August 26, 2013

The simple Odia classic - "Chingudi Dahi Besara"/ Steamed yogurt and mustard shrimp curry

Before I begin, I must admit that this post is sure going to have a counter for the word “simple” and might even break the records - the only reason being that this recipe is truly-that-SIMPLE. Being an iconic Odia dish, time and again this preparation would accompany a few more curried dishes on our lunch/dinner table but still manage to hold its place impressively well. Fresh shrimp marinated with yogurt-mustard paste and steamed till the shrimp is melt-in-the-mouth tender does indeed sound like a very good proposition. While “good” shrimp and fish curries are relatively easy to find at the restaurants, rarely have I seen this preparation on any of the restaurant menus here at all and that makes me very sad every time.

Time and again my Ma would prepare this shrimp curry and I would be blown away every single time. Honestly I have been craving for this recipe for a long while now and what better opportunity than to learn from the in-home chef a.k.a my Ma when she was visiting me. So it was quite predictable that I would make fervent demands of this mouth- watering shrimp preparation time and again, while my Ma was more than happy to oblige. But as lazy as I got when she was around, I did manage to learn and demonstrate it to her that all these days apart from being a lazy couch potato, I have indeed been a very good student J.

Quite often in simple preparations like this, it’s not the recipe, but the other simple ways and nuances of its preparation that really counts. Fresh cleaned and deveined shrimp forms the perfect canvass for the distinct mustard flavor and the creaminess of the yogurt to come through. The pungency of the mustard paste mellows down during the steaming and blends in with the accompanying condiments. I have had several versions of this preparation but I am sure to be biased when I say that my Ma’s recipe always tastes the best. The mustard paste and the mustard oil add a distinctive punch to this creamy dish tempered with curry leaves and yet again some more mustard seeds. Now without much ado, here’s our home-style creamy and yes very simple “Chingudi dahi besara”.  

"Chingudi Dahi Besara" a.k.a Steamed yogurt and mustard shrimp curry

This classic Odia steamed shrimp preparation combines the creaminess & tartness of the yogurt with distinctly sharp homemade mustard marinade. This melt-in-your-mouth shrimp curry jumps up a notch with the tempering of curry leaves, slivered garlic and of course some more mustard seeds. "Besara" refers to the mustard paste along with the condiments.

1 lb Cleaned and deveined shrimp
2 T Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds/ Jeera
4-5 Cloves of garlic
½ Onion
2-3 Green chillies
3 T Yogurt
2 T Mustard oil
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar.

For the tempering:
½ T mustard oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 Cloves Garlic (Slivered)
2-3 Green chillies slit
4-5 Curry leaves

1. Wash and drain the shrimp and keep aside.
2. Grind the mustard and the cumin to a fine powder.
3. Then add in the garlic, onion and green chillies and make a smooth paste.
4. Pour the paste out in a bowl and mix in the yogurt and the mustard oil along with the washed shrimp.
5. Let it marinate for about an hour.
6. Prepare a steamer. It can be prepared two of the following ways:
i. Pour water in a deep bottomed vessel and place a rack at the top such that the water does not touch the vessel when its kept on the rack. Cover and cook for about 7-8 minutes.
ii. Add water to a pressure cooker then place the vessel containing the fish inside the cooker. Cook for about 1-2 whistles.
7.Temper the prepared dish with a tempering of mustard oil, mustard seeds , green chillies and curry leaves.
8.Boil the curry for 1-2 mins and serve hot with rice.

Try this out and you too can vouch that this dish indeed very simple!!

Until next time,



I am submitting this recipe to:
- "Taste of tropics" hosted by Nandoo's Kitchen and Chef Mirelle.
- "Side dish mela" hosted by Valli
- "Let's Cook with yoghurt" hosted by Nayna


  1. Looks divine :)
    Yummy and delicious recipe
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  2. looks heavenly and everything looks perfect for this the colour the texture and the want to have it now.

  3. manaswini samantarayAugust 27, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    hi jagruti where are you now a days ??????????????

  4. Beautiful dish. Now I've worked up an appetite!

  5. Looks great! Just wondering if the shrimp does not get tough while cooking it that long?

    1. Hi Monalisa..that's a great question!..usually when shrimp is cooked on direct heat for ~7 minutes, it gets tough and rubbery, but since this dish is steamed it needs that long to cook through and remain melt-in-the-mouth soft.


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