Ol-Chingrir Dalna (Shrimp & Elephant foot Yam Dry Curry)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

 If you are wondering what in the World a 'dalna' is, then it's a cooking style of Bengali Cuisine, where all sorts of vegetables alone or in combination, cooked in a medium thick gravy seasoned with ground spices, especially Bengali Garam Masala powder (a grounded mixture of Cinnamon, cardamom & cloves) and a touch of Ghee(clarified butter). Some varieties of vegetable dalnas are Peper dalna(Raw papaya dalna), Aloo r Potoler dalna(Potato & Pointed gourd dalna), Phulkopi R aloor Dalna (Cauliflower n potato dalna), Badhakopir Dalna(Cabbage dalna), Dhokar Dalna(lentil cake dalna). Sometimes Shrimp/prawn are added to the vegetables, which takes a simple vegetable dalna to a new height of taste, like Chingri-phulkopir dalna(Shrimp & Cauliflower Dalna), Chingri-echorer dalna(Shrimp & green jackfruit dalna). Eggs and even Panner(cottage cheese/Chana) are also cooked in that style, too like Dimer Dalna(Egg Dalna), Chanar dalna(Cottage cheese dalna).
 Some info about Elephant Foot Yam :
        Elephant yam is an edible tuber. It is so called because of its huge size and resemblance with the elephant foot. Elephant foot yam is basically originated from the Southeast Asia. Yam is considered to be a healthy low-fat food and is a rich source of essential fatty acids. It is loaded with potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. Eating elephant yam helps in increasing the estrogen levels in women’s bodies, thus helping in maintaining the hormonal balance. It is also high in vitamin B6 that provides relief from pre-menstrual syndrome in women. It is a natural product that is high in fiber. The elephant yam is widely used in the treatment of patients suffering from piles. The vegetable also suits people with hypertension as it has a cooling effect on the body. 

First pic is from www.tradeindia.com
Middle pic is borrowed from my dear friend Prema's Blog, Prema's Culinary

Now to the recipe, this dalna I made it with elephant foot yam(in Bengali, we call it OL) and medium sized prawn. It tastes yummy with hot boiled rice.
Ingredients :
Elephant Foot yam(Ol) : cut into cubes
Medium sized Prawn : about 15-20 pieces
Onion : 1(big) or 2(medium, chopped)
Ginger paste : 2 tsp.
Garlic paste : 1 tsp.
Tomato : 1(big, chopped)
Green chilli : 1-2(chopped)

Spices for tempering --
Bay leaf : 1
Cardamom: 2
Cinnamon : 1 stick of 1" piece
Cloves : 3-4
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Spices for cooking------

Turmeric powder : 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Cumin powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander powder : 2 tsp.
Garam Masala powder : 1 tso.
Ghee(clarified butter) : 1 tsp.

Salt to taste
Oil : 3-4 tblsp.


Method :
  • Cut the elephant foot yam or OL in medium size cubes. Pressure cook them for 2-3 whistles. [Some varieties of yam gives throat irritation, if you boil it first and add to the gravy, then it lowers the risk of irritation to a big extant]. It takes a little longer than potato to cook. Remove when just cooked, but not mushy.
  • Marinate prawns with 1 tsp. of turmeric powder and a pinch of salt for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Now heat oil in a pan and lightly fry the prawns from both sides. Keep aside. In the same pan, temper with bay leaf and other ingredients(in the same order as written), lastly with cumin seeds, when seeds crackle, add chopped onions, saute till it changes the color, then add chopped green chillies, ginger & garlic paste and saute for couple of minutes. Then add tomatoes and saute till it softens.
  • When tomatoes are soft and mushy, add all powdered spices with 3-4 tblsp. water and stir vigorously to cook the spices. When oil seperates ans spices are thoroughly cooked, add cooked elephant foot yam/OL pieces and fried prawns. Mix well with spices. Add 1/2 cup of water, as vegetables are cooked, it doesn't need much time to cook. Season with salt.
  • So, when gravy is nicely coated with veges and prawns, add grounded garam masala powder and ghee. Mix well and remove from heat. 
Vegetarian Version :
Just omit prawn and cook as this recipe goes. You will get a healthy and delicious yam curry.


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