Chingri Malaikari (Prawns cooked in Coconut
Milk)…another quintessential Bong dish…and the one that I am addicted to,
because it requires minimal effort and the results are fabulous…sooooo, have I
ever told you that both papa and baba (my father and father-in-law, both men of
completely different personalities) think that in my previous life I was a
Bengali and ours is a match made in heaven based on the gusto with which I
devour prawns…small, medium, large...I see them and the drool starts…and the
greedy ‘lil’ me often dreams about them as well…and if you think I am crazy,
don’t worry you are not the only one!!!...and btw, I am not the only one because
hubz is the same…soooo, not just a match made in heaven but Prawn Heaven!!!
Chingri Malaikari (Prawns cooked in Coconut Milk)
- Prawns/Shrimps, Large, 500 gms (peeled or unpeeled, can (and should) leave head on better flavor)
- Onion, finely grated or made into a paste in the grinder, 1 large
- Fresh Ginger, finely grated or made into a paste in the grinder, 1 tbsp
- Green Cardamoms, 3-4
- Cloves, 5-6
- Cinnamon, 1” stick
- Bay leaf, 2-3
- Turmeric powder, ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder, 1 tsp or to taste
- Sugar, ½ tsp
- Salt, to taste
- Green chilies, slit, 2-3
- Coconut Milk, about 1 ½ to 2 cups of thick coconut milk ( if using canned coconut milk, you can add a couple of tbsp of coconut cream in it)
- Oil, 3 tbsp (ideally made with mustard oil but you can use any oil of your choice)
- Ghee/ Clarified Butter, 1 tsp (optional)
First things first: there are two reason why you don’t see the heads in there (a) malai curry was not in the plan for the day and had got heads removed earlier when buying (b) was serving it people who are slightly icky about seeing prawns heads.
The taste of the curry is better when heads are used and so is the colour – the heads impart this beautiful reddish orange colour to the curry. That said, this curry is brilliant without using the heads as well.
Clean, wash and pat dry the prawns. Marinate with turmeric powder, some salt and ½ tsp of red chili powder. Keep aside for about half an hour.
Heat oil in a pan and lightly sauté the prawns for about 2-3 minutes. Strain and keep aside.
In the same pan, add in the green cardamoms, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon. Once the spices crackle, lower the heat and add in the onion paste.
Fry the onion paste on low till the raw smell and taste disappears but ensure that it doesn’t turn brown.
Add in the ginger paste and fry for a minute or so. Add in the balance red chili powder, sugar and fry for a minute or so.
Now add in the coconut milk and salt.
Mix well and let it come to a slow boil, about 5 – 6 minutes.
Add in the prawns and green chilies. Mix well and let the prawns cook in the coconut milk for about 5 –7 minutes. DO NOT overcook the prawns.
Add in the ghee if using and take it off the stove.
Serve with plain basmati rice.
Update March 2015: the colour and look of the curry with heads and shell left on jumbo prawns.