Inspired by Malay flavours, ‘malai’-kari is an iconic Bengali prawn recipe made using giant tiger or freshwater prawns and fresh, creamy coconut milk.
Chingri malaikari is an iconic Bengali prawn curry made by cooking large tiger prawns (bagda chingri) or giant freshwater prawns (golda chingri) in a super-subtle, super-creamy coconut-milk sauce. Don’t be fooled by the elegant appearance of this well-loved Bengali treat—chingri malaikari is looks deceptively complicated to cook, when in reality it is easier to make than even chicken or egg curry!
The name of this chingri macher recipe bears somewhat of a double meaning. ‘Malai’ meaning ‘cream’ recalls the coconut-milk base in which the prawns are cooked. However, this prawn recipe seems to have made its way into Bengali kitchens through contact with Malaysian traders; so ‘malaikari’ is actually ‘Malay’ curry, over time transliterated as ‘malai’ curry.
In this detailed video we show you how to prepare a gorgeous, creamy chingri malaikari, starting from a walkthrough of how you can clean and devein giant tiger (bagda) or freshwater (golda) prawns. With this step by step recipe video at your disposal, there is no reason why you should hop over to you nearest Bhojohori Manna to satiate your chingri malaikari cravings!
COOKING TIME 40 minutes
YIELDS 6 servings
CALORIES 292 kcal per serving
|1 kg||Bagda or golda chingri (giant tiger or freshwater prawns)|
|50 g||Vegetable oil|
|200 g||Onion paste|
|20 g||Ginger paste|
|1 tsp||Kashmiri red chilli powder|
|6 pcs||Green chillies|
|300 g||Coconut milk (first-press)|
|200 g||Coconut milk (second-press)|
|½ tsp||Bengali garam masala|
- Mixing bowl
- Scissors | paring knife (for shelling and deveining the prawns)
- Kadai | wok (with lid)
- Khunti | long spatula
- Shell and devein the prawns, leaving the flavourful head intact. You may remove the stomach of the prawn, located near its head. We are leaving the shells on, but you may peel them off if you like.
- Coat prawns with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric powder, and set aside.
- In a grinder jar, add onions and blitz them to a fine paste. Also extract coconut milk, reserving the first-press (thick) and second-press (thinner) milk in separate jars, and keep it ready.
- Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Once hot, lower the prawns one by one, and fry them in batches for about 45 seconds on each side. The longer you cook prawns the tougher they’ll become, so remove them from the heat immediately and set aside.
- Now add ghee to the residual oil. Temper with dried red chillies, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.
- Add onion paste along with sugar, and fry for about 8 minutes until the onions are brown.
- Add ginger paste and fry for another 3–4 minutes, after which add turmeric and kashmiri red chilli powder. Stir intermittently so that the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When they do, add a splash of the thin, second-press coconut milk to loosen the mixture up and help fry it. Also add three slit green chillies and salt now.
- Once oil starts separating from the spices, beat the yoghurt until it is lump free and add it to the pan. Drop the heat and stir vigorously to prevent the yoghurt from splitting. Cook it for 3–4 minutes.
- Add the second-press (thin) coconut milk and simmer for about 2 minutes before adding the first-press (thick) coconut milk. Once it comes to a boil, add the fried prawns.
- Allow the prawns to bubble in the curry, covered, for no more than 5 minutes.
- Finish off with garam masala before serving.