Chilka is a large, shallow, brackish, estuarine lake located at the mouth of the Daya river where it pours it's water into the Bay of Bengal on the eastern sea board of India. Located to the south of the holy city of Puri, the aboard of Lord Jagannath, Chilka is a fascinating ecosystem that is the home to Irawaddy Dolphins, migratory birds and -what is of current interest to us -a world of seafood in the shape of prawns, lobsters and crabs.
After paying the obligatory obisance to the Lord at Puri many gastronomically inclined pilgrims very often make an additional pilgrimage to Chilka to delight in and savour the enormous variety of seafood that is available at small shack like food joint that dot the shores of the lake and the estuarine sand bars.
There are two types of food joints.. the first type located on the shore serve truly gigantic crabs and lobsters cooked in authentic Odhisa style and served hot with rice but the more adventurous tourists might consider taking a ride for going to the extreme edge where the river finally meets the sea and look for the freshly landed catch of not just prawns but also many other types of fish like pomfret, sardin etc. that are dressed and cooked under the open skies and in tiny charcoal fired ovens on the shore.
If you delight in seafood then this is where you must be.
Recipe of Chingri @ Chilka as it was cooked instantly by one of the shack owners on the shore is as follows:
- Heat mustard oil in a wok on high heat
- Add finely chopped onion, tomato and green chillies into it.
- Then add thoroughly cleaned and washed Chingri ( Shrimps) into the mixture.
- Add salt and stir fry together till no water is left in the wok.
- Serve hot with chilled beer .