry for another 3-4 minutes or till it turns mushy.

Add 3 cups of boiling water to the wok. Bring to a boil on high flame.

Add fried potatoes and prawns to the wok. Cover with a lid and allow to boil for 7-8 minutes or till potatoes are cooked.

Powder the remaining cinnamon and cardamom and add to the curry. After 1-2 minutes, switch off the flame.

Serve hot with white rice.

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