Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bengal’s Own, Alu-Begun-Chingri

This is my Mum’s recipe. I love making her recipes because they are simple and easy to execute. The ingredients are readily available even in Canada, and I also get to re-create certain food flavors which have been in my head since childhood.

Though the main ingredients for this recipe are are Potato (Alu), Eggplant/Brinjal (Begun) and Shrimps (Chingri), a whole lot of flavors come from the green chilies (kancha lonka) you add to it. So this Alu-Begun-Chingri is not really for the faint-hearted.

IMG_2763 IMG_2769IMG_2765 I am not a food snob when buying my groceries. But I am very particular about green chilies. The ones we get in the supermarkets here have no bite to them, so I usually get my fill of green chilies from the Indian stores or Chinatown.

This dish is something between a curry and a sauté, we call the consistency makha-makha in Bengali, where the sauce and the spices cling to the vegetables or meat. It can be eaten with chapatis or dal and plain rice.


Ingredients for Alu-Begun-Chingri are:

400 grams shrimp (I used just the tails, they were largish, size 8-12)
3-4 Oriental eggplants, halved and cut lengthwise
2 medium size potatoes, cut into wedges
1 medium red onion, slivered
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped (the riper the better!)
7-8 green chilies, slit lengthwise
Generous handful of chopped coriander
One and half tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
3-4 tablespoons mustard oil

Heat oil in a large, thick pan. Sauté the onions and green chilies till the onions are still light brown in color.
IMG_2766Then add the potatoes and get some color on them, for another 3-4 minutes. Now add the eggplants and mix well.

IMG_2767 IMG_2768 IMG_2770Next to add are the turmeric and red chili powder and the ginger-garlic paste. Mix for a minute or two, scraping the spices from the bottom of the pan, all this on medium heat. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.

The salt will help the tomatoes release their juices which will moisten the other vegetables too. Add the shrimps to the dish and mix again.

IMG_2772 Cover for 4-5 minutes on medium heat and cook. Keep checking so that the spices do not burn. Add a cup of water and cover till the potatoes are done. The shrimps will turn pink and the eggplant and tomatoes will become mushy.
IMG_2773 Check the seasoning. Turn the heat off if the potatoes are done, else continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Add a generous amount of chopped fresh coriander (leaves and stems) and mix again.

IMG_2775IMG_2781 Though I used shrimp tails, you can use whole deveined shrimps or kucho chingri for this recipe. If you are vegetarian and do not eat shrimps, please feel free to omit them and call this dish Alu-Begun!

For more Bengali recipes, photographs and discussions, see The Big Bong Theory.


Anonymous said...

Bumper hoyeche dekhte....

MindfulMeanderer said...

wow! that looks yumm :)
Can we substitute the shrimp with something else?? I'm a veggie.

The knife said...

adding begun to curries is something we share with our cousins at thailamd. My mom adds cauliflowers to prawn curries....all the best looking for a substitute for shrimps in the delectable looking prawn curry

Kuntala said...

Hello Pree, I am a loooooooong time reader of your blog. I like your recipes, your beautifully decorated house, and your hand painted IKEA steel plant pot.

Keep up the good work Pree.

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Pree
Thats an awesome recipe with fantastic photography. I am off blog these days and thats why you dont see me.
I am going to market to get some Prawns ..
Bhalo theko

jjs said...

According to my ma, chingri maach can go with anything, so in our house lau-chingri theke karela-chingri sab hoi. Ma bole ektu chingri maach e taste badle dey. mayer shitkaler favourite, alu -kofi chingri. today I had for lunch made by mom, wonderfully made. :-)

Sayantani said...

ki sundor dekhte hoeche. eta banate habe akdin. maa akta curry kore khub chhoto chingri die...bhat er sange asadharon lage.

PreeOccupied said...

@Amarnath, thank you!

@MindfulMeanderer, you can just stop at the potatoes and brinjal or add a cup of green peas.

@The Knife, yes. Even the Chinese use eggplant in their curries a lot, sometimes with some seafood too.

@Kuntala, thank you for your lavish praise!

@Ushnish Kaku, get back to blogging. :-)

@JJs, so true. I haven't eaten the uchche-chingri, but it sounds great. In our home, we too make the lau-chingri and alu-phulkopi with chingri a lot.

@Sayantani, try it. If you like green chilies, you sure will fall in love with the flavors in this dish.

shooting star said...

well, going by my experience of your recipes im sure it tastes yummm!!
however, husband is allergic to prawns & i dont touch meat or wont be tryin this one!!!
made motorshutir kochuri today, following ur instructions, turned out real good... along with the alur dom recipe i tried earlier loved it

Priya said...

Very tempting and droolworthy combo..

Purba said...

I just found your blog couple of days ago in facebook and I got hooked to it. I have no words to praise you. You are simply genious. Looking forward to see more and more bengali yummy recipes and photoes.

GB said...

I still haven't figured out how to identify fresh shrimp/prawn. Boo.

Looks yummO as usual.

sulagna ™ said...

ki boro golda chingri...ohhh !!!

Srabana said...

Am trying this today...wl let u know how I fared!

Aparna Mudi said...

You can choose not to add any meat... This recipe is great without shrimps too

Aparna Mudi said...

You can choose not to add any meat... This recipe is great without shrimps too