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Saturday, 3 October 2015

Thor Chingri Ghonto (Banana Stem cooked with Prawns - Bengali style)

          Thor as it is known in the Bengali lingo or the Banana stem has numerous health benefits. It contains fibre, potassium and vitamin B6. Besides it is good for weight loss and improving high blood pressure. This is a traditional Bengali homemade recipe of Banana stem cooked with prawns and potatoes. 

          For the veggie version, prawns can be simply omitted. Potato too is optional. It can be cooked with the whole garam masala, fresh grated coconut, boiled chickpeas and all the usual spices. 

          Banana stem is very popular in the South India too where the ingredients differ. Hence, there are many version to it. In the Bengali style too, it can be prepared in a curry form called Ghonto or as a stir fry called Chechki. 

          In whatever way it is cooked, it tastes simply delicious. It can be relished with plain steamed rice or with chapattis. The addition of garam masala powder and ghee to the end product enhances the flavour.

  • 1 Thor (Banana Stem), chopped & soaked in water
  • 2-3 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup prawns
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut
  • 1" ginger, grated 
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 tsp. roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • sliced ginger julienne, green chilies and fresh grated coconut to garnish (opt)

          Marinate the prawns with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder for 10 minutes. Mix together ginger, green chilies, cumin powder and turmeric powder along with some water to form a paste. Keep aside. 

          Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes till light golden colour. Drain and keep aside. In the same oil, fry the prawns till they changes colour. Drain and keep aside. 

          Temper the same oil with mustard seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves. Saute till the mustard stops spluttering.

          Now add the coconut and fry for a few seconds till light golden in colour. Add the ginger paste and saute till the oil separates.

          Add the chopped Banana stem and continue to saute on med. heat till dry. Add the fried potatoes, fried prawns, salt and 1 1/2 cups water.

          Cover and simmer till dry and the potatoes and the stem are cooked and soft. Add the garam masala powder and ghee and give it a mix. Serve, garnished with sliced ginger julienne, green chilies and grated coconut.

                       Take one long Banana stem and peel the outer part. Only the core 
                        part of the stem is used. Cut into half and then into round slices. 

                       Simultaneously keep discarding the fibre while cutting them into roundels.
                       Then cut into small pieces and keep them soaked in water to avoid
                       them turning black. 

                          Mix together ginger, green chilies, turmeric powder & cumin powder
                          along with some water. keep aside.

                        Heat oil and fry the potatoes & the prawns separately. keep aside.

                      Temper the same oil with mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves,
                      and bay leaves.

                           Add the coconut and saute for a few seconds till it is light golden.

                        Add the ginger paste and saute till oil separates.

                       Add the banana stem and fry till it is dry.

                         Add the fried potatoes, prawns, salt and water. Simmer till the moisture
                         dries up and everything is cooked and soft.

                      When done, add the garam masala powder and ghee. Give it a mix and 
                      serve after garnishing it. 

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