In this version of the chingri bhaape recipe, we steam the prawns, marinated in mustard paste, coconut and yoghurt, via three different methods. In one of our earlier versions, we used the microwave to steam the prawns, a method you can still use, but here are some additional options.
For a 'paturi'-style preparation, you can wrap individual portions of the prawns in lau pata (bottle gourd leaves) and either steam them in a steamer, or place them in your pot of rice while it's boiling. Or, if you do not have/want to use lau pata, you can transfer the entire lot of prawns into a steel tiffin box, and steam it in a kadai.
Unlike in the microwave, the three methods listed above allow the prawns to cook more gently, at a lower temperature, and reduce the chances of overcooking. Having said that, microwaving is a perfectly acceptable method once you figure out the correct power and timing for your particular model of microwave, and a given quantity of prawns.
- 750 g prawn (cleaned and deveined)
- 75 g mustard seeds (yellow + brown)
- 8 pcs green chillies
- 20 g salt
- 60 g grated coconut
- 60 g yoghurt
- 6 g turmeric
- 12 g sugar
- 75 g mustard oil
- Soak mustard seeds in water for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, separate the lau pata from the stem. Wash the leaves well.
- Add the soaked mustards, chopped green chillies, and salt to the grinder. Grind everything to a smooth paste. Once done, transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add grated coconut, yoghurt, turmeric, sugar, and mustard oil to the mixing bowl. Mix everything well.
- Add the cleaned and deveined prawns to the mixture. Make sure to coat the prawns well with the spices.
- Halve some green chillies and keep handy. You are now ready to steam the prawns in one of the three ways mentioned below.
I. In a tiffin box
- Transfer the prawns to a steel/aluminium tiffin box. Top with halved green chillies. Drizzle some mustard oil on top. Put the lid on.
- Place a stand at the bottom of the kadai. Pour boiling water. Place tiffin box on the stand. Cover the kadai with a lid.
- Steam on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
- Once done, remove the tiffin box from the water. Let it rest another 15 minutes before opening.
- Pick a prawn from the centre and check if it is firm, before serving.
II. In a steamer
- Overlap a few lau leaves and arrange individual portions of prawns on them. Place halved green chillies on top. Neatly fold the leaves in a tight parcel, and tie it with a cotton or jute string.
- Pour boiling water in the bottom-most chamber of the steamer. Arrange the parcels neatly in the chamber above.
- Steam on medium-high heat for 12 minutes.
III. Bhaate (in rice)
- This method allows you to cook the prawns along with your rice.
- Once you've set your rice on the boil, and when around 12 minutes are left for the rice to be done, carefully lower the prawn parcels into the half-cooked rice. Cover with a lid and allow them to steam for 12 minutes. This way, your rice and prawns will be ready at the same time.