This dish is a must for each and every blog created by a true Bong. If you search for 'Chingri Bhape' on Google you will get at least 20 links with similar recipes. I have never given Chingri Bhape much thought earlier as I havn't eaten a decent Chingri Bhape for a long time, almost since I was a kid. To be honest Chingri Malaicurry is the king of all bengali prawn curries, who doesn't know that! And if you really want to eat steamed curries then Bhapa Ilish (Steamed Hilsa) rules our palate on any given day. I used to think the same until I ate Bhapa Chingri at my friend M's house. She is a versatile lady, a doctor by profession and an amazing cook. She cooked 11 dishes for 40 people and each dish was perfect. But the dish that stole the show was her Chingri Bhape. Shelled succulent juicy prawns in a subtly pungent and creamy paste took me straight back to my mum's kitchen (you'll understand what I mean if you've watched Ratatouille movie, if you havn't, go watch it NOW!).
So when I saw these really nice looking King prawns in the local grocery store I bought them straight away. Another thing that my hands were itching to use for some time is the special Bengali grinding stone that I got called Sheel Noda from my mum-in-law on last visit to India. She passed me her legacy and I sacrificed 5 kilos of luggage allowance to bring that legacy to this side of the world, so I had to put it to good use or I'd have to face wrath of a certain man in the house! So lots of grinding and getting-to-the-verge-of-neck-spasm later I achieved the most smooth creamy mustard, poppy seed paste that no grinder in the world could ever give me. This dish is the most orgasmic dish I've created so far and at the end the pain was all worth it.
I used the grinding stones to make my mustard-poppy seed paste. You can use a chutney attachment in your food pro or dry roast and then grind in a coffee grinder. The trick is to try and grind as hard as you can so that you don't have to repeat many times which can result in the mustard turning bitter.
King Prawns - I used headless with shells on about 10
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Toss the prawns with the salt and turmeric and keep aside for some time.
Ingredients for grinding
Mustard Seeds - 3 tbsp
Poppy Seeds - 2 tbsp
Green Chillies - 2/3
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Grind all the above to the smoothest paste possible.
Ingredients for the final marinade
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup (you can use dry desiccated coconut, soaked in water for 1 hour)
Greek Yogurt - 1/4 cup (my friend's recipe asked for coconut milk but I didn't have any at home so turned to my saviour in kitchen mishaps, Sandeepa's blog)
Mustard Oil - 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Green chillies - 5/6
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade along with the mustard-poppy seed paste. Toss the prawns in this mixture so that each prawn is coated evenly.
Put the prawns in an airtight container and steam. I steamed them in a steamer for 20 minutes and the prawns were cooked just right. If you like them thoroughly cooked then steam them for 4-5 more minutes. You can also steam in a pressure cooker by adding water and keeping the steaming vessel on a stand inside the cooker. It should be done in 1-2 minutes before the whistle. It will take a couple of attempts to get the right timing.
Take out of the container and serve with hot rice.