Prawn Cocktail, Mocambo-Style
It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out why a Marie Rose sauce with a generous sprinkling of chingri machh is so popular in Calcutta.
[In this series, we tip our hats to some of our favourite dishes available in the restaurants, cafés, and cabins of Calcutta. Our purpose in doing so is to document their existence, and give people a way to recreate them if they happen to live away from the city. Make these at home, or hunt them down from the source—irrespective of how you get your hands on these items, we hope you enjoy them.]
This is a cool, refreshing, satisfying prawn cocktail, inspired by the item on the Mocambo menu. It essentially comprises flavourful, juicy prawns (boiled in an aromatic court bouillon), coated with a delicious, sharp, punchy Marie Rose (cocktail) sauce.
COOKING TIME 20 minutes
YIELDS 2 servings
|10 pieces||Prawns (shelled, deveined, beheaded)|
|1 piece||Bay leaf|
|2 tsp||Horseradish (optional)|
|1 tsp||Worcestershire sauce|
|5 drops||Tabasco sauce|
|1 tbsp||Heavy cream|
|1 pinch||Paprika (optional)|
|1 tsp||Whiskey or brandy (optional)|
- Scissors (to clean and devein the prawns)
- Saucepan with lid
- Mixing bowl
- Before you begin, place a clean, empty plate in the freezer to chill.
- Start by cleaning and deveining the prawns. We don’t need the heads for this dish, so remove them. You may keep the tails for presentation, but you can also get rid of them if you like.
- Now, in a saucepan, add a slice of onion, three slices of lemon, a bay leaf, a sprig of parsley, and ½ tsp of salt. Fill the pot with 4-cm-deep water, cover, and set it to boil. Let everything bubble for 5 minutes. This will form a court bouillon, which is an aromatic poaching liquid.
- Add the prawns to this liquid and poach them for no more than 2 minutes. Cooking the prawns for longer than this time will make them chewy. Transfer immediately to the plate we chilled earlier and put it back in the refrigerator to cool.
- It’s time now to make the Marie Rose sauce. In a whisking bowl, add the mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, cream, salt, pepper, paprika, juice of half a lemon, and whiskey. Mix them together till they are well combined.
- Add the poached and chilled prawns to the cocktail sauce and fold them in.
- Serve chilled, in cocktail glasses, over ice, if possible.