Mum bought a set of “healthy eating” cook books authored by Sanjeev Kapoor. I don’t know why. I’m not against Sanjeev Kapoor and I admit I’ve watched a bunch of Khana Khazana episides when I was younger. But, some how, the idea of buying Sanjeev Kapoor books in the age of the interwebzzz seems weird. Not to forget, my mum isn’t exactly technologically challenged. She checks her email everyday and is on facebook and is even on some Tarla Dalal community thing on Facebook. Aaah. That explains it!
Ok, I shouldn’t be mean. My mum is beautiful. And in the kitchen, she’s even more splendid. I don’t think I’d have craved home-cooked fancy/good food when I was away from home, if she hadn’t cooked fancy food for us that often. Consquentially, I wouldn’t have started cooking yumminess, myself. And this blog, heh. Impossible.
Mommy = awesome.
I was out all Saturday attending a Ruby Conference. Yeah, I’m a dev guy… much to the surprise of more than half my work colleagues. I came home to my mum gushing about dinner. Here’s what the menu was:
Fried sol (A two line recipe somewhere in this post)
“What’s Daab Chingri, Ma?”
“Look in the oven, no?”
*peek* Two green coconuts, basking in the warmth of my shoe-box oven.
“Daab Chingri.” *grin*
*flip through Mr. Kapoor’s book*
Daab, in Bengali is tender coconut.
Chingri is prawns.
Daab Chingri is prawns flavoured with panch phoron and cooked in a tender coconut shell.
And what’s panch phoron? Panch phoron is Bengali for five-spices.
Though, it’s not quite the same as the five-spice mix I’ve bought at grocery stories in USA.
The spices: fenugreek (methi), black mustard seeds (or alternately, rai), fennel seeds,
onion seeds (or Nigella seed or the better known kalonji, in India) and cumin seeds, in equal parts, are roasted for a few seconds in some ghee. This is, then, used in the recipe.
1. 1 cup prawns, peeled and deveined
2. 1 tender coconut
3. 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek (methi)
4. 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds (or alternately, rai)
5. 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
6. 1/4 teaspoon onion seeds (or Nigella seed or the better known kalonji, in India)
7. 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
8. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
9. 2 teaspoons ginger paste
10. 2 teaspoons garlic paste
11. 4-5 green chillies, slit
12. 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
13. 1/4 to 1/2 cup tender coconut flesh (malai), chopped
14. 1/4 cup coconut, scraped (if the tender coconut you used doesn’t have any flesh)
15. 1 tablespoon mustard oil (or ghee/your choice of cooking oil if you’re not fond of mustard oil)
16. Juice of half a lime
17. salt, to taste
18. Whole wheat flour (atta) dough, about a handful
1. Marinate the prawns in salt, turmeric powder and lime for about thirty minutes.
2. Cut off an inch from the top of the tender coconut, drink/drain the water and scoop out the flesh. Retain the top to act as a lid.
3. Preheat your oven to 220°C.
4. Heat oil to smoking point and add the five spices to it.
5. When the seeds splutter, add onions and sauté.
6. Add ginger and garlic pastes, green chillies and sauté for a couple of minutes more.
7. Add prawns and stir. Add coconut flesh and some salt, if required.
8. Transfer the mixture into tender coconut shell.
9. Cover with the lid and seal with dough.
10. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about twenty minutes to half an hour.
You know the good part about this recipe? The spices add flavour to the dish, not heat…
That said, it’s a fairly minimal effort kind of recipe. And most definitely worth trying if you have tender coconuts at hand. Or you can do what my mum did – go to the nearest tender coconut vendor, get him to open up three coconuts, transfer the coconut water to a big bottle, ask him to scoop the tender flesh out, put all of that in a box, and run home with the coconut shells and the lid. And then wait until a little pig gets home from work and make her drink all of the water.