Friday, 19 June 2015

MA'S PRAWN CURRY/MAAYER HATHER CHINGRI MACHER JHOL - RECIPE OF LOVE



MA, that's how I address the person I love and revere the most on this Planet. If love could be quantified, then, I loved my father a tad bit more as is with most girls, who are their father's little princesses. Ma has been the epitome of love, kindheartedness, sacrifice and patience and I till date haven't been able to decipher how she still personifies these qualities after all these years. 


Her sacrifice to make our lives more cared, more happy, more perfect, started even before I opened my eyes out of her womb. In the seventh month of her pregnancy she played the sitar for the last time on All India Radio. Without any regret she so easily gave up a budding career in the field of music, put all her trophies and laurels in a cupboard, locked it behind her and without a second thought started her journey of becoming a mother. How did it come so naturally to her. I have her genes, but have done nothing close to anything like that for my girl. I have asked her many times, why she did that and did she ever regret giving up her career for motherhood. But every single time she would smile and reiterate to me that she had no regrets as she basked in the bliss of seeing me and my sister grow in exchange of her career.


Kindheartedness and a compassion for the less fortunate, Ma had probably inherited these two qualities from her father. My maternal grandfather was a man venerated by all who knew him during his lifetime and even today his name draws respect from those who had the good fortune of knowing him. I say good fortune because they don't make people like him anymore. He used his entire life's earnings in singlehandedly building a school for the less fortunate, children of daily wage labourers, house maids etc. those who could not afford quality education. The school he built, appointed the finest of teachers and offered education at par with the best schools. Oh did I mention the fees was Rs.20 ( INDIAN Currency) annually. Those who could not afford this much were exempted from paying. Well, grandfather not only built the school but the teachers salary was paid by him and that too without any external aid. His school Howrah Ram Krishna Adarsha Balika Vidyalaya is still running in all its glory from Nursery Classes to Class XII, aided by the government of West Bengal after his demise. 


Ma has always thrived on the belief that education gives you a foundation which no other thing can give. No wonder, her grandmother was a gynecologist, working with the prestigious Kolkata Medical College, her mother was a post graduate and she herself a post graduate from the famous Presidency College, Kolkata and thereafter an educationist. 

She gave up every bit of all these identity, was not forced to, but as her personal choice, to weave her life around us, our home and hearth and the kitchen. The kitchen she esteemed as an alter and said that was the most important part of the house. She has always taught us to respect food and maybe in a subtle underlining way my love for food was born somewhere out of there. 


I can go on and on about her. Ma has continually been there to pull me up when I have stumbled and she is probably the only person in this entire universe, today who loves me with all my shortcomings, unconditionally and selflessly. As I said right at the onset of this post she is most valuable for me and I feel no matter how much I strive for, I will never be, even a patch on her.

Today's dish is one of her simplest prawn curries, but I have seen this been lapped up in a jiffy after being served, by family and friends. Also I chose this dish because Ma is a strong believer in simplicity of cooking. Never a fan of too many ingredients in her dishes, she every time puts out the most incredible fare with slow cooking and some magical love which she infuses into each of her dish. Ma always says, "cook from your heart. Cooking is no rocket science. If you cherish the joy of seeing the delighted faces of people, after eating your cooked food, automatically you will love to cook and cook fabulously." I agree Ma.

So dear friends lets get cooking this very simple yet überly scrumptious Prawn Curry.


MA'S PRAWN CURRY /MAAYER HATHER CHINGRI MACHER JHOL RECIPE:

AUTHOR : PIYALI
SERVES : 4
CUISINE : INDIAN/BENGALI
TYPE: MAIN COURSE / CURRY
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 20 MINUTES



INGREDIENTS :

1) 500 Gms of Small Sized Prawns
2) 1 Large Onion Paste
3) 3 Green Chillies
4) 1 Tbsp Garlic paste
5) 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste
6) 1 Tsp Turmeric powder
7) 2 Tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
8) 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
9) 1 Large Potato peeled and cut into cubes
10)1 Large Tomato skinned and puréed
11) 2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
12) 2-3 Tbsp Fresh Coriander leaves chopped
13) Salt to taste
14) 2 Tbsp Mustard Oil for cooking
15) 1/4 Tsp Sugar (optional)

COOK WITH ME IN EASY STEPS :

STEP 1 :
Wash and clean the prawns properly. Leave the tail intact and remove the head. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder to the prawns, massage them nicely with the salt and turmeric mix and keep aside. Chop one Onion and along with one green chilli whizz into a smooth paste. Purée the skinned Tomato separately. Peel and cut the Potato into cubes. Chop the fresh coriander leaves. In a bowl add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric and add water to cover them completely, mix and keep aside. Slit the two remaining green chillies.

