Chingri Malai Curry – Bengali Prawns Malai Curry
May 9, 2015 Posted by Shweta Shanbhag
Chingri Malai Curry is one dish which I fell in love with during my stint in Kolkata. This dish comes very close to the Konkani flavors with fish and coconut being used and probably thats why it suited my taste buds.
While reading about this recipe online, I came across an interesting theory that Malai in the dish probably stands for Malay and denotes the influence of Malay sailors who used to come to the port of Kolkata for trade. Now that I read about it, it does look probable because this dish is so different from any other Bengali dish.
Recently tried this dish again here at Oh Calcutta and then again at my colleagues place and decided that I needed to learn to cook this one.
Here is my recipe of this lip smacking Bong Curry.
500 gms prawns
2 onions finely chopped
3-4 slit green chillies
100 gms coconut paste
1 1/2 tsp mustard paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 cardamoms /elaichi
1 bay leaf/tej patta
1 inch dalchini/ cinnamon
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp of raisin
- Clean the prawns. I removed the shells and the head but kept the tails on butterflied all of them. For the curry, I used some prawn heads for added taste. I could only manage small prawns but you can also try this dish with larger prawns
- If you don’t have mustard paste, Soak 1 1/2 tsp mustard in water for 30 mins. Grind it and make a fine paste and keep aside.
Soak 2 tsp of raisins in water for 30 mins and grind it to a paste and keep aside.
- Apply 1/2 tsp of turmeric and salt and keep aside for 15 mins.
- Take 2 tsp of mustard oil and heat it to smoking point in a pan ( heating it to the right temperature is absolutely essential to remove the raw flavor of the oil).
- Add the prawns lightly to this oil and cover with a lid to avoid oil from spluttering about your kitchen. Simmer the gas for 3-4 mins and then drain out the prawns. Prawns should be 60-70% done by now. Keep aside
- In the same pan, add 2 tsp ghee and when hot, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 3-4 cardamoms, 1 bay leaf, 1 inch cinnamon and 1 tsp chilli flakes. Saute till cumin seeds turn brown.
- Next add 2 finely chopped onions, pinch of salt and saute till golden brown.
- Add 3-4 slit green chillies – you can add more if you like a mean spicy curry.
- Add 1 1/2 tsp mustard paste, 1 tsp ginger paste and 1 tsp garlic paste and saute till the raw taste goes away.
- Next add 100 gms of coconut paste and raisin paste and saute again. Add pinch of turmeric, cumin powder
- At this point I added 1 tbsp of tomato puree though I am not sure its part of the original recipe. Saute everything well for another 10 mins on low gas till the curry is done.
- Add the fried prawns to the curry and mix well. Adjust the salt. Add 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp sugar and mix well. Cover and cook in the steam for 5 mins.
- Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and a dollop of ghee and serve with rice. You can add some fresh lemon juice for added flavor while serving.
Note: You can replace Coconut paste with Coconut milk if you like a smoother gravy.
Use Gondhoraj Rice if you can lay your hands on it. Goes perfectly with this dish. Basmati comes a close second.