The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles is a collection of Bengali family recipes coupled with family stories and information about the region. Rinku has taken the time to detail various ingredients and techniques sure to be of great aid to the home cook. She has also put together ideas for putting together a complete Bengali meal by building menus.
I had a hard time trying to pick just one recipe to try out so in the end I saw shrimp on sale and ran with that. I don’t tend to cook or even really like shrimp so I was really going out of the box by trying to cook this Quick and Zesty Pineapple Shrimp. It really was quick and easy to prep and cook and it went over really well in this household to the point where I’ve got it bookmarked to make again. When you eat it you first taste sweet, then tart, then Spicy and these flavours just work so well together. It actually tasted restaurant quality which says more about the recipe than my cooking skills. I don’t think I would do anything to tweak this recipe, it’s just too good to mess around with!
Quick and Zesty Pineapple Shrimp
Chot Pot Anarosh Chingri
The Kolkata Chinese community, still centered around the tangra region of the city, is a contained migrant community that has not made a huge impact on Bengali society in some aspects. The culinary impact of Indo-Chinese food, however, is difficult to ignore. There are so many popular restaurants with this variety of food and most delivery and catering restaurants feature the Indo-Chinese chili chicken or fish on their menu. Home cooks usually have soy sauce and vinegar ready to add a novel touch to their otherwise Bengali recipes. This recipe, great for a quick meal in a hurry, was created in the spirit of Indo-Chinese cuisine.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Makes: 4 servings
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tsp vinegar
4 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 or 3 dried red chilies, lightly crushed
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch long pieces
2 or 3 green chilies, finely chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
1 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp chopped parsely or cilantro
Place the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the soy sauce and vinegar. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet and add the cumin seeds and red chilies and cook for about 30 to 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds begin to sizzle and the red chilies darken. Add the scallions, green chilies, ginger, and tomato and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the seasoned shrimp and cook for 5 to 7 minutes and then turn off the heat.
In the meantime, bring the pineapple juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 Tbsp water and mix into the juice. Cook the pineapple juice until thick and reduced to about half its original volume. Pour this sauce over the shrimp and gently stir together and cook through for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley or cilantro.