Undoubtedly, Chingri Maacher Malai Curry or Chingri Malai Curry is among one of my favourite Bengali dishes. A curry cooked with Chingri Mach (a common Bengali term used for lobsters, prawns or shrimps) is generally a part of the Bengali menu, especially on occasions.
Some believe that this dish has a Malaysian influence and the early version of the recipe might have been bought by Malaysian sailors to the Bay of Bengal, many years ago. The word “Malai” is actually “Malay”, meaning Malaysian. The use of coconut paste or milk in curries across Asia is one common thread among the cuisines. Interestingly, Malai in Hindi means “milk cream”, but the dish doesn’t use milk cream. So, it leaves you to interpret!
Different Bengali families use slightly (and sometimes, hugely) different recipes. Mustard oil is the most recommended oil, as it adds great flavor to this dish, but if you don’t find this oil, replace with any good oil with high smoking point.
Chingdi Maacher Malai Curry
Would love to know what you think of this curry which brings various childhood memories to me. Happy Cooking!
Chingdi Maacher Malai Curry (Bengali Style Prawns)
Marinate the clean prawns with some salt and pinch of turmeric powder for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile using onion, grated coconut, ginger, garlic paste and tomatoes, very little water blend it into a smooth paste.
In a pan, add 1tbsp oil and add the prawns and shallow fry them for 5 minutes and transfer them to a plate and let it rest.
In the same pan, add remaining oil and once hot, temper cumin seeds. Saute for 20 seconds and then add the onion-coconut paste prepared earlier.
Saute everything on a medium flame till the paste comes together. It should get denser and that's when you know the onion and coconut and rest are cooked.
Add all the ground spices now - turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and them it simmer for 5 minutes on medium flame.
Now add the shallow fried prawns and mix everything well. Check for seasoning (remember that the prawns were marinated using salt).
Add coconut milk and if required little water. Simmer everything for 10 mins under a cover and medium flame.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with plain steamed rice.
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