Once upon a time, years ago I used to make a chicken dish with coriander and call it Chicken Dhan Dhana Dhan. At that point I did not know much about cooking. The fact that oil separates from masala at some point of kashano was news to me. Instead I tried to shroud my insipid dishes under dazzling names. That the dishes were flop B-grade movies even with names like "Lal Badshah" was often forgotten amidst laughter over the names. Or people were polite and did not point out the fact blatantly.
Now when I think of Chicken Dhan-dhana-dhan, I have no recollection except for the name. It was green and had dhonepata but it was very different from my Dhonepata Chicken. But the name has stuck in the folds of my memory. Quirky names do that to me. I still remember the name a friend (with a penchant for coining funny names) from college had chosen for a prospective Bollywood movie. "Muhabbat ki Jhopri me Jhaarpit ki Raat" was her name for a Bolly blockbuster. Every time I think of that name, my lips curl up in a smile and I chuckle to myself.
<< Also Yogurt, Onion, Shrimp,Salt,Sugar and Oil which are not shown in the above picture >>
In every stage of life I guess there are names you find to laugh on. For my four year old, freshly introduced to potty humour, it is stuff like "Butt-er" or "Pippi" or even "Green Pea". For another friend it is "Gopi", and since he has drilled into my brain I cannot address a "Gopi" with straight face anymore.
Same is with strange, quirky food names. If the food and hence the name is unfamiliar territory it can be source of much entertainment. Like say "Bibimbap". When I hear "Bibimbap" all I can think of it as, is Raavana's 6th wife with a flared nostril and thick gold nose ring on it. "Kimchi" brings to mind a lot of tiny twittering school girls. "Chenchda" comes alive as a young boy in narrow trousers with long sideburns and hippi haircut
Yesterday on Facebook, I asked for dishes with weird, quirky nonsensical names. Needless to say I had a hilarious time reading what the commenters had to say. There were "Faggots" (a kind of meatball), "Dhop er Chop" (the real deal), "Spotted Dick", "Country Captain", "Baykla Bhajja", "Elo-jhelo", "Round Round Stop", "Moo Goo Gai Pan" and "Gambas pil pil". The name that stole the show for me was "Jil Jil Jigarthanda". I cannot wait for an opportunity to order it with a perfectly serious look. To say "Ek Ji Jil Jigarthanda dena" is a privilege I want to earn. With names like this I am sure the fish and chips eating Bard would never have dared to say "What is in a Name?". A lot of fun if you ask me.
Now back to today's dish which was built on the memory of the now lost "Chicken Dhan-Dhana-Dhan". It was also inspired by the "Pudina Dhaniya Chicken" and "Pepper Shrimp". The pepper in hot oil and also in the paste adds a very nice flavor layered on mint and cilantro. Chingri Dhan-Dhana-Dhan needs to be pronounced with the right inflection, a slight pause after the first "Dhan" and then "Dhana-Dhan" together with more speed. That is how you will get the right effect .With fresh coriander, green mint, and black peppercorns it will also a deadly combo, truly a dhan-dhana-dhan.
Go Try.And come tell me the weirdest food name that you know.
Also a quick recap of book I have read recently and loved
Room -- Emma Donoghue
Oleander Girl -- Chitra Banerjee Divakurani
Chingri Dhan Dhana Dhan
Add the following to the blender jar and make a smooth paste
Coriander Leaves -- 1 cup chopped
Mint leaves -- 1/2 cup chopped (If you don't have fresh, use the dried mint but use less of it)
Yogurt - 1/2 cup of thick yogurt
Garlic -- 4 fat clove
Ginger -- 1" peeled and chopped
Hot Indian green chilli -- 2
Whole Black Peppercorns -- 1 tbsp
This greenish paste can be stored for future use and as base for many other curries. But don't use it as paint.
Lightly fry a small onion till it is soft and pink. Remove, cool and make a paste.
Clean and de-vein shrimp or defrost if using frozen ones. Toss them with salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes. I had about 22 medium sized shrimps(not jumbo but the 20-25/lb frozen kind).
Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a fry pan
Now to the oil add
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (more garlic than ginger)
1 tbsp fresh black pepper powder
When you get the nice aroma add
3 tbsp of the onion paste
Cook till oil separates. Now add the green masala paste. Add salt to taste, a tsp of sugar. Cook the masala paste till there is no raw smell. Now add little water(about 1/2 cup for gravy) and let the gravy simmer to a boil.
Adjust for salt and sugar at this point. Add juice of a quarter lime and a sprinkle of rock salt(beet noon) to add to the flavor.
Once you think gravy is almost ready add the shrimp and toss with the masala. The shrimp will cook fast and you are done as soon as the shrimp starts loses its raw coloring and looks white and orange. Do not cook the shrimp longer than necessary. The gravy will not be totally dry but will be clinging to the shrimps.
Serve with a pulao or rice.
Pudina Dhaniya Chicken -- Chicken in Mint Coriander Sauce
Dhonepata Maach - Fish in Cilantro sauce
Chicken in Mint, Coriander and Coconut