The recent cold front has somehow brought back a lot of memories associated with my childhood winters. Although winter is over for us in the Midwest, somehow memories of the winters in our homeland, were on my mind for the past few days. The season when the markets were flooded with an onslaught of seasonal vegetables. During our growing up years, veggies like cabbage and cauliflower, were primarily Winter staples. Somehow they tasted much better than the hybrid ones which we get all the year round nowadays.Winters which meant a few signature vegetarian dishes by Momma. It was the warm vegetable soups which Ma whipped up, for us, to slurp on , while watching 'Great Expectations,' on the National Network. Not to forget the vast array of Torkari and Chorchori which dominated the weekend lunches in the Chatterjee household. 

However,Torkari is not something, which is the ideal fare for a Friday night for the Dasgupta household here.Veggies are not exactly up the man's alley, and he is the one who is the de-facto chef for Friday nights. But since the man spilled some hot oil on his hand a couple days back, so he is off his kitchen duty.The man is nursing the burnt finger and getting sulky by the minute. The  grey weather is lending loads of gloom to our household. Its the weather which spoilt all our plans for the special  weekend. Barbecue plans, driving forth to the Tulip festival in Wamego, Kansas, have all been scrapped, for the Weather Gods. It all had to happen on the weekend, when we had celebrations lined up.The man and me complete another year of being hitched.Time seems to be flying !

What's for Dinner?  The man loses his smile when I mention that its gonna a vegetarian fare for dinner.But the moment I add in, Chingri Maaach diye Torkari (veggies with prawns), the vanished smile is back with a bang.Anything is good with Chingri Maachh.A touch of crustacean delight, and dinner suddenly becomes happening, from boring, for the man. It took me some time, to understand this trick.So tonight I played the same game. It is Turnips with Prawns or Chingri Maach diye Shalgam-er Torkari. The trick in this  dish is the rendered fat , which is released while frying the prawns. When the shrimps are fried with a  little bit of turmeric powder and salt, they leave behind some drippings in the pan. The idea is to add the onion paste,to the same oil with the drippings, from the prawns.Its this rendered fat helps in building the flavours of this torkari. So make sure you use the same oil.


Turnips: 2-3
Potatoes: 1 large
Onion: 1 large red onion, made into a paste.
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Tomato: 2 large: made into a paste in the blender
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Ghee: 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala: A pinch
Mustard Oil: 4-5 tbsp
Water: 1 cup
Cilantro/Coriander: A handful : chopped
Prawns: 1 cup : cleaned and de-veined.


Peel and cube and turnips and potatoes at about the same size. This ensures that they are cooked uniformly.

Heat mustard oil in a pan and add the cubed turnips. Well, I had run out of mustard oil, so I used Canola Oil.

Once they start to caramelise around the edges, add in the diced potatoes. The Turnips take alonger time to cook, hence they are added first.

Wait for the potatoes to start caramelising around the edges. Remove from the oil and keep aside. Add in the prawns, along with a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Cook the prawns till they have changed the colour. Remove and keep aside. 

You will notice some drippings in the pan, from the fried  prawns. Add in the onion and ginger paste in the same oil and fry them till the paste turns light golden brown.

Add in the tomato paste,the red chili powder,the turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Fry this masala for around 3 minutes, till you see oil around the edges.

Add the fried turnips and potatoes to the fried masala. Mix well. Cover and cook for around 5-7 minutes.

Introduce the fried prawns and mix well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or so.

Dunk the veggies in a cup of hot water. Continue to cover and cook. Care should be taken so that the veggies are cooked through, but do not turn mushy.

Check the consistency of the gravy, as this is supposed to be a dry dish. It should be thick and sticking to the veggies and prawns. Check for seasonings. Add in the chopped cilantro and ghee and garam masala. Mix well and turn off the heat. Keep covered to seal in the flavours.

Serve with hot steamed basmati rice or rotis.

Bon appetit !

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