It was our best friend Sakshi’s birthday and with the new princess Cifat (the daughter of Saskhi and Dipjoy) around, we were happy and excited to attend a party at her place. Tugga came with us tantrum free (he says he hates girls and we joke about what he would say when he turns a teenager) since he has a soft spot for Cifat.
Sunday afternoon, sultry humid Kolkata demands for beer and it started flowing with some Kali Mirch Kebab and spicy spring chicken and we have our secret outlet which we believe, makes the best of these. The party was super hit and what are the tale tell signs of a party being hit? For me, when the main course gets delayed over rounds of drinks and starters till such time the host starts to scream, shout and request us to eat (vice versa when it happens at my place). So finally around 4 PM, yes around 4 PM, after several insistence from Aunty (Dipjoy’s mother), we sat down for the lunch.
This blog is about the surprise over the lunch. Aunty is an excellent cook and we have experienced this earlier but this time, the lunch was a collaborative effect. Sakshi’s mother cooked mutton keema and sent it over. Saag chicken, alur dom, daal was made by aunty and then there was Kumro chingri. I had never heard about this dish and very few people know that Aunty has her roots in the famous Rabindranath Tagore family (the famous Thakur Bari), Late Gaganendranath Tagore was one of the earliest modern artists of India and he was also the paternal great grandfather of Aunty. This recipe of Kumro (pumpkin) with onion, garlic, red chillies and shrimps is a family recipe not meant only for any special occasion but a part of regular meal as well. The recipe was passed on from generation to generation and this simple yet tasty dish is worth sharing with you all. Madhushree was quick to get the recipe from Aunty. Even though every dish present at the table was exquisitely prepared and tasted brilliant, somehow this dark horse dish stole the thunder.
What I liked was that the pungency from mustard oil and sweetness from the pumpkins and the soft freshwater shrimps created a beautiful symphony. There was also a contrasting duel between the softness of the pumpkins and the texture of the shrimps, almost like playing the game minesweeper. You never know when the textured prawn will pop up from the soft pumpkin mash. Never knew before that Kumro chingri could be so delicious. What’s your favourite Kumro dish?
Kumro chingri - A surprise thakurbarir recipe
- 750 gms sweet pumpkin roughly diced in 1 inch cubes
- 500 gms medium sized prawns shelled and deveined
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 5 -6 nos garlic cloves
- 2 nos Dried Red Chili roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- Salt To Taste
- Take a pressure cooker and add all the above ingredients (mustard oil only 1 tbsp) to it. Add 2 tbsp of water (since the pumpkin will release water).
- Close the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes or one whistle and then turn off the heat.
- Once the steam releases, open the lid and pour out the contents in a wok.
- Over high heat, with delicate hands just cook for further 10 to 15 minutes or until all the water evaporates.
- At this point, you can either chose to mash up the pumpkin or leave a few pieces as it is. A few chunks of pumpkin, some mashed pieces and the prawn bullets form an incredible texture in your mouth.
- Once the water has evaporated, drizzle one tbsp of mustard oil over top to give the extra kick. Check the salt and balance with more sugar, if required.
- Serve it with some steamed rice.