Friday, February 24, 2012

Chingri Jeerer Jhaal -- the way Ma-in-Law makes it


This is my Ma-in-law's recipe.

I think it is. At least this is how I remember she made it last time.

And my Ma never makes anything with this particular stress on Cumin. So it must be the Ma-in-law's. I admit I didn't bother to verify and check again. But I always make this particular dish this way and attribute it to her. I have done it so many times that now even the husband agrees. "Yes, this is how Ma makes it", he says with every morsel of this jhaal mixed with rice.

Given that we live thousands of miles apart there is no way she can do anything about it except getting branded with a Chingri'r Jeere'r Jhaal -- Shrimp in a Cumin spiced gravy. And that is not really a bad thing I must say. At least not with a dish that sends your heart a flutter singing "Dil dhak dhak karne laga".


There is also a sneaky reason why I have stuck to this dish of Ma-in-law's with due diligence.It does not have onions. Has Shrimp and No Onion is a Double Plus Plus in my culinary dictionary. I love shrimp as much as I hate chopping onions. I love onions as much as I hate chopping them. If there was a religion that advocated eating onion but prohibited chopping them, I would have embraced it with tearing eyes.

This dish also needs hardly anything much and the gravy is totally based on tomatoes, cumin powder and shuddh nirmal pani aka water. Good quality water is a must. As is tomatoes that are not tough like coconut. And shrimp that do not taste like cardboard. So you see it all depends on the ingredients leaving very little to your culinary skills. That suits me fine. And plus the no Onion.

I think it will suit you too. If you love shrimp and love simple meals.


Chingri'r Jeerer Jhaal -- Shrimp cooked in Cumin Spiced gravy


Peel, clean and de-vein shrimp. I had about 1/2 lb of heads on medium shrimp.Bought them fresh. Better than the frozen but I have also used frozen when in time crunch and it is fine. This amounted to around 10-12 shrimp
Toss shrimp with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Chop a large potato in long thick slices

Fire up the stove. Start Cooking


Heat 1/2 tbsp oil. Saute the shrimp lightly till they are no longer raw and color has changed to pale yellow. Remove and keep aside.


Add 1 more tbsp oil to same pot.

Temper oil with
1 loosely packed tsp of whole cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
4-5 slit hot green chili


Once the cumin seeds have browned(not burned) add
1/2 cup of pureed tomato (fresh tomato in the blender and pureed)
1 tbsp of grated ginger
Saute the tomatoes for next 4-5 minutes till the raw smell is gone and it looks cooked. Add a pinch of sugar to the tomatoes. Cook until you see oil seeping out from the edges.


Now add the sliced potatoes with a pinch of turmeric and fry the potatoes for a couple of minutes with sprinkle of water

1 heaped tsp Cumin Powder (lightly roasted on tawa and ground at home)
1 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch
Salt to taste
Fry the masala along with the potatoes.


Now add about 1 cup of warm water. Add few more  slit green chili. Mix everything and cover. Let potatoes cook.


Once the potatoes are done, add the fried shrimp. Add around 1/2 cup more of water if needed. Lightly break couple of the potato slices into the gravy to give the gravy some thickness.

Add 1/4th tsp of Garam Masala powder.

Let the gravy simmer and come to a boil. Check all seasonings and add salt/red chili powder as necessary. In a minute switch off.

This gravy is usually thin and reddish in color. Serve hot with long-grained white rice.

Version II of this Recipe

Th version II is a thicker gravy and involves onions and onion paste. I usually chop and fry one large onion until it is soft and translucent and then make a paste. I refrigerate this paste and use it in more than one dish.

For this particular recipe, after tempering the oil with the cumin seeds, bay leaves and green chillies, add 2-3 tbsp of onion paste.

Saute for couple of minutes. Now add the pureed tomato, grated ginger, pinch of sugar and a tbsp of tomato paste. Tomato paste gives color to the gravy.

Now continue with rest of the recipe as above

Spice and Curry has also a version of Chingri Jhaal a little different from this.


  1. Nice and simple. Will try soon.
    Wanted to let you know that the Read More link is taking me to Sunetra's Peyajkoli Maach -- Fish with Spring Onion
    I clicked on the title to reach the correct recipe for this Shrimp preparation.

  2. Nice idea. I was expecting mustard paste, as jhal for me is some fish with mustard paste and jhol means some fish with cumin, zinger and onion etc.
    But may be this definition belongs to only one particular part of Bengal and else where they mean different.

    1. Yes, in my Ma's home, jhaal usually has mustard paste. I am not sure how it is in other parts though

  3. Ahhhhhhh, you took me to my roots. I am a Bengali too and I know how Bengalis are crazy about food. Your Chingrir Jhaal seems to be known to me. In fact, we Bengalis always call it Jhall to Theeka even if we add two chilies. This is kind of the name that it has acquired. I loved your recipe. So homely a taste and so motherly cooked. This is the typical Bengali fish dish and I think most Bengalis have these common ingredients when they cook. Thanks for sharing.

