Friday, September 12, 2014

Shrimp Steamed in Mustard Coconut Sauce

Chingri Sorshe Narkol Bhape
The microwave oven has simplified life in more ways than one. No longer do I just heat left-overs or use it for defrosting frozen meat. We made this dish in a stainless steel bowl in a pressure cooker before the days of the microwave oven and it took 10-15 minutes along with another 10 minutes for the pressure to dissipate. In the microwave oven, it took exactly 4 minutes from oven to table!

Mustard oil may be a new cooking medium for some people, but the people in the state of Bengal in India almost exclusively use it for all their everyday cooking. It is available in most Indian markets and it is advisable to consult the store owner for the most pungent flavored mustard oil available in the store.

Extremely easy to assemble, the most difficult part is probably blending the mustard seeds into the finest possible paste. To remove some of the bitterness from the mustard seeds, it is necessary to cover them with salt and soak in tap water for 2 hours or so. Then drain and rinse the seeds in a tea strainer in several changes of water to remove the excess salt. I prefer to mix in the coconut milk powder (also available in Indian/Asian markets) after the mustard seeds have been blended to get the maximum flavor of coconut which also helps to tone down the pungency of the mustard seeds. The coconut milk powder makes the sauce thick and creamy.

1 lb. (about 12) large shrimp, peeled, deveined & rinsed
3Tbsp. black mustard seeds, soaked in a cup of water with salt for 2 hrs.,           drained & rinsed in several changes of water
1 hot serrano pepper, chopped
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
3 heaped tsp. coconut milk powder
4 Tbsp. mustard oil
1 hot serrano pepper, sliced (for garnish)

  1. Marinate shrimp in salt, turmeric and Kashmiri mirch for 15 minutes.
  2. Blend mustard seeds, 1 serrano pepper, salt & 1 cup water until smooth on the liquefy setting of blender.
  3. Mix mustard paste thoroughly with mustard oil & coconut milk powder.
  4. Coat shrimp with mustard-coconut paste and transfer to a microwavable dish.
  5. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes.
  6. Turn shrimp over, spoon sauce over shrimp, replace cover and microwave for 2 more minutes.
  7. Remove from microwave oven and garnish with remaining serrano pepper. 
Serve with steamed Basmati rice as a main course.

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