Bengali Recipe ~ Chingri-r Bati Chochori (Shrimp & Potato Stir-Fry)

This recipe is a myth buster. A myth, I see you wondering  Yes the one which says Indian cooking is an elaborate and time consuming affair. We do have those complicated recipes I agree, but we do have quick and easy recipes as well. Like this potato and shrimp watery stir-fry that I am sharing with you today. This gets ready in fifteen minutes flat and before you know it you are tucking into a hearty meal. Compared to the other Indian curries the ingredient list of this one is short & sweet. Mostly it makes use of all the pantry staples, except for the shrimps. Or if you are like me and always stock some shrimps in your freezer then this recipe is an absolute breeze. 

Growing up this was my mother's go-to recipe whenever she was in a hurry. Not only does this recipe get ready in a jiffy, it tastes so awesome that there was never any complain from anyone when this was served. Rather plates were licked clean and seconds were asked.

In my London kitchen I cook this often. In fact it was one of the first few recipes that I learnt when I started cooking. My mother calls this a recipe for dummies. You will see why when you read through the recipe.

1. 300/350 grams of shrimp, clean and deveined
2. Two medium potatoes, peeled, cut in half and then sliced thinly lengthwise
3. One medium onion, sliced thinly
4. Couple of green chillies, snapped in the middle
5. Two to three table spoons of oil (we use mustard oil in this recipe)
6. One teaspoon of turmeric powder
7. One teaspoon of red chilli powder
8. Salt to taste

Marinate the cleaned shrimps with
1. Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
2. Half a teaspoon of red chilli powder
3. Salt to taste

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a korai/Indian wok, once the oil is hot, reduce the flame to low and fry the shrimps, approx for two minutes on each side. One easy way to detect whether the shrimp is cooked is when they turn a light pink in colour and smell lovely. Drain the shrimps on a kitchen towel and keep aside.

In the same pan, add one tablespoon of oil (if needed) to the remaining oil and add the sliced onion, a sprinkle of salt and fry till the onion slices turn translucent. Takes about three to four minutes.

Then add the sliced potatoes and fry for further three to four minutes, turning the pieces around.

Then add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and red chilli powder each, mix well and continue frying till the oil starts to separate on the sides.

Add a cup of hot water, a little salt and a couple of green chillies. Cover the pan and let it come to a boil. You may need to add a little more water if it gets too dry. 

Once the potato slices have cooked through (should not take more than ten minutes at the max), adjust the water, adjust the seasoning, dunk the fried pieces of shrimp into the gravy, switch off the flame and cover the pan. Let it sit for ten minutes or so before serving. The shrimps soak in the flavours of the gravy in those ten minutes without getting overcooked.

Serve with plain steamed rice.

It's an absolute family favourite.

PS. This is a really flexible recipe, you could add tomatoes and other veggies like aubergine/ spring onion to this. Also you could garnish this with chopped coriander. If you are in the terrible hurry skip the onion, skip both onion and potato. Still it would taste yum I promise you. 
PSS. Some days when I am feeling really lazy I skip marinating and frying the shrimps ahead of time. I start with frying the onion, proceed till boiling the potatoes. Then I add the raw shrimps (don't add turmeric to the raw shrimps at this stage, it won't cook and smell raw), add a dash of mustard oil and cook the shrimp on really low flame. Once they turn slightly pink then I add some more hot water and bring the whole thing to a quick boil. If you are new to cooking, I would suggest sticking to the frying bit for now. A couple of times and you would become an expert and then you could confidently skip the steps.

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