Let me amuse you with an easy to cook yet exotic dish.
Daab chingri – Shrimp cooked in tender coconut. It looks as exotic as it tastes. Mellow taste of fresh coconut water, creamy tender coconut and the wood scented flavor of the coconut shell- It is a treasure house of exotic flavors.
A long while ago, I was travelling for a work assignment to Kolkata (West Bengal, India). My then boss, who is a quintessential Bengali and a great foodie told me and my team to try this dish at “kewpie’s” in Kolkatta. Now I was not new to Bengali cuisine, but I had not heard of this dish – EVER! So we made him describe the cooking process of the dish, which he did in great detail. It sounded so exotic and delicious that it took a lot of effort to not to skip work when we reached and head out to eat first. So we went out in the evening to look for Kewpie’s and expected it to be a big restaurant on some busy commercial street. We couldn’t be farther from truth! Kewpie’s was a hole in the wall – Perfect! It was featured in the lonely planet- doubly perfect! I still remember the wonder in our eyes when saw it being served – straight out of the coconut shell and the taste of the first bite still lingers on.
I made this for my Bengali friends Deeptanshu and Brotati a couple of months ago and they loved it.. At least they said so 😉
Edit on Sep 06 2012
The classic way to make this is with just turmeric, salt,green chilies, mustard oil and mustard paste. But I like the addition of the onions, garlic and ginger. So they are staying in the recipe.
- 20 – 25 Fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 2 Tender coconuts
- 1/2 C Freshly grated coconut
- Salt To taste
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 tbs Mustard oil (preferred)
- 1tsp ground mustard (store bought works)
- 1/2 C Thinly sliced onion
- 1tsp Ginger chopped fine
- 1 Tbs Garlic chopped fine
- 5- 8 Thai green chilies
- ½ C Flour (white will do)
- ¼ C Water
- Make a dough with the flour and water and set it aside
- Now, you will need to cut the tender coconut from the top; Sort of like cutting out a lid.
- Once cut, drain the water into a bowl and save the cut lid and coconut water for later use
- Using a spoon, scoop out the creamy coconut flesh
- Marinate the shrimp with a dash of salt and the turmeric
- Heat the mustard oil until it begins to smoke. Allow it smoke for about 20 – 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow it to cool down slightly.
- Bring the pan back on heat, add the onions to sauté.
- When you see the onions turn a little pale, add the ginger, garlic, saute. Switch off heat.
- Grind together the chillies, ground mustard and the scooped coconut cream and the sauteed onion mix.
- Pour this ground spice mix into a bowl and add in some of the reserved coconut water. Add in the shrimp.
- Now scoop the shrimp and spice mix into the two coconut shells. Do leave about an inch of space in the shell.
- Place the caps to cover. Cover the entire lid with the dough to seal. If the dough doesn’t stretch enough, add a little water to it to make it wet and stretchy.Place on a baking sheet, and pop into a preheated oven at 400*F for 20- 25 minutes. Serve hot with plain boiled rice.