From morning jolpaan to mini business conference snacks, Bengalis have something delicious for every meal of every occasion. With a plethora and technical and flavour variation, Bengali delicacies are distinct in their way. One such spectacular Bengali dish is the famous Daab Chingri. Cooked with complex flavours and technicalities, Daab Chingri is tiger prawns cooked inside a tender young coconut. One of the most loved Bengali dishes, the dish is believed to have an Asian influence. 

Daab Chingri is loved mainly due to its flvaour variation. The sweetness from the flesh of the young coconut and onions, the rustic mustard paste and the spicy green chillies are responsible for this deliciousness. However, the balance of the flavours play a major role in the dish. The mustard paste should never overpower the flavour of the coconut and the sweetness of the onions needs to be enhanced through steaming in the coconut water. The cooking time also comes into play for a perfect Daab Chingri. Overcooking the prawns in the coconut shell will result in a chewy texture and decreased sweetness.

While most people believed that the tropical combination of prawn and tender coconut has Asian influence, some believe that the ‘Bhappa’ or steaming technique comes from the Portuguese background. The level of spice and type of chillies used in the preparation is also vital. Authentic Daab Chingri is made through mildly spicy chillies, commonly called ‘Jwala Chillies’. Most Bengali food connoisseurs add the chillies without sliting them to add a peppery fragrance to the gravy. Another reason behind using this particular variety of chillies is its colour. Although Kashmiri chillies are also mildly spicy, they add a red tone to the gravy which makes it lose its tropical essence. 

While authentic Daab Chingri was made over an earthen stove, modern-day Daab Chingri has evolved and is being prepared using different techniques. Instead of using fresh coconut flesh, some people have started using coconut milk which results in a milder taste of coconut than desired. The use of microwaves, convection oven and instant pot methods have also come into play. However, nothing can beat the taste of authentic Daab Chingri made with fresh young coconut flesh cooked on an earthen stove by the bhappa method. If you are planning to make Daab Chingri at home, we don’t think you need to wait for a Sunday to arrive. Just get a coconut from the market and start making it now to relish the flavours of tropical India.