Monday, 21 April 2014

Prawns Malai Curry (Malai Chingri)

This Easter Weekend has been the most hectic with dinners organized on all three days. While just one was planned, the rest was completely unplanned and was organized with just a couple of hours prior information. Whatever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed and more so as all the dishes were totally delicious and earned me some of the best accolades ever. What else does a cook/chef long for ? The best of