Monday, December 2, 2013

Recipe recreation for NUTRIFEST - Chingri Mochar Ghonto (Banana Blossom with Prawns)

This year Kolkata Food Bloggers has been invited by the KPC School of Nutrition to be the  co-organisers for their annual festival Nutrifest. The first thing that really caught our attention is their theme this year - "The Raj Remnant -Laat Shahaber Bangali Khansama" - simply put the influence of British culture on Bengali food. While doing the research for this we have been so surprised and amazed at the same time - it has an incredible history.
Sharing below an interesting excerpt of the research that the Nutrifest team has done.

"Kolkata, or Calcutta if you will, was slowly evolved from a milieu of settlers among which are, apart from the British and native Bengali, a host of races and nationalities like the Chinese, Armenians, Bagdadee Jews, Portugese, Marwari, Sindhi, Punjabi, Gujrati, Bihari, Nepali and every Indian and neighbouring national that you could imagine. All these settlers earnestly tried to preserve / follow their cuisines although over a period of time, there came about irreversible changes of local influence to account for palate change and ingredient availibility, economics, etc. Locally cuisines varied from religious influences like Hindu and Muslim cuisine types and yet some entirely new cuisines were born, married subaltern from the Anglo and Indian races who came together over time in the form of Anglo Indian Food.

Those were heady days for the well heeled and any food from the world was available. Shining restaurants in Firpo's and Great Eastern Hotel could give a run for their money to many English and French Restaurants in the "Continent". The newly recruited Rajahs had expensive taste and imported the very best Brandy and wine from Europe. So much so that Nobel Laureate Rabindranath had to write " deshe onno joler holo ghor onoton...khao whiskey soda aar murgi moton". Incidentally, I am told that drinking Soda with one's tipple was a completely Indian custom by the Europeans as they were not sure of the quality of water to be had here". Courtesy Kolkata Story Trail

Well now coming to the recipe that I was assigned to recreate - a Bengali staple - Chingri diye Mochar Ghonto (Banana Blossom cooked with prawns). Now the thing is that I have grown up eating this dish all the time but what I was unaware of is that this dish originated during the British regime in Bengal. The story goes that 'the cartridge smeared with the fat of pig & cow was the cause of the mutiny. The Kanshamas faced wrath upon serving meat as well. Mangal Pandey and his sepoy friends questioned the Kosherness of the meat. During that period Barrackpore were surrounded by banana groves. A wise Khansama served ‘Mochar Ghanto’ instead'. Now isn't that super interesting!!!!


Mocha / Banana Blossom - 2 cups - chopped

Kala chana/ Horse gram - half cup - soaked overnight and then boiled.

Prawns - 10-12 nos - medium sized - washed and deveined

Bay leaves - 2 nos

Ginger paste - 2 tsp

Cumin paste - 2 tsp

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp+ 1 tsp

Red chilli powder - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - 1 tsp

Ghee - 1 tbsp

Mustard oil - 2 tbsp + 1tbsp

Garam masala - 2 tsp( i use a homemade mix of green cardamom,cloves and cinnamon)


In a pan boil some water with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Put the chopped mocha/banana blossom and blanch it for 5 mins. Drain and keep aside.

 In a pan add 1 tbsp mustard oil , marinate the cleaned prawns with a little salt and turmeric and saute till they change colour. Drain and keep aside.

In another pan/kadhai , heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the bay leaves and let it splutter.Add the ginger - cumin paste , turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and sugar. Fry this mix on low heat. Add a little water if reqd to prevent the spices from burning. Next tip in the boiled kala chana/horse gram.

Once the spices start releasing their aromas , add the blanched mocha/banana blossom and the sauteed prawns. Fry will till everything gets incorporated well. Cover and let it cook for 5-7 mins on low heat. Lastly add the garam masala powder and a dollop of ghee and serve hot.

To know more about Nutrifest do visit their Fb page here

No comments:

Post a Comment