Pasta enjoys watching the “Gopal Bhnar” series on TV a lot. In fact, she enjoys her restricted TV time for that matter 😛 while I didn’t watch TV since last 3 long years! You may wonder why I am talking about “Gopal Bhnar” instead of “Lau Chingri!” Well, Gopal Bhnar, the famous Bengali Historical character, was the “Bhand” or the court jester from Raja Krishnachandra’s regime, in case you are not aware who he was or you are not a Bengali or not grown up reading his stories. I still remember that particular story where Gopal mixed a few pieces of fried Prawn or Chingri Mach Bhaja to his widowed aunt’s Lau Ghonto ( vegetarian bottle gourd preparation) and the consequences later on.
Bengalis are known for their love for non-vegetarian food. However, our vegetarian cooking is equally rich and influenced by the cooking of Bengali Widows who were not permitted to eat non-veg years back and even now at times. The story of Gopal indeed was funny, and the Bengali vegetarian food is rich but alas I cannot say that everything was good with the widowed women back then!
- Lau / Lauki / Bottle Gourd: 1 (medium size, 750g)
- Prawn: 250g (medium size/ around 15 pieces)
- Ginger Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Cumin Seed: 1 Tsp.
- Bay Leaf: 1
- Dried Red Chili: 2 (broken)
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp.
- Salt: 1 Tsp.
- Mustard Oil: 2 Tbsp.
- Ghee / Clarified Butter: 1 Tsp.
- After peeling the skin, cut Bottle Gourd or Lau into small rectangular pieces ( for size, refer, the picture)
- Clean and devein the Prawns with the outer shell intact.
- Marinade Prawns with Turmeric Powder and little Salt.
- Heat the Mustard Oil in a deep pan and fry Prawns in medium heat until those turn lightly brown.
- Strain fried Prawns from the Oil and add Ghee to the same Pan.
- Temper the Ghee and Oil mixture with Cumin Seed, Bay Leaf, and Dried Red Chili.
- Now add chopped bottle gourd along with little turmeric powder and salt and cover the pan with a lid.
- Cook for around 10 minutes in medium flame and stir in between.
- Bottle gourd will release lots of water/juice and hence no need to add extra water.
- Once the water dried, add sugar to the bottle gourd.
- Adjust the salt if required.
- Finally, add fried prawns and give the Lau Cthingri a thorough mix.
- Cook for a minute or two to get desired consistency.
- Serve Lau Chingri with steamed rice.
My Bengali meal with Lau Chingri:
This is how I pair Lau Chingri with other Bengali delicacies. Lau Chingri to start with the Steamed rice followed by Bhaja Mooger Dal and Aloo Phulkopir Dalna. Then there will be Doi Mach and Mangsher Jhol followed by Aamer chutney! Nap is must after this true blue bong meal 🙂 !