Stranded in New York far from ingredients and helpers, I learned to make quite a few Bengali dishes on the quick, none more successful than bhapa mach – this translates to the somewhat pedestrian "steamed fish" Its got a short ingredient list, quick prep and (horror of horrors) can be made in a microwave without any side effects and looks, as you can see, quite spectacular – one can easily imagine it the fruit of long labour and extensive technique.
Yesterday, I needed to produce something to compete with Sunanda's world-class tiramisu, feed friends and impress people, so this was resurrected, adjusted to frozen prawns (chingri) rather than fresh fish, and voila! Shorshe Bhapa Chingri, double quick.
The process is pretty much the same as bhapa fish – an old blog post I strongly encourage you to read. Its got all the theory, I'll just describe the twists that got me to this one.
- Prawns: super-jumbo-tail-on, why not
- Mustard: Colman's English Mustard Powder, with a bit of the local variety added in for effect
- Coconut: helpfully grated by helper Susheela
- Coconut cream: from a can
- Green chillies: slit and deseeded
- Kalonji: tossed in oil as tadka
- A pinch each of haldi and jeera powders, for colour
- Encouraging looks from Sunanda (optional)
Mix it all up, put into a microwaveable container with a sealed lid, and microwave. Usually six minutes does the trick, but depending on your microwave and the number of super-jumbos involved, more or less may be needed. Since I was serving guests, I zapped for three minutes in the afternoon, then put it in the fridge. The last three came minutes before serving it, all steaming hot and all.
Prep (discounting the coconut grating bit) about five minutes (two of which went into locating the mustard powder can). Cooking time, six minutes. Taste test, you say? Flying colours.