Puishak chingri is a part of the Bengali cuisine that lacks the glamor and fame. But dishes like these are the vast majority of Bengali cuisine and build up the essence of Bengali food. As much as we think we would love to eat Polao and Biryani everyday, we as a nation can’t. When it comes to food, we have to embrace the simple dishes in our daily life to let the likes of Khichuri, Polao, Roast take the spotlight on special occasions.

Puishak chingri or Malabar spinach and shrimp is a dish best enjoyed with boiled rice (bhaat). The dish is in the heart of Bengali cuisine. The rural Bengal, where most of the traditional Bengali dishes come from, did not have access to meat or high end fishes due to socio-economic reasons. So most of their day to day food items consist of things easily available to them, such as different vegetables like Shak.

A rough translation of Shak would be green leafy vegetables. I cannot think of anything that every Shak has in common, apart from their green and leafy look. But even then there is the exception of Lalshak (red amaranth) which has red leaves. So you can see that Shaks are of quite a diverse variety. There are jute leaves or pat shak that have a mild flavor. Lalshak has a softer, slightly bitter yet sweet taste. Puishak or Malabar spinach has vines that are cut into small pieces and cooked with the leaves of the vegetable.

Puishak-ChingriBangladesh has favorable weather and soil conditions to grow a plethora of different leafy vegetables and the rural people took full advantage of it. They came up with so many unique dishes, mixing and matching these vegetables with fish, meat, and all sorts of other vegetables. But these dishes never got international fame or the favor of the newer generation.

On a normal day a Bengali dining table will have some kind of vegetable on it. But with time and generation the consumption of Shak is decreasing. Because my generation tends to not like or totally skip Shak during meal time. One of my friends says that they would turn their whole life around rather than eating any vegetables. They don’t even like good vegetables like cauliflower, so enjoying Shak is pretty far-fetched. I also put on a long face after I come home at night to find Shak waiting for me at the table.

This lack of popularity translates into the restaurants as well. The most common and easily accessible place to hangout in Dhaka is one of the many many restaurants. And since the average restaurant goer will always order something with meat or fish in it, rather than vegetable or Shak, most restaurants do not serve any kind of Shak. Even restaurants that are offering Bengali style lunch or dinner usually opt into the more popular dishes like Bhorta, Daal (Lentil Soup), different fish and meat curry etc. There might be some dishes that have Shak in them, but the vegetables are never under the spotlight.

So Puishak chingri, this truly Bengali dish can only be found and properly enjoyed inside a Bengali household. On a hot summer day, with hot boiled rice Puishak chingri is served and enjoyed. The presence of chringri or shrimp enhances the rather dull taste of the Puishak. It also encourages children to eat the dish because it has not only vegetables but also shrimps in it, and everyone loves shrimps.

Puishak chingri is also a rather soupy dish, the soupy part holds the flavor of shrimp, Puishak, and for this recipe sweet pumpkin. Moni dadi added sweet pumpkin in the recipe, while some people prefer adding both potatoes and sweet pumpkin.

Working on this dish really made me appreciate what I am doing, digitalizing Bengali dishes that people might not have ever heard of. The dishes Moni Dadi wrote down are a huge part of Bengali culture and showing them the light of the internet truly feels special sometimes.


Puishak Chingri

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


Puishak Chingri Ingredients


  • Fry some chopped onion until brown.
  • Then add garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli according to taste.
  • Next add the shrimp, malabar spinach and sweet pumpkin.
  • Stir it for a while.
  • Then cover it with a lid until it's boiled.
  • Ready to serve.
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