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.
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)
1/2 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. 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.
Serve hot with long-grained white rice.
Spice and Curry has also a version of Chingri Jhaal a little different from this.