Chingri Posto – Juicy, chunky prawns seared in mustard oil, then simmered in classic Bengali coconut and poppyseed gravy, a dish that you can make all year round. You can serve this on the table in 20 minutes on the bed of steamed rice.
What Ingredients do you need to make Chingri Posto?
The ingredient list is short, but the right ones and most of the ingredients are easily accessible.
Chingri- Prawns or Shrimps
Terminological confusion- Let’s talk about Chingri first, which means Prawn or shrimps.
I remember my initial days, the terminological confusions between bell paper vs capsicum, eggplant vs brinjal, spring onion vs scallion, coriander leaves vs cilantro! The list is long, and we can continue the discussion. But now, let’s talk about the prawn for this recipe.
I know, most of you know, that prawns and shrimps are the same. But, I wanted to discuss this with the newcomers in the cooking world to avoid confusion! It’s called Prawn in Australia and other commonwealth countries and known as Shrimp in other countries.
What type of prawns/ shrimps do you use for this recipe?
I prefer to use uncooked thawed prawns for this recipe because this is the easiest way to resource help and save my time and energy.
No chewy prawns, please! How to avoid it?
Serving or eating a dry, chewy prawn is an offence! It is a waste of food and money.
What to do? – simple!
- If you are cooking medium-sized prawns for curry, fry them over medium-high heat until halfway cooked through. You don’t need to cook each side for more than 1 minute and remove it from the oil.
- Next, cook the gravy, add Chingri Bhaja or the fried prawns/shrimps back into the gravy or curry at the end and cover with a lid. Over high heat, cook the prawns for a minute to adjust the temperature, then simmer the dish over medium heat.
- Don’t simmer them in the gravy, sauce, or curry for more than three-four minutes. Then, immediately remove from the heat because the cooking process will continue while you are waiting for the resting time of the dish.
It’s always good to give at least 10 minutes of resting time before serving any fish, seafood or meat curry so that protein can absorb the flavour and gravy.
Follow these steps every time you will enjoy and juicy, plumy prawn dish.
Posto or Poppyseed
Let’s talk about Posto or Poppy seeds.
How does it taste?
The taste of these tiny round shaped seeds is nutty.
How to use these poppy seeds?
There are different ways to use poppyseeds in various cuisines for baking, decorating, and cooking savoury and sweet dishes.
These seeds have been harvested in many countries by several civilisations, used in many cuisines. However, because of the traces of Opium, poppy seeds are banned in many countries.
If you live in a place where you don’t get poppy seeds, you can try some other prawn recipes instead of this recipe.
Posto or Poppyseeds in Bengali cooking!
Poppy seeds are called Posto in Bengali and Khus khus in Hindi. White poppy seeds are mainly used in Bengali and Indian cooking. Smooth poppy seeds paste is used in some rich curries as a thickening agent. on the other hand, coarsely ground Poppyseeds paste or Posto bata is one of the star ingredients in Bengali cooking.
Posto bata or Ground poppy seeds paste, and steamed white rice is comfort meal in Bengali cuisines. After a long hectic summer day, it is the most relaxing day for many Bengalis. First, ground the white poppy seeds to the consistency of moist soil, then add mustard oil, chopped onion, green chillies, salt, and serve with steamed rice.
You can cook most of your desired veggies, fish, prawn, egg in poppy seeds paste, and you will enjoy a Bengali delicacy. Such as Aloo Posto, Dim Posto.
How to make Poppy seeds paste?
There are two-three ways you can make Poppy seeds paste for Bengali recipes.
Type -1 –
You can make poppy seeds paste traditionally by using mortar and pestle.
These days I make Posto Bata or poppy seeds paste in my Indian mixer grinder. First, I soak the poppy seeds, green chillies, and salt in warm water in a small bowl for 30 minutes. Then grind them to make a thick, coarse paste.
Use your coffee grinder
Disclaimer: I filmed this video a few years back.
