You can trust us Bengalis to mix veggies and non veg in the most delectable way. This recipe is an old favourite. When ever I think of Lau Chingri I always think about the old Gopal Bahr story where he cons his aunt by mixing shrimps to niramish (vegetarian) Lauer Tarkari (curry). I thought of the story again this time (and made a note to share with my kids), when I decided to make Lau Chingri. My husband and daughter loves prawn ( big, small,size doesn’t matter). The only reason that we don’t cook this dish as often is I find de-vein ing shrimps or small prawns very time consuming and unpleasant ( to put it mildly). I think that this recipe like so many other Bengali recipes provide a clever way to mix veg and non veg. Humble bottle gourd is a very good source of vitamin C, zinc and copper. This is one of those vegetables that will keep you cool in this summer heat. Shrimps like we all know is a good and tasty source of protein, but shrimps are also a good source of omega 6 fatty acid, selenium and vitamin B12.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
Lau Chingri Tarkari/Bottle Gourd and Shrimp Curry
A few things to keep in mind if you want the dish to taste better.
- Try and get a fresh and young (kochi) lauki. They taste better and the you don't have to spend any time trying to de-seed .
- Chop the bottle gourd finely. It will not only enhance taste but would reduce cooking time.
- You need to clean the shrimps patiently and carefully de-vein all of them. (I personally dislike de-veining shrimps and is one of the reason that we don't make this recipe as often).
- Lauki / Dudhi / Bottle Gourd small - 450 g
- Shrimps/small prawns - 100 g
- Tomato - 50 g
- Ginger grated - 25 g
- Green chilli (finely, as per taste) - 1 whole
- Cumin powder/Jeera Powder - 1 tsp
- Chili Powder - 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
- Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
- Bay Leaf - 2 leaves
- Cumin Seed - 1 tsp
- Clean and chop bottle gourd finely. For more info see the pic below. Keep aside.
- Heat Oil in a kadhai/Frying Pan.Fry the shrimps till it is a nice reddish look. Keep aside.
- You can use the same oil or heat oil in a different pan/kadhai. Temper the oil with bay leaf and whole cumin seed.
- When the cumin starts sputtering add the finely chopped tomato and green chilies.
- Sauté till the tomatoes are soft and mushy with no raw smell.
- Add the grated ginger, cumin powder, garam masala powder and red chilli powder(optional).
- Add the chopped bottle gourd, salt and sauté for a while. Cover and cook.
- Intermittently remove the cover and check. If you see that the bottle gourd is sticking to the pan then you might need to add water.
- When the bottle gourd is nearly cooked add the shrimps and little sugar ( yes, Bengalis believe that sugar is a taste enhancer, to me its more like an excuse to add sugar to all things).
The water should have dried up by now and the result would be a dish with no gravy but still moist.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice.