Chingri Malai Curry

After so much Christmas food, I know the best most dietary option is not curry. Then again I needed something hot and spicy to wake up my senses, to face the cold. It is officially winter. No snow (yet, although I doubt there’ll be any in Belgium), but freezing. All I can think of is good hot food to warm me up.

With Christmas just around the corner, new cooking books made their way onto my kitchen shelves. Such as a new book on Curry by Vivek Singh & Co. The book takes you through all the curries of India, with short stops in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and to end with, Britain and Japan. A comprehensive curry encyclopaedia which I am sure will serve its purpose when organizing exotic dinners in the coming year. All recipes serve 4 or more so be prepared for a lot of curry! We inaugurated the book with the Chingri Malai Curry, in plain English the king prawns in coconut curry sauce. The dish itself takes a little bit of time and at first I was overwhelmed by the quantity of curry cooked. However following the advice of Garry Rhodes, I cooked the given quantity (serves 4) and froze the extra two portions for a future cold evening in.

Chingri Malai Curry (serves 4)
5cm piece fresh ginger
10 garlic cloves
6 onions
225ml vegetables oil (this is lot of oil, so I halved the quantity)
800gr king prawns
4tbsp ground turmeric
1tbsp salt
3 bay leaves
2tbsp ground cumin
4 green chillies, slit lengthways
200ml coconut milk
1tbsp sugar
5 green cardamom pods

Blend the ginger and garlic together in the food processor. Set aside.
Blend the onions and 100ml oil in the food processor. Set aside.
Season the prawns with ½ tbsp turmeric and salt. Heat 2tbsp of the oil and sear the prawns briefly, then set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan, then add the onion paste and bay leaves; Saute over moderate heat for 10min.
Mix together the cumin, remaining turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and 150ml water, then add to the onions. Reduce the heat and cook on low heat for 5-8min. Stir in the remaining salt, the green chillies and the prawns. Cook for 2-3min.
Season and serve with steamed rice.

I found that following the instructions to the book and less my own taste buds made for a very bitter curry. I added an extra teaspoon of salt and 1tbsp of sugar. To give the curry a fresher taste I also added a handful of chopped coriander and the juice of 1 lemon. All in all though a very comforting and tasty dish.

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  • Blue Plate

    I love curry, but don’t normally make it with shrimp/prawns. Now I’ll have to try it sometime. Your curry looks great.

  • I belong to the part of India where this dish originated…we do not use garlic only a small amount of onion and ginger..garlic does not go well with the combination of coconut milk..make sure to add only little water …this dish has a thick gravu unlike other curry dishes…

  • Sharmishtha

    Hi, this is a part of Bengali cuisine, a state in the East of India. Thought I’ll share the more authentic recipe, it’s easier, healthier and nicer. Like one reader said, we don’t put the garlic. You can also omit the onions. Just put in some oil, lesser than 100 ml will also do if you like it lighter – I just use about 2 tablespoons. Put in some turmeric powder and powdered cardomom, cloves and cinnamon. Put in some sugar and salt, and then the prawns (that you can marinated in turmeric for 15-20 mins. Saute the prawns for a few minutes and then pour in the coconut milk. Simmer it for 5 minutes and your curry is ready.

    If you like the coconut flavor, put in some fresh grated coconut when you put in the prawns.

  • Paromita

    Hi Andrea,

    I teach how to cook Indian Cuisine and also hold this recipe very close to my heart. I understand that the recipe that you copied is originally written by a person of Northern Indian background, where more of onion, ginger and garlic is used in almost all recipes. Hence,your recipe here has more of North Indian flavor than the authentic Eastern Indian.

    Also, I noticed that although you have mentioned coconut milk in the ingredients, you haven’t mentioned it in the method of preparation.

    If you want I can gladly forward you the authentic recipe with proper explanations to each step.Let me know if you want it.