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Lau Chingri

Prawns (Chingri in Bengali) are an all time favorite of a typical Bengali. I guess I am the only exception. For some strange reason, I never took any fancy with them since childhood. I say strange because I have started to like them a little now, even though there are only few types of preparation that I like now. I had a friend in my class who once commented that no self-respecting Bengali can not like prawns. Well I think that makes me a self-loathing Bengali :p But I am not. Sumi, on the other hand, simply adores them. She always found it hard to believe that I dont like them. Around the time we started living together after I moved to Chennai after our marriage, I consciously tried to force myself to try few ingredients which I didnt like before. There were two reasons for it. One I didn’t want to deprive Sumi of food items she loves. Second I wanted Sumi to have more of few vegetables which I love :D So prawns, mushrooms, spinach, carrot etc. became regulars in our diet. With the frozen, packed, cleaned up versions of prawns that we get nowadays in the super market, I have actually discovered my love for prawns. They are tasty and I just love them now.

This recipe in very common in Bengal and it is a favorite in any special occasions. Sumi has made it few times in the past 2 years and to tell you the truth, she really cooks this in an awesome manner. I have not told her this though smile

Lau Chingri - Bottlegourd with Prawns
Lau Chingri - Bottlegourd with Prawns


  • Bottlegourd (Lau) - 1 medium sized (around 300gm)
  • Potatoes - 4 medium sized (1cm square cut)
  • Prawns (de-veined and de-shelled) - 200gm
  • Onion (chopped fine) - 1 medium sized
  • Nigella seeds - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp
  • Green chillies chopped - 2 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves chopped - 1 tbsp
  • Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  • Salt - to taste
  • Mustard oil - as required


Marinade the prawn with salt and 12 tsp turmeric powder for 15 min.

Smoke oil in a pressure cooker. Let it cool for sometime. Now increase flame and add nigella, fry for 30sec and add chopped green chillies and onion and fry a while, till onion turns translucent.

Add the asafoetida and marinated prawn saute and fry for 4-5 min. Take care not to fry more else prawn becomes chewy.

Now add the garama masala, remaining turmeric powder, potatoes and bottleguard and salt and saute for 5-8 min in medium flame.

Close the cooker and allow for 3 whistles keeping gas in high flame. Do not add water or lower the flame else bottleguard will become soggy.

Open immediately and heat for another 4-5 min till all dries up.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or chapatti.


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