This authentic and iconic Bengali Chingri Malai Curry is made with prawns. In this dish, the size of the prawn plays a very important role. Both Tiger prawn (Bagda Chingri) and giant freshwater prawn (Galda chingri) along with the head of the prawn brings an unparalleled unique depth to the classic yet rich Bengali prawn curry. The smooth and creamy texture yet light gravy is flavored with whole spices and green chili and ginger paste. Cooked in mustard oil and ghee.
“Malakari” is actually ‘Malay’ curry as it made its way into Bengali kitchens through contact with Malaysian traders and over-time transliterated as ‘Malai’ curry. As a child, I was told Malai means cream from the coconut milk base in which the prawns are cooked.
This is one of the all-time favorite Bengali dishes, reserved for special guests, big celebrations and weddings.
- 250 grams. Prawns
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 green chilies (slit lengthways)
- ½ tsp. Cardamom powder
- 1 tsp. Ginger paste
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 1 tsp. Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. Cumin powder
- ½ cup of coconut milk
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- 2 tbsp. Mustard oil
- 2 tbsp. Ghee (clarified butter)
- Salt to taste
- Blend the onion to a fine paste along with one green chili and keep aside.
- Season the prawns with salt and turmeric.
- Heat oil in a pan and sear the prawn for about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp.of ghee in the same pan and bay leaf along with the onion paste and cook for 5-7 minutes or until light brown.
- Add cumin powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste with 2 tbsp.water and keep stirring and cook until the raw smell goes off or turn brown.
- Stir in salt, green chilies and prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Mix the coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked. Adjust the seasoning and add sugar, sprinkle over the cardamom powder and ghee.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.