Saturday, 25 February 2017

Pui Chingri / Prawns cooked with the Malabar Spinach*
The sun is blazing hot these days. The birds are already draining the water bath by the time our breakfast is over.
I have to fill it at least thrice a day these days.
It breaks my heart to see the poor birds flying around, looking for water.
Many try to drink from the dirty puddles on the roads but those too are not easily seen these days, given the dry weather and the heat.
I feel a kind of relief every time I see a bird drinking clean water from the bath on my balcony.
It is a sturdy and flat terracotta vessel and just deep enough for the bigger birds like the crows to dip their beaks in.

I keep the water level low in the mornings so that the little birds like the bulbuls, sparrows and the sun birds find it easy to bathe. They come very early in the mornings.
The crows, swallows, pigeons and the parrots come later.
I try to get a peek now and then .... I love to see them splashing around in the water.
And love the look of contentment on their faces.*
There is a beautiful photograph of a freshly bathed swallow who sat in the sun for a while .... and dozed, that I had clicked once.
It is on the blog too but I do not remember in which post it is in ... hence cannot give the link just now.

Given that my balcony faces west, it becomes very difficult to care for the plants too.
I get busy with setting up contraptions to cover them from the direct sun.
Watering them twice a day is a must.
I do not have a green thumb at all .... most of my plants die sooner or later. Much of which I can attribute to our frequent trips too.
No matter what precautions I take .... from half filling the bath tub and placing the pots in it to lining every little indoor pot with damp newspapers to keeping them under very light running water .... I have done it all.
Right now my only surviving plants are the few palms that I had carried back all the way from Bangalore, a curry leaf plant, which I keep an eye on like a mother hen and my very precious Pui plant .... which I had planted from the stems of the big bunch that I had got from Bangalore last year.

That Pui plant has been doing well, touch wood, so far. I have already cooked a few times with its leaves and stems. I just hope it survives this harsh summer that nature is promising us.

This time, when I made this Pui Chingri from its leaves, I decided to make a post.*
I do not use too much of spices in this chorchori.
Rather, I let the flavour and the sweetness of the prawns to mingle with the freshness of the Pui leaves.
And they speak for themselves.
If you are making this in winter, do add vegetables of your choice.
I did not add any ... just threw in some sweet potatoes for that extra sweetness and some baby Brinjals / Eggplants for some moistness.

Need :

Fresh water prawns - 250 gms , marinated with salt + turmeric powder
Sweet potatoes - 1 medium, diced
Brinjals / Aubergine - diced
Pui leaves and stems - washed and cut roughly
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Paanch phoron / Bengali five spice mix - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp 
Whole dry red chillies - 2, broken
Bay leaf - 1
Mustard oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste ( this will a little sweetish dish )

How to :

Heat the oil in a heavy kadahi / wok / open pan.

Add the prawns and fry lightly and remove.

In the same oil add the paanch phoron and the dry red chillies.

Add the potatoes and cook on low heat, covered,  till done.

Remove cover and add the grated ginger, stir a little and add the pui and the brinjals.

Give a stir and add the prawns too.

Now add turmeric powder + red chilli powder + salt + sugar.

Mix well till everything come together.

Cover and cook on low heat till the leaves are well cooked.

Remove cover and stir well.

Cook without cover, mixing now and then till all water dries up.*
Serve hot with dal and rice.

And oh! .... This summer, if you have an empty space anywhere in your house ... even a window sill will work ... please do keep out some clean water for our feathered friends.
Be kind.

God bless !!

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