Being an avid prawn lover, if there is one prawn recipe which I can have all day without any complain, then that has to be my authentic Bengali prawn aka chingri malaikari!
Chingri malaikari is a classic Bengali dish which has been passed from generations to generations and I am sure the tradition will continue till eternity! The reason being the amazing taste of this authentic Bengali recipe which is easy to cook and a definite crowd pleaser!
Being a prawn addict, I have shared enumerable prawn recipes in this blog as well as on my other blog ‘Flavor Quotient’; but this chingri malaikari has a very special place in my heart simply because this is one such recipe which I have been eating since I born and was an integral part of celebration during my growing up years!
Now let’s decode the name of this dish – chingri malaikari. Chingri is prawn and malaikari is actually a combined word consisting of malai & curry where malai means creamy. So essentially chingri malaikari is nothing but a creamy curry of prawns.
The best part of chingri malaikari is the creamy & luscious gravy which is made of a magic ingredient and that is coconut milk! Thick coconut milk not only adds creaminess but also adds immense flavor to chingri malaikari which is beautifully complemented by whole spices.
Green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, which could also be termed as magic trio, are very essential spices in this recipe of chingri malaikari. When you temper the hot oil with these whole spices, they infuse the oil with magnificent flavors and take the flavor quotient of the dish to a different level.
You may also add bay leaves if you have it handy. The little amount of curd added to the dish while sautéing spices balances the sweetness of coconut milk and rounds up the flavor. The gravy leaves a pleasant aftertaste for long after the meal which will make you crave for chingri malaikari more than ever.
Coming to the type of prawns to be used for chingri malaikari – traditionally a special type of jumbo prawns which we also call ‘Gawlda chingri’ in Bengali, are used for making this dish. But I could not get my hands on them, so I used regular jumbo prawns to make my chingri malaikari.
Chingri malaikari is best served with plain white basmati rice which tastes heavenly when mixed with the rich & velvety gravy. The succulent prawns are added bonus! Make this chingri malaikari today and enjoy a restaurant like meal at the comfort of your home!
- Jumbo prawns – 500 gms, peeled & deveined with tails intact
- Onion – 2, medium, grated or pureed
- Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves, minced
- Green chilli – 4, broken into pieces
- Mustard oil – 6 tbsp
- Green cardamom – 4 to 6
- Cloves – 4 to 6
- Cinnamon – 2-inch stick
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Thick coconut milk – 2 & ½ cups
- Curd/yogurt – ¼ cup, beaten until smooth & lump-free
- Sugar – 2 tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons of mustard oil in a wok. Once the oil is hot, add the washed and drained prawns, a pinch of salt and about half a teaspoon of grated garlic.
- Sauté the prawns for 5 minutes on medium until both the sides turn opaque. Take all the prawns out and set aside in a bowl.
- Add remaining oil to the same wok. Once the oil is hot, temper it with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Stir them lightly and let them become fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Now tip in the green chilies and minced garlic. Sauté them on low for 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic; keep the heat on low.
- Now add the grated or pureed onion. Sauté the onion for 15 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the onion has turned nice golden in color.
- Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, beaten curd, sugar and salt to taste. Stir well to mix all the spices and seasonings evenly and keep sautéing till oil starts to release.
- Now add the coconut milk and about half a cup of water. Stir the gravy slowly to let the spices dissolve in coconut milk evenly making a homogeneous mixture. Let the gravy come to a gentle simmer.
- Now add the sautéed prawns to the prepared gravy, cover the wok and let it simmer on low for just 10 minutes.
- Uncover the wok, sprinkle garam masala and give a final mix. Chingri malaikari is ready to serve with plain white basmati rice! Enjoy!