Bengali Style Lima Bean and Shrimp
A rich and tasty side dish for your South East Asian feast
This Bengali style Lima Bean and Shrimp dish called “Chingri Diye Sim Er Bichi” is one that my wife grew up eating and has now become one of my favorites. It’s generally served as a side dish along with lentils, rice and a variety of curries. It is rich in flavor but only requires a few ingredients and is very quick and simple to make. Next week, I’ll be adding one of the main dishes that we usually serve with it so stay tuned.
Place a small sauté pan over medium heat. Sprinkle cumin seeds inside. Swirl around the pan for a couple minutes or until fragrant and toasted to a golden brown color. Marinade the shrimp with ¼ teaspoon turmeric and half a teaspoon of salt. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium head. Add 1 tablespoon mustard oil and the shrimp once the oil is hot (but not smoking). Cook for one minute on each side and remove all shrimp. Set shrimp aside to be added later on.
In the same sauce pot over medium heat, add the remaining mustard oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots, coriander, chili powder, ½ teaspoon of salt and ground cumin (not the toasted seeds). Sweat the onions with the spices until soft, about 7 minutes.
Add the lima beans to the onion mixture and just enough water to cover the beans. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid turns into a sauce. Add the shrimp back inside with the beans and stir. Add your toasted/coarsely ground cumin seed. Cook for 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat.
Add the chopped cilantro and stir. Taste for desired saltiness and chili level. Add a sprinkle of both if necessary. Spoon everything into a medium or large serving bowl and dive in.
You can add a bit more water to the pot and let it simmer for a minute or two if you want your dish to be a little more saucy. Just be sure to taste for salt before and after.
Serve alongside basmati/jasmine rice, daal (lentil), and your favorite curry dishes.