Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Zucchini Chingri

Zucchini/Lau Chingri
Lau Chingri is a beloved item on the Bengali menu, but lau (or bottle gourd) is  sometimes available only in an Indian market, so instead of lamenting its paucity, a great substitute is to use zucchini which is plentiful at our local super and farmers' markets. This started out with 7 fresh zucchini which reduced down to very little due to the high water content in the vegetables. I like to leave the skin on when cooking zucchini this way so that they don't turn to mush when they're cooked.

This goes well with both hot basmati rice and chapatis. 

2 lbs. zucchini or bottle gourd (lau), julienned
1 lb. (26-30 count/lb.) shell-on uncooked shrimp
1 large tomato, diced
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil + 1 tsp. ghee
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder (cinnamon, cardamom & cloves)
1/4 tsp. nigella/kalo jeera/kalonji seeds
2-3 green chilies, diced
salt & sugar to taste 
cilantro, minced

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp. water, ginger paste, cumin powder, turmeric, sugar and salt, and set aside.
  2. Toss shrimp with salt, saute lightly in oil until pink and set aside.
  3. Sputter nigella seeds and diced chillies in hot oil.
  4. Add tomatoes and ginger paste mixture, stir and simmer over medium heat until tomatoes break down and oil resurfaces.
  5. Add zucchini and salt to taste. 
  6. Stir well, cover and simmer over medium heat until cooked.
  7. Return shrimp to skillet, stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with garam masala, green chilies, cilantro and ghee.  
  9. Stir, remove from heat and serve as a side dish with hot rice or chapatis.

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