If I had to have one death row meal, this would be it. A rich Bengali prawn curry served with steamed rice and a generous squeeze of gondhoraj lebu, this mustard-intensive dish is one of the most popular ways of cooking prawn in every Bong household. The prawns would have to be extremely fresh, and with their shells on when you’re cooking it, as this is what adds flavour to the curry. Get your hands in there and suckle on the prawn heads to stumble upon those hidden pockets of flavour. I recommend a long siesta once you’re done polishing off at least two helpings of this.
Fresh Jumbo Prawns 500g, deveined
Mustard Oil 4 tbsp, plus more for finishing
Onions 2, large, sliced thinly
Mustard Seeds 2 tbsp, soaked for an hour
Green Chilli 1
Salt to taste
Grated Coconut 1 cup
Coconut Milk 1 tetra pack
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp + more to taste
Sugar 1 tsp
Wash the prawns, sprinkle over some salt and keep it aside.
For the mustard paste, grind together the soaked seeds, green chilli and a pinch of salt into a smooth paste.
Heat the mustard oil in a pan and fry the onions till slightly brown. Pour in the mustard paste and cook it through on a low flame till the oil starts to separate.
Add in the desiccated coconut and turmeric. Cook for 5 more minutes. You can add a little water in case the mixture starts to burn. Add a little water to form a thick gravy and in the prawns. Check for seasoning and cook for five to six minutes till the prawns curl and start to turn pink.
Add in the coconut milk and cook for a couple of more minutes. The gravy should be thick and coating consistency. Add the sugar and give it a good mix. Take it off the flame, finish with a generous drizzle of raw mustard oil and serve along with steamed rice.
Recipe credit: Jayati Ganguly