Shorshe, or mustard, is an integral ingredient in Bengali cuisine and the Bongs do a really good job of using it in many different ways. Here, I’ve used it in combination with coconut and mango to present what I think is a nicely balanced dish. The mustard provides a pungent punch, the mango gives a sweet and sour hit, the chillies, a spicy kick and the coconut balances out the flavour with a mellow undertone.
I’ve kept it really simple with practically no dry spices other than turmeric and coriander. Being a lazy cook, my eyes start rolling to the back of my head when I see too many ingredients in a recipe, and I attempt those pretty infrequently. The simplicity and ease of making this dish makes it a quick and delicious option for any meal. You can replace the prawns with fish such as bhetki (barramundi or Asian sea bass) or sole or any other white fish if you want, using the same procedure of marination.
Bong purists such as my mom insist that mustard paste only tastes good when ground on a sheel nora, a slab of stone on which you grind things with another cylindrical stone. Since I don’t have the inclination or luxury of carting those millions of kilos in weight from Bengal to Noida, or running to Chittaranjan Park (Delhi’s predominantly Bengali colony) to hunt for the thing, I’m making do with the humble mixie (ah sacrilege!). It turned out quite well still.
The last few times I’ve tried to make this dish, I’ve either under salted it, put too much mustard or mango and basically had an item that wasn’t to anyone’s great delight. This time however, I think I’ve nailed it. Made it after lunch and ate a second meal back to back. Try it and I hope you like it as much as I do. Goes well with white rice.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500 gms prawns shelled and de-veined
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
150 gms coconut, brown layer removed and cut into small pieces
100 gms or 1 small semi ripe mango cut into small pieces
2 green chillies about 2 inches long each
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
3 tbsp mustard oil
Get Started (pictorial steps at the end)
- In a bowl mix the prawns, salt and turmeric powder and set aside or keep in the fridge.
- Put the coconut, mango, green chillies, mustard seeds, salt and turmeric powder in the mixie with about 1 cup of water and whack till it all becomes a smooth paste.
- Heat the mustard oil in a frying pan and saute the prawns on medium-high heat for about a minute on both sides till they become opaque.
- Add the coconut, mango, mustard paste to the prawns and saute for a minute. Add a cup of water to the gravy, mix well and boil it down till the gravy thickens a bit (see pic for indication). You will most probably have to add 1 tsp more salt to the dish at this stage but check and add according to taste.
- Enjoy these delicious prawns with fluffy white rice.
Important notes: Try to get a semi ripe mango for this. The mango should be yellow but still a bit raw and tangy. This will give you a good amount of sweet and sour so you won’t need to put sugar in the dish. An absolutely raw mango will make it too sour, as a result, you will probably have to compensate with extra salt and sugar.
When the curry thickens it can bubble and spit so either lower the heat or use a deep bottomed frying pan.
The amount of chillies I used gives this dish a nice little kick. You add more or less according to your preference.
Do not under-salt the dish. When you have it with rice it will become insipid.