Chingri Malaikari (Prawn with coconut curry) is among popular dishes in Bengali cuisine; it is truly un-necessary to say that we Bengalis madly fish lovers and happily enjoys this dish without any occasion, rather they need any excuse to eat this regal dish.
This is a kind of weekend dish also prepared in any good occasion like “Bengali Nababarsha” , “Durga puja festival” or on Birthdays and Marriage parties.
“Chingri mach” is the Bengali term used for lobsters, prawns or shrimps. This dish specially cooked with coconut milk and obviously prawns, irrespective of the size of prawns like jumbo, medium or small.
There is not any particular version of Chingri Malaikari. Someone can prepare using cumin powder or coriander powder with the onion ginger garlic paste also. But the ingredient without which this dish is incomplete is the coconut milk or grated coconut. Grated coconut makes the curry more thick, though here I liked to use coconut milk.
If we find out the history of this authentic dish, we find it came from Malaysia and that’s why it is incomplete without coconut as coconut is main ingredients in that cuisine. And the spelling “Malay” gradually evolved in to “malai” which is used as “prawn malai curry”. So have a try this fabulous Bengali recipe.
· Prawn(Moderate to Big sized)- 12 pieces
· Onion-ginger-garlic paste -1/2 cup or heaped 2 ½ tbsp.
(Make a fine paste in blender taking one medium sized onion, 1’’ piece ginger, 8-10 pods garlic and 2 green chilies)
· Chopped onion -1 small size.
· Coconut milk of half coconut (I used homemade) -1 small glass.
· Yogurt-1/2 cup.
· Whole garam masala – cardamom (2 no), Cinnamon (1’’ stick), Clove(2-3 no)
· Garam masala powder-1/4 tsp. (using only cardamom, cinnamon and clove)
· Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp.
· Kashmiri red chili powder-1 tsp.
· Salt to taste
· Sugar-1 tsp.
· White oil- 3 tbsp.
· Ghee- 1 tsp.
· Bay leaves-2 no
· Green chili slices-2 no.
· For making coconut milk take grated coconut in blender. Add ½ a cup of hot water in it. Blend well. Put this coconut paste in a muslin cloth .strain it .Put a container just below the cloth. Get white fresh coconut milk.
· In a small container add turmeric and red chili powder. Pour 2 tsp. of water and mix well. Keep aside.
· Wash and clean Prawns (chingri). Then insert tooth pick into it .It helps to keep its size intact.
· Take oil and ½ tsp. of ghee in a kadai.
· Sauté Prawns in medium hot oil. When you put prawns in oil, within 3-4 sec it will change its colour into red .Then remove from heat and keep aside.
· Into the remaining oil add whole garam masala and bay leaves. When it starts to spluttering add chopped onion.
· Cook for 2 minutes till the colour become pink colour. Then add onion-ginger- garlic paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes until it became light brown.
· Now add turmeric-red chili paste in to it .Mix well. Cook till the oil is floating on top.
· Next add beaten yogurt, salt to taste and sugar into it. Mix and cook for another 30 seconds.
· Pour coconut milk and green chili slices.
· When it starts to boil add prawns in it. You can use ¼ cup of hot water according to required gravy.
· Let it boil for 10-12 minutes in low flame covering lid.
(note: Over boiling will hard the prawns)
· After that time getting off the gas flame adds garam masala powder and rest ½ tsp. of ghee.
· Finally with lid give a standing time for 5 minutes.
· Serve hot with steamed rice or any fried rice as you wish.