Chingri Malaikari (Prawns cooked with coconut milk)


Chingri malaikari – a classic Bengali delicacy in which prawns are cooked along with coconut milk and spices.

There are different opinions on the origin of the name malaikari. Some say this dish originated in Malaysia (similar to Laksa) and hence the name malaikari (Malay-Curry). But most likely it’s the creamy texture of the curry that gave it the name. Malai means cream, and malaikari (or malai-curry) is a creamy curry. Juicy, melt in the mouth prawns in a delicious mild creamy curry is a sure shot winner, no matter what you call it. Serve it with hot steamed rice for a perfect indulgent meal.


prawn-malaikari

 

Ingredients:

Whole prawns – 500 grams
Coconut milk – 1 cup
Poppy seeds – 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
Green chilli – 4-5 or as per taste
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Ginger – ¼ inch piece, grated

Method:

  1. Wash the prawns thoroughly. Remove shell keeping the head intact. De-vein the prawns and set aside. Click here for instructions on how to clean prawns
  2. Grind poppy seeds into a fine powder in a coffee grinder
  3. Grind together grated coconut, poppy seeds powder, ginger, half of the green chillies into a smooth paste using some water
  4. Coarsely grind the mustard seeds in a mortar pestle
  5. Mix together the ground paste, mustard seeds, mustard oil, remaining green chilli, turmeric and salt. Marinate the prawns with this mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator
  6. In a large fry pan / kadhai, add the marinated prawns, coconut milk and ½ cup water
  7. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Tightly cover and simmer on very low flame for at least 30 minutes making sure the prawns are completely covered in the liquid. Add some water if the liquid dries up
  8. Serve hot with steamed rice

Notes:

  • You may soak the poppy seeds in water and grind it into a paste instead of using coffee grinder – you will need an Indian mixer grinder though
  • The mustard must be ground separately otherwise it will turn bitter
  • It is essential to cook the curry for a longer time to get all the flavours of the prawn head into the curry. The prawns will remain soft as long as they are covered in the gravy.
  • If you want to reduce the gravy further, take out all the prawns, reduce the gravy and add the prawns back at the end of the cook
  • If coconut milk is not available, grind together 1 cups freshly grated coconut with 1/2 cup luke warm water. Pass it through a seive and extract milk. Repeat 2-3 times until you get enough coconut milk

 

Juicy tender prawns in mild coconut curry

Juicy tender prawns in mild coconut curry

 

Grind coconut, poppy seeds, green chilli into smooth paste

Grind coconut, poppy seeds, green chilli into smooth paste

 

prawn malaikari6

Coarsely grind mustard seeds

 

Marinate the prawns

Marinate the prawns

 

Cook marinated prawns with coconut milk

Cook marinated prawns with coconut milk

 

prawn malaikari

Serve chingri malaikari with steamed rice