That time I didn’t have my Indian mixer grinder here in Melbourne, so I coarsely grind the poppy seeds in my spice and coffee grinder. Grind the poppy seeds in either puls mode, or don’t run the machine at a go more than 10 seconds, because you don’t want to generate the heat, else your poppy seeds will start releasing the oil.
Then I transferred the powdered poppy seeds into a bowl and added water to make a paste. But in this case, you need to make green chilli paste separately or add chopped green chillies.
Mustard oil has an intense flavour, and when it is paired with green chillies, it enhances the flavour in poppyseed paste.
The number of green chillies depends on your heat tolerance. You are lucky if you get fresh hot green chillies all year round, but if you don’t get the fresh green chillies, then use the frozen green chillies you get in an Indian or Bangladeshi store.
coconut adds flavour and helps to balance the taste of the dish by adding sweetness. Nothing can beat the taste of freshly grated coconut! But, the challenges of living outside of India means –
Number one, it’s hard to find fresh coconut in your local supermarket all the time.
Second, you have no helping hand to do this extra step after a long day, and you are looking for a delicious quick meal. So take help from your Indian store and use grated frozen coconut or buy a pack of desiccated coconut from your local supermarket.
I use red onion for my curries. But if you use brown onion, then don’t add sugar at the end. In my opinion, fried brown onion tastes sweet.
How to make Chingri posto?
First, chop onion and garlic. Then, heat oil in a Kadai or dutch oven over medium heat. Fry the prawns and remove them from the pan.
Add Dry red chilli to the remaining oil, then add onion fry for a minute. Add garlic, sprinkle salt and continue cooking for 7-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Postobata or Poppy seeds paste in your preferred way.
Add grated coconut and cook till the rawness of the coconut is removed. Then, add the fried prawns followed by Poppy seeds paste, water, sugar and cook till desired consistency. Cover with a lid and remove from heat.
Voila! Your Chingri Posto Narkel is ready.
Read the recipe card for more detail, and watch the video here!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and come back for more recipes.
Till then, Happy cooking!
- 300 gm Prawns - ~ cleaned and deveined (25 pieces medium sized prawn )
- 3 tbsp Poppy seeds - ( 25 gm)
- 4-5 Green Chillies - 1 tsp green chilli paste
- ¼ cup Mustard Oil
- 1 Dry red chilli - for tempering
- 1 Onion - ~ Chopped (150gm approximately)
- 1 big clove garlic - ~ chopped (1 tsp)
- ⅓ cup Coconut - ~ grated (25 gm)
- ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp Sugar - optional
- Salt to taste
- Transfer poppy seeds to a coffee grinder, add salt and grind it, transfer it to a bowl, add water to make a paste.
- Or soak the poppy seeds, green chillies, and salt into warm water in a small bowl for 30 minutes. Then grind them in an Indian grinding jar to make a thick, coarse paste.
- In a preheated Dutch Oven or Kadai, heat oil over high heat. When the oil is smoky hot, reduce the heat to low.
- Add prawns to the hot oil, sprinkle salt, and cook each side for a minute over medium heat. Remove from oil and keep on a plate.
- Add dry red chilli to the hot oil, cook for seconds, add chopped onion, cook for a few seconds.
- Next, add chopped garlic, sprinkle salt and turmeric powder, continue cooking over medium-low heat until onion is softened and developed a golden colour. It will take at least 7-8 minutes.
- Add coconut, remaining Turmeric powder, Red chilli powder to the cooked onion. Give a stir. And over medium heat, cook the mixture until coconut is cooked.
- Add fried prawns, over high heat cook for a few seconds.
- Add poppy seeds paste and cook for a minute. When you feel the raw aroma of poppy seeds has gone, add one cup of hot water.
- Add ¼ tsp of sugar; this is optional, and stir.
- When everything comes to a boil, cover with a lid. Over high heat, cook just for two minutes, not more than that. If you wish, you can add 1 slit green chilli for flavour.
- Give a final stir, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Give 10-15 minutes standing time before serve.