So I bought these Black Tiger Shrimps from St. Lawrence Market today.
Six headless and deveined super colossal shrimps for my Kalia.
Now you don’t eat Kalia every day anymore. We don’t live in the 1960s. Apart from the culinary implications of not living in the 60s, there are some very visible differences between then and now.
Power Point was only an electrical socket then. Mail meant a handwritten memo, and if you were feeling a little more amorous, you sealed some dried flowers too. Our parents most probably knew each from high school. Matches were “Made in Heaven”, and not determined by seven-minute fun dates.
Ingredients for Chingri Maacher Kalia are:
6 jumbo shrimps/ prawns
1 medium potato peeled and quartered
1 large red onion very finely chopped
1 large juicy tomato coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon green chili paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon fresh coriander chopped
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 + 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 whole black cardamom
2-3 green cardamoms
1 small cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
3-4 tablespoons ghee
Pinch of garam masala powder
Remove the shell. Devein and clean the shrimps. Rub two teaspoons turmeric powder to the shrimps and keep for 10 minutes.
Heat ghee in a thick-bottom pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and bay leaf, in no particular order. Let them sauté for a minute, add a pinch of sugar and let it caramelize. Now add the chopped onions.
The caramelized sugar adds a whole lot of color to the onions and the whole spices give it a fragrant and sweet flavor.
Once the onions are nice and golden brown, add the ginger, garlic and green chili paste. (I grind my chilies and garlic together.)
Mix everything well and cook on low heat.
Now add the red chili and turmeric powders. Continuing to slow cook is a good idea.
Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and sugar. Let the salt do its action, getting all the moisture from the tomatoes oozing out. Keep stirring.
In another pan, fry the diced potatoes in some ghee. I let the potatoes turn golden brown for the Kalia. It should take about 1-2 minutes for the potatoes to be ready.
Once you remove the potatoes, add the turmeric-rubbed shrimps to the remaining ghee.
Another couple of minutes on each side of the shrimps and they will be ready to add to our Kalia gravy.
Meanwhile, I deglazed the pan I had sautéed the potatoes and shrimps in by adding half a cup of water and let it boil for a couple of minutes, scraping off all the flavors from the pan.
Now coming back to the gravy we were making for the Kalia, the tomatoes by now would have become mushy and released all their juices. Add to the tomato mixture, the hot water from we got from deglazing the pan.
Drop the cubes of potato in and cook till they are done.
Add the chopped coriander and a pinch of garam masala. Give it a good mix.
Gently release the shrimps to the Kalia gravy.
Cook the shrimps in the gravy for about 5-7 minutes. Smear some ghee as a last garnish.
Remove from heat and serve hot with plain Basmati rice.