03 Jan Chingri Malai Curry( Prawns Malai Curry)
By far, one of my most favorite prawns recipe in Indian Style. A culinary delight from the eastern belt of the country , especially West Bengal and Assam, this is a celebratory dish or rather a signature dish from the gastronomy of Bengali Cuisine.
Simplistic in preparation , it is an amalgamation of just a few ingredients that lends it magic to create a wonderfully flavorful curry . A delicious mild curry cooked with the very versatile coconut milk that holds strong sophisticated flavors.The blend of the coconut milk with the juicy prawns work out a certain distinct depth of flavors that is unique .Find the juciest and the biggest prawns that you can find ,for that is what lends a depth of flavor to the thick coconut milk based gravy. Its amazing how at times the most simple ingredients can work out to such an outstanding culinary delight and yet maintain the comfort of familiar flavors. And the more simple the ingredients are, the more depth the dish acquires .
While coconut milk is mostly a part of the south indian style of cooking from the Indian cuisine, prawns malai chingri is one of the rare dishes from the bengali culinary dictionary where a dish is engulfed in coconut milk. Coconut milk rarely features in bengali cuisine except a couple of dishes , prawns being one of them.Mildly flavored, the prawns are cooked in thick pure coconut milk to arriave at a certain sweetness that screams extacy and attains a remarkable luscious personality. No other flavoring agents used unlike other cuisines, it holds strong in its own unique flavor and intensely caresses your pallate
While in south Indian cuisne or even the oriental style of cuisne where coconut milk forms an invincible factor in working out a beautiful aromatic flavor, it is mostly enhanced by adding other ingredients which together work out to a unique taste. Be it tamarind and curry leaves in south indian cuisine or kafir leaves and lemon grass in oriental cooking, they work in tandem with the coconut milk to blend and create a discerning aroma .
But this dish holds on to its flavor with the coconut milk by itself that blends beautifully with the fresh prawns and create a gastronomic delight. While the original version only calls for coconut milk and nothing else, however I like to add a little of onion tomato paste to create a bring in a little more richness to the gravy. This not only enhances the flavor but also gives a great rich color to the curry. Additionally elaborated with minimal spices, it creates the perfect curry that tickles your taste buds
Prawns- 10 to 12 big ones
onion- 1 small
tomato- half of 1 tomato
Turmeric powder- 1/4th tsp
salt-as per taste
coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
cumin powder-1/2 tsp(optional)
oil- 1 tbsp mustard oil
Thick coconut milk- 1 cup
- Frying the prawns(optional)- i like to slightly fry the prawns earlier and keep. Wash the prawns with some salt and water and keep aside for 30 mins
- marinate them in salt, turmeric powder and keep for 15 to 30 mins
- In a pan ,add oil and lightly fry the prawns till 90 % done.Keep aside
- In the same pan, add the onion and tomato , add turmeric powder, salt and coriander powder and fry till the tomatoes are mushy and cooked well
- Blend this mixture to form a paste.
- Return the mixture to the pan and add the coconut milk now. Keep covered on low flame for a while and add the prawns to the gravy
- Cover the lid and cook on slow flame until done.
Absolutely creamy ,the prawns are well bathed luxuriously in the thick coconut milk, while the onion tomato mix gives a subtle underlying tanginess that cuts through the overly sweetness of the milk. This by far brings out the best of the coconut milk in taste, flavor and signifies royal gourmet cooking at its best.The thicker the milk, the better it tastes and bends towards sophisticated aromatic flavors of the royal kitchens . While prawns are extremely easy to cook, they flare up in the gravy giving out a juicy texture that soaks in the sweetness of the milk. All you need is a bowl of plain rice and some salad by the side for a complete meal. For your house event with an Indian Buffet Theme, this delectable mild prawns curry is a perfect main course entree to woo your guests and kick off a celebration. For me this has always been the winner during a house party, am sure you will win accolades too.
If you want to look at more such fish and prawns recipes you can find them below: