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Wah, this challenge couldn't come at a worst time -- my dietitian's forbidden me onions for this month! But I wanted to share this recipe with y'all because onions are so important and I love them a lot. Like the holy trinity in Creole food, onions are also essential to Bengali cooking (along with ginger and garlic.) Growing up, I would watch my grandmother make chingri dopiaza on special occasions -- though onions are the definition of everyday food, shrimp can get expensive.

I think in Bangladesh, they used prawns in this recipe, but in the US, I use shrimp because that's what's easily available. (Please don't put me on the spot about the differences between shrimp and prawns -- I know there are physical differences, but there's also the divided by a common language thing.)



Serves: Four
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes

Equipment:
- Stove
- A dependable skillet or fry pan (I use my cast iron skillet if I remember that I have it.)
- A chopping board.
- Bowls.
- A sharp knife

Ingredients:
- A pound (or less) of peeled & deveined shrimp (the less shrimp you have, the more you can bulk up on the onions.)
- 2-4 medium onions, washed and peeled, with the ends cut off. (See above! I actually use about four onions here, but the more you have, the longer the cook time will be.)
- 1 teaspoon garlic-ginger paste (optional)
- Thai chilies to taste
- A teaspoon each of turmeric, red chili powder, cumin and half a teaspoon of coriander powder. (You can swap out the spices that works best for you. I usually use turmeric + chili powder + cumin for most of my Indian cooking and don't use garam masala at all for fish.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Your choice of oil, 2 tablespoons. (I tend to use canola.)
- Cilantro (or flat Italian parsley) for garnish.

Method
1. I've got no sure-fire way to avoid getting teary-eyed from chopping onions, but I like to get that out of the way first. Be strong. My grandmother always said that the thinner you slice something, the more flavorful the end result, but that could have been a trick to stop me from crying all over chopping board. But I usually cut them in half and then slice as thinly as I can, cutting away from my fingers. Put the sliced onions aside in a bowl.

2. Heat up your skillet on the stove, and then add enough oil to cover the bottom, reserving some for later. Add your sliced onions in as soon as the oil is hot. Allow the onions to cook down to a golden-brown color before adding the salt and pepper, as well as the spices and garlic ginger paste. Add some water if you think the onions are cooking too fast. Stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover. The idea isn't to completely breakdown the structure of the onions, but to preserve some of their texture. Add additional oil if necessary.

3. As soon onions and spices have cooked through, add the shrimp and a cup of water if needed. Stir in the shrimp -- this is the quickest part of the recipe, since the shrimp will not take long to cook. Once it has done soon, sprinkle chopped cilantro and sliced chilies over the the shrimp and take off the heat.

4. Serve immediately, over rice.

I'd love to see any photos you take, if you try this out. :)
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