Monday, 22 June 2015

Daab Chingri (Prawn cooked in green coconut)

About the food:

Bengalis are crazy about foods, and more so about fish or sea food preparations. Daab-Chingri is a traditional Bengali dish, where prawn is marinated in mustard sauce and cooked and steamed inside a green coconut. One of the main ingredient of this dish is mustard seeds, in addition to the green coconut pulp. For a  longtime I had been thinking of preparing this dish at home, and when last week I chanced to find a green coconut, I grabbed it at once. With a brave-heart, when I searched in the internet to check how I can cut it, I found the following video very helpful:

For best results,  a meat cleaver should be used to cut the green coconut, but since I did not have any, I reached for my biggest knife, and though I took some time to do the job, eventually I did, and which made me glee with pride!

Except for the cutting of the green coconut, which you can master after a couple of times, this dish is very easy to cook. Traditionally, this would have been cooked in a clay oven with charcoal fire, but I have tuned that to our modern life by cooking in a microwave. Alternatively, you can also cook this in an oven or steam it in a pressure cooker. Try this dish, and amaze your friends and family with one of the most richest, delicious, succulent and aromatic dish ever.

Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves 4


1 green coconut
1 bowl of prawns (15-20 pieces)
2 medium onions
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/2 tbsp garlic paste
3 tbsp black mustard seeds, dry grind to a powder.
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
1/3 cup mustard oil
2-4 green chillies
1/3 tbsp of Bengali five spices (Panch Phoron) (a mix of equal parts of nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds)
salt to taste


1. Cut the green coconut, following the video above. Pour out the water and preserve. Preserve the lid as well. Using a butter knife, scrape off the tender pulp from the inside of the coconut shell and mash it roughly inside the shell. Shape the base so that the green coconut can seat.

2. Clean the prawns and marinate them with salt and turmeric powder for 10 minutes.

3.Add 2-3 tbsp of coconut water to the mustard powder to make a paste. Add a pinch of salt and keep it aside for 10 minutes.

4. Make a paste of the onion and 1-2 green chillies.

5.Heat 3-4 tbsp of mustard oil in the pan. You can use vegetable oil, but for the best flavour,  mustard oil is recommended.

6. Put the panch phoron in the pan and let it crackle. Put the onion, garlic and ginger paste and saute in medium flame for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato puree, turmeric powder and salt and saute until the oil separates.

7. Meanwhile, cook the prawn in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

8. Mix the mustard paste to the pan, followed by the prawn. Mix well and cook on a low flame for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of coconut water to make a gravy.

9. Stuff the prawn gravy into the green coconut and put the lid on. Seal the top with a cling film so the steam cannot escape.

10. Microwave the green coconut for about 10-12 minutes at 800 KWatt power.

11. Garnish with green chillies and serve hot with steaming basmati rice and enjoy!