Lau Chingri is a quintessential Bengali side dish, enjoyed quite often during summer days. “Lau” is bottle gourd and “Chingri” is shrimp and the combination works beautifully with very minimal spices. It’s a delicacy in West Bengal, a comfort food when paired with steamed white rice.
Lau Chingri is a quick 30 minutes meal with very minimal ingredients:
- Bottle Gourd
- Medium size shrimp
- Bay leaf
- Paanch Phoron (Indian Five Spice – Link to the recipe)
- Cumin powder
- Cilantro leaves
- Green chili
- Sugar – helps to bring out the flavor of the bottle gaurd
- Oil (preferably mustard oil)
It is a quick ONE POT STIR FRIED DISH that is light on the tummy! (WATCH THE VIDEO)
Bottle gourd is known as doodhi/ lauki in north of India, also sometimes refers to as long melon. It’s a vegetable with high water content making me smooth for your tummy. It’s also because of the high-water content, this vegetable is used a lot during summer months. Lau Chingri is one of my favorite dish to eat with this vegetable. As for my husband, he loved lauki kofta!
- A typical way bottle gourd is used in Bengali meal is by cooking it with lentils. Yellow lentils, mung daal to be precise, is another common summer dish.
- By adding shrimp and removing the dal, the dish turns into a non-vegetarian dish dish.
- You can just potatoes too or add some other vegetables like cauliflower or carrots.
If you look closely a lot of Bengali dishes, they don’t add any cilantro garnish. But in this dish, a good handful of cilantro leaves simply elevates the flavor. It’s not added just for garnish. So, you do need a good handful.
COOKING THE SHRIMP:
You can stir fry the shrimp at first and then keep it aside to be added later to the pan for a quick mix.
I prefer this simpler step of making it one pot and cooking it along with the bottle gourd. This is mainly because I always fear to overcook shrimp. Once it turns pink and curls up, it’s done. Do not overcook it to taste like rubber.
The Key Ingredient for this dish is bottle gourd and a good quality will make all the difference.
When you buy, look for pale green smooth skin. It should feel firm and shouldn’t have any blemishes on the skin.
Tender bottle gourds taste the best. When you cut open the bottle gourd, if the seeds looks too big and almost comes out, then definitely discard the center portion as it might not taste that good.
Lau Chingri is a easy summer dish that is light on the tummy and super quick to prepare.