Saturday, 6 June 2015

Chingri Begun / Shrimps with Brinjals
I have a sudden feeling of not doing enough these days. The whole day rushes by and when evening sets in, I am left wondering as to what did I actually do?
Which one work was really, really good enough?
Well, I do not know the reason behind this self doubt. Maybe a case of fingers in too many pies, I guess.
Yes, from morning to afternoon, all I do is chores.
And cook.
And have taken up to painting all the covers of the glass bottles in the kitchen to a bright, fluroscent green ( my current obsession ) and yellow and some cherry red.

And have two sets of knitting going on simultaneously .... one bright orange long muffler and another wine coloured poncho.
Those of you who know me know my love for knitting too. When my orthopedic had sadly nodded his head in a no to my simple question of "Can I at least knit?" three years back, I was devastated.
No cooking .... I couldn't take either.
No reading .... that had broken me to pieces too.

But no knitting?! How will I live?!
So , on the day I finally stepped into the kitchen again, I had brought out a pair of knitting needles too.
And a small ball of wool.
And kept them right in front of me on the mantle piece .... so that my eyes would not miss them.
They were the reason I did not give up.
They were the reason that pushed me to exercise; to continue my physiotherapy.
And mend.

And as soon as I could, I started to knit one line every day.
Just one line.
And that started to infuse that positive energy in me.
And I knew I will knit again.

Yes, today I am knitting again!
I am slow, but I am going steady. And watch with joy as my fingers move along with the needles and my beloved yarn of wool passes through my fingers to turn into something new.
There are still hitches ... my shoulders still give up at times. But I go on.
When I lay it down to take some rest, I look at it and say in mind that I will come back and pick you up soon.

Nothing gives me more happiness than knitting. And I hope I never have to give it up again.
Maybe not being able to knit fast enough is eating me ... and hence that sense of slight despair.

Ok, I know I am digressing.

I have also been spending way too much of time in the kitchen too.
Have started cooking on a regular basis and loving it.
The last time I was at my fishwala's, I had brought big lot of different fishes. This I usually do.
And they last me through a fortnight or more easily.
And through unexpected guests.
And morbid days.

So along with a bunch of Parshe, big sized rohu pieces ( the ones with a thick skin and a good layer of fat ... I love them ), Tyangra and some medium sized prawns, I got these little shrimps too.
I was a little hesistant but the guy said they do not need cleaning.
That was enough to tempt me.
I already had visions of chomping them just crisply fried and gave in.
Bought around 150 gms of them.

Greed, as they say, is the reason behind every downfall.
I had the good sense to post a photograph of these tiny things on FB and asked what can I do with them.
And friends came up with wonderful ideas and recipes.
But first ... "you need to clean them".

So, the same night, after dinner, I sat down to deal with these tiny fellows who did not look  as innocent or tempting to me anymore, by then.
I froze them a little  while I had dinner. That helped hugely while dealing with them.
I cut off the whiskers up to the eyes. And shelled the slightly big sized ones. The smaller ones I left as they were.

Among the recipes, I zeroed in on Soma's simple one with very little ingredients.
The main reason being there were no vegetables at home other than a big sized brinjal and some potatoes.
Also, there was no other prep work needed.
Just chop, fry, add water and it is done. Just the kind of cooking I love.

Soma too cooked the same thing simultaneously in her kitchen in the far away US of A.
And sent me a photo on chat, just minutes after discussing the recipe.
That is the joy of having friends who love food and are equally happy to cook and share recipes.
Makes your food all the more loved.
And makes a meal worthwhile.
You can find her post here.

I followed her simple recipe and the result was this beautiful tel jhol.

I do not have good photographs that do enough justice to it.
To know, you need to make it just once.

Need :

Very small sized shrimps - 150 gms, cleaned and washed well.
Brinjal - 1 medium sized, chopped into cubes
Kalo jeere / Nigella seeds - 1 tsp
Fresh green chillies - 3
Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
Salt - to taste

How to :
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy kadahi / wok.
Apply 1 tsp of turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to the cleaned shrimps.
Fry them till they lose all moisture and turn all crunchy and crispy.
Keep aside.
Ok ... you can chomp on a few. I did. :-)

Add the rest of the oil to the kadahi.
Add the kalo jeere + green chillies.

Now add the chopped brinjal pieces and fry covered till done.
In a small bowl, mix turmeric powder + red chilli powder + salt with some water.
Add that to the fried brinjal pieces.
Cover and boil for a while.
Then add the shrimps.
Cover and cook for around 5 to 10 minutes or till the gravy dries up.
Soma suggests to keep the gravy dryish, almost the consistency of a sauce.
Remove cover, sprinkle 1 more tbsp of fresh mustard oil.
Add some chopped coriander leaves and you are done!

Goes best with plain, steamed rice.
The flavour of the fresh mustard oil brings out the best in this tel jhol, so do not skimp on it.



  1. hi Sharmila, I too, love to knit and crochet. I am so glad that you are able to return to this; do keep up with the physiotherapy, even though knitting in itself is the best therapy! And please keep up with the blog; I enjoy it immensely. Take care.

    1. Thank you so much Rajkonya! Wonderful to know you share my loves too ... knitting, crocheting and Kichu Khonn. :-)

  2. পোস্টের নাম পড়েই নেচে উঠেছি, শর্মিলা। একে বেগুন, তায় চিংড়ি। আহা, ভেবেই জিভে জল এসে যাচ্ছে।

    তুমি এত কিছু পার দেখে আমি রীতিমত হীনমন্যতায় ভুগছি। তুমি তোমার ইচ্ছেমতো সব কাজ যত খুশি করতে পার এই কামনা করি।

    1. Eyi jah ... ki je bolo Kuntala.
      Tomar lekha amake shara jiboner jonne complex diye rekheche ... joto baar pori mone hoye aha, ami jodi eyirokom kore Bangla te likhte partam!

      Bisshash koro ... recipe ta post korar shomoye amar tomar kotha mone porechilo ... tumi begun bhalobasho, tai. :-)

      Thank you tomar kind wishes er jonne.

  3. :) ki bhalo laglo that you liked it and posted it too :D and love the step by step photos. Your begun chingri looks better than mine!

    1. Thank you. Abar korbo. But I like your gravy better . :-)

  4. Sharmila, so happy to know you are on the mend and knit. Physio will definitely help but what matters more is your positive self, perseverance and hard work. That you have I know. I remember these kucho chingri on fb! It must have been a huge task cleaning them ..but look at the end have a delicious preparation.

    1. Thank you Preeti! Lol ... yes ... I had to sit and clean them way past midnight , chatting with Soma about the recipe simultaneously. It was one crazy night. :-)


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!