    Divya Bhaskar

  4. U have tempted me to prepare this :)

  5. Followed Ushnish Ghosh's link and came here :-)
    I can imagine how simply flavorful it would be, with the heads on the chingri would be out of this world in this tomato cumin infusion.
    Interestingly, My MIL makes a similar tomato n bhuna jeera curry with potatoes n I had taken fancy for bhuna jeera after tasting that....I am suddenly feeling guilty of not treating my husband to his 'maan ke haath ka khana' :-)

    1. I am not sure if the original recipe calls for "bhuna jeera". I am guessing it would be a wet paste of cumin & ginger on the sil-batta. I always use "bhuna jeera" because that is what I store. I like that lightly roasted taste too.

  6. This reminds me so much of what my didu used to make - I just love the simple yet amazing flavours of jeere-lonka-ada bata!!! And the pictures are making my mouth water!!!!
    But Sandeepa, I have one complaint - you should have atleast given some indication this recipe was coming so I would have been prepared with fresh shrimps from the bazaar!! Now all I can think of is how to get the chingdi and make this,then eat this with lots of gorom bhaat and then take a loooong afternoon siesta!!!!;-)))

  7. What a timing of this post! Thanks! Today only i bought fresh prawns and was looking for something new to try with them. this is going to be the one! the recipe sounds extremely delicious and yes i also hate to chop onion, so it is a double treat to me!!

  8. Put a piece of bread in your mouth, most of it hanging out, as you chop the onions - that's supposed to help prevent the tears. I'd love to see someone do that - it would make for a strange and funny sight.

    I've cooked potatoes and prawns together, and something unpleasant happened to both when I did so. Maybe this will be better.

  9. Shrimp curry looks delicious! For some reason we don't cook seafood & meats with potato. Bookmarking the recipe.

  10. I imagine the flavor with cumin and shrimp- sounds like Vindaloo but different ur version- My mom does a potato shrimp combo but dry one. The recipe sounds delicious and aromatic.
    I use the chopper for onion sometimes even soaking the whole onion in water reduce tears- but never worked for me...

  11. Khob darun preparation chingdi mach'er Sandeepa..and jeerey goron dile aro ekta earthly flavour ashbe..wash onions in running tap water after cutting into half ..then chop it..and thanks for the link..hugs and smiles

  12. Chicken nahanewali and dhak-dhak shrimp....:)) very cool, I say!!

    I dislike the onion chopping+tears part, so I use a chopper for the for me!

    1. But you cannot put whole onion in it na ? Still have to peel and chop. What chopper do you use BTW

    2. I use a braun chopper and it has other attachments like a whisk, blender etc. Peel and chop the onion into 4 large pieces, throw it quickly into the chopper, shut and whiz, dunk into the fry-pan... there, no tears :)

  13. Super tempting prawn curry,looks so delicious n mouthwatering.

  14. Prawn lover,check.
    Onion-hater(hate chopping,eating,cooking and mostly everything related to onion...if there were a culture where you could eat onions without having to chop them and without getting bad breath,I'd have opened up to it as soon as possible,:P),check.
    Fond of simple and unpretentious dishes,check.
    Maa cooks it at home without the potatoes.I'm gonna cook them with the potatoes.Thanks for sharing.:-)

  15. my maa in law makes jhaal, in wich she fries holud-lonka-jeere-dhone powder with water, n cooks the fish in the curry.... it is simple to make n gud to taste... i've not had d chingri maach dat way though!!!! prawns on top in my next shopping list :)

  16. Hey Sandeepa, yummy recipe and yummy photos. I wonder my mom makes the same thing the same way. Only i remember she adds some greans like french beans sometimes. And I think she does not add the bhaja jeere, next time i shall ask her to put. I shall cook this too as this is a simple recipe. Reg chopping onion, u can try this method to avoid tears : cut the onion into half and quickly put the cut sides down. Now chop both the pieces in the same position, take care the chopped pieces are not misplaced. The tear comes from the cut sides, and this way i try to avoid them.

  17. ei recipe ta just darun darun.... love the colors.

  18. wow..sounds scrumptiously tasty..
    first time here your space..
    awesome presentation with nice recipes..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..

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  19. Sandeepa ekhuni ek bati jhaal r bhaat khete ichchey korchhey....I always put onion in my jhaal and like u try to avoid making them :(....will try this version next....might add some garlic as I'm crazy abt garlic :D


  20. This looks very yummy n delicious..awesoem picsloved it

    nice space u have vth yumm recipes.

  21. Tempting, and am sure, can go down well in your Family cook book.It is that kind of a dish, which will always taste brilliant with Mother's love....sort of Mummy ka magic dish I guess. Take care

  22. I liked the recipe and I liked this even more: "If there was a religion that advocated eating onion but prohibited chopping them, I would have embraced it with tearing eyes."

  23. Darun..... recipe
    ami try koreche onek tasty khaete....


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