Prawns, however often touted by perfectionists as a sea food not really featuring on the fish category, actually hold high status for us Bengali/Indians as a celebrated fish item and even remain as demanding as Hilsha, the undoubted queen of fishes. Prawns particularly the large ones like tiger prawn make a good dish itself while the smaller ones enhances the taste of many other dishes when used as one of the major ingredients. Today I am giving a well-known bengali recipe called “chingri macher malaikari”, which is seemingly the most popular prawn dish, where the larger prawns are soaked in coconut milk and make a proud combination of fish flesh and rich gravy.
Ingredients to serve 6 – 7 :
- Prawn (preferably king prawns) – 500 gm.
- Onion (medium) – 1
- Garlic – 2 – 3 cloves
- Ginger – 1 inch
- Tomato (medium) – 1
- Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
- Garam masala powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Whole garam masala
- Bay leaf – 2
- Thick coconut milk – 250 ml.
- Salt & sugar to taste
- Cooking oil
Wash, clean and devein the prawns. Peel the prawns but keep the shell on head and on tail. Smear salt and turmeric powder on prawns and keep aside for 20-30min.
Cut the onion and tomato into four parts. Then make a smooth paste with onion, ginger, garlic and tomato in a blender and arrange the ingredients as shown in the picture.
Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Add the prawns and fry till they start changing colour. Do not overcook the prawns, otherwise they will turn chewy and hard. Keep the fried prawns aside.
In the same pan or kadai add some more oil. Do not need to throw away the oil from fried prawns on which the fresh oil can be added. As the oil heats up, add bay leaf and whole garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves), cook till the spices release nice aroma. Then add the already made paste of ginger, garlic, onion and tomato. Cook them for 2-3 minutes, then add turmeric powder and chilli powder and cook until oil comes out from the mixture. The paste should look like the picture given below before adding the coconut milk.Now add the coconut milk and a little bit of water. As the mixture boils add salt and sugar as per your taste and then the fried prawns. Cover and cook on low-medium flame for 3-4min. do not overcook the prawns. Check seasoning, accordingly add salt and sugar. Switch off the heat. Sprinkle garam masala powder, close the lid immediately. Let it stand for 10min. Serve with steamed hot rice.
- I have used packed/canned coconut milk, which are readily available in any grocery stores. If you like you can make fresh coconut milk. For that scrape the coconut and keep soaked in hot water. Make a fine paste of the coconut and strain it, your coconut milk is ready.
- You can use cumin powder as well as cumin seeds in your curry. I don’t like to add them in this curry of mine, so I skip them.