Bus Shorts, Bangladesh: Shrimp with coconut cream


When I got to the bus stop, he looked up and scooted over, making room for me on the bench. “We’re both old”, he said, “We need to watch out for each other.” Soon, we both scooted over, making room for a young woman who joined our bus wait. He looked at me and shrugged.

His name was Zamir, his son brought him to this country two years ago from Bangladesh. He was unsure about transferring to a northbound bus that would take him close to a Pakistani market on Truxel. He was teaching his young daughter-in-law  how to make his wife’s Pakistani shrimp and needed some Kashmiri chili powder.

“That would be the #11”, said the young woman squeezed in between Zamir and me. “I’m taking that bus too”, she said, “Just follow me”.

As I was also taking the #11, we sat together on the bus, exited as a group, walked up the sidewalk to the next bus stop, waited on another bench, and boarded together. Zamir spoke careful English, pausing to find the right words, pleased to be able to practice. He misses warm weather, wishes his wife were alive, enjoys American sports, is amazed that women in America can drive and have jobs, just got his Green Card and hopes to work soon.

Zamir, the young woman, and I boarded the #11, paid our fares, sat on the side bench, and watched carefully for his stop. He walked down the steps, turned around, smiled, and waved.

The young woman and I got off a few stops later and went our separate ways.

A few hours later, I got on the #11, bound for home. The young woman boarded before me, head down, eyes on her phone. Zamir smiled broadly as he boarded two stops later, joining me on a side bench and waving to our fellow traveler. We stayed together for our reverse trip, all getting off at the same stop.

“See you next time”, Zamir said. I like making bus friends.

Chingri Malaikari

Shrimp with coconut cream (Chingri Malaikari)

  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 small green chilies, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 5-6 coriander leaves (for garnishing)

Clean the shrimp and marinate with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Grind cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and bay leaf in pestle or spice grinder.

Sauté the shrimp in hot oil, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and reserve.

Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and chilies in hot oil-4-5 minutes. Add ground spice mixture, garam masala, chili powder, sugar, and remaining turmeric.

Add coconut cream and 1/2 cup of water and bring it to boil.

Let mixture reduce and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add sautéed shrimp to cream mixture.  Garnish it with coriander leaves.

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2 Responses to Bus Shorts, Bangladesh: Shrimp with coconut cream

  1. Marilyn Goebel says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t go to the Pakistani Market with him! Maybe next time. Very sweet story, and by the way, Fritz is making shrimp curry tonight – yum!

  2. Kathy Sullivan says:

    Great story!

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