STEP 2 :
In a karahi/wok/pan add oil. When hot add the onion paste. Sauté till it changes colour and loses its raw smell. Next goes in the ginger and garlic paste. Mix and sauté till they release their aroma. Next add the mixed coriander, cumin, turmeric powder along with the water. Stir nicely and bring all the ingredients in the wok together. 


Cook for 2 minutes and then add the potatoes cut into cubes. Mix well and add the tomato purée. Season with salt but keep in mind that you have also added salt to the prawns. Mix nicely. Cover and cook till the potatoes become soft to touch and the gravy thickens with no hint of water in it.


Time to add in the prawns now. After giving everything in the wok a nice mix add the Garam masala powder and again mix well.



As this is fish curry, we need to add water at this stage. I would say 250 ml should suffice, but totally depends on your discretion to add more water if you like a more runny curry. Give it a hearty stir. Add in the 2 slit green chillies. Bring to a gentle boil. Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Add  sugar and  the fresh coriander leaves, mix and simmer the flame. Cover the wok and let every ingredient blend in harmony inside the wok. Remove from flame.


Serve hot with steamed rice and green salad.
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MA'S PRAWN CURRY /MAAYER HATHER CHINGRI MACHER JHOL RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS :

1) 500 Gms of Small Sized Prawns
2) 1 Large Onion Paste
3) 3 Green Chillies
4) 1 Tbsp Garlic paste
5) 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste
6) 1 Tsp Turmeric powder
7) 2 Tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
8) 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
9) 1 Large Potato peeled and cut into cubes
10)1 Large Tomato skinned and puréed
11) 2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
12) 2-3 Tbsp Fresh Coriander leaves chopped
13) Salt to taste
14) 2 Tbsp Mustard Oil for cooking
15) 1/4 Tsp Sugar (optional)

COOK WITH ME IN EASY STEPS :

STEP 1 :
Wash and clean the prawns properly. Leave the tail intact and remove the head. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder to the prawns, massage them nicely with the salt and turmeric mix and keep aside. Chop one Onion and along with one green chilli whizz into a smooth paste. Purée the skinned Tomato separately. Peel and cut the Potato into cubes. Chop the fresh coriander leaves. In a bowl add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric and add water to cover them completely, mix and keep aside. Slit the two remaining green chillies.

STEP 2 :
In a karahi/wok/pan add oil. When hot add the onion paste. Sauté till it changes colour and loses its raw smell. Next goes in the ginger and garlic paste. Mix and sauté till they release their aroma. Next add the mixed coriander, cumin, turmeric powder along with the water. Stir nicely and bring all the ingredients in the wok together. 

Cook for 2 minutes and then add the potatoes cut into cubes. Mix well and add the tomato purée. Season with salt but keep in mind that you have also added salt to the prawns. Mix nicely. Cover and cook till the potatoes become soft to touch and the gravy thickens with no hint of water in it.

Time to add in the prawns now. After giving everything in the wok a nice mix add the Garam masala powder and again mix well.

As this is fish curry, we need to add water at this stage. I would say 250 ml should suffice, but totally depends on your discretion to add more water if you like a more runny curry. Give it a hearty stir. Add in the 2 slit green chillies. Bring to a gentle boil.Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Add sugar and coriander leaves, mix and simmer the flame. Cover the wok and let every ingredient blend in harmony inside the wok. Remove from flame.

Serve hot with steamed rice and green salad.




CHECK LIST :

1) Prawns, 2) Onion, 3) Ginger Paste, 4) Garlic Paste, 5) Green Chillies, 6) Turmeric, 7) Roasted Cumin Powder, 8) Coriander Powder, 9) Garam Masala Powder, 10) Potato, 11) Tomato, 12) Fresh Coriander Leaves, 13) Salt, 14) Mustard Oil, 15) Sugar

NOTES :

  • When using prawns for cooking it's always good to clean it very carefully. De-vein your prawns without fail. You can ask the supermarket fish section guy to do it for you. But I always do it myself as I am only fully satisfied of the end result only then.
  • You can replace mustard oil with oil of your choice if you cannot get a bottle of mustard oil. Most Indian and Bangladeshi stores sell mustard oil bottles. This is a recipe from Bengal where mustard oil is used mandatorily in cooking. So the preferred medium of cooking should be mustard oil.
  • If you are cooking with Mustard Oil, heat the oil till it smokes and then lessen the flame and add the ingredients. Mustard oil has a strong distinct smell, so never add cold mustard oil to your cooking. The smell of mustard oil will then mask all the other aromas in your dish.
  • My mother always adds water to dry masala powders before adding them to the ingredients in the wok. She says in this way the dry masala will never burn and integrate better with the other ingredients in the wok/karahi
  • Sugar is optional. If you don't like it don't add it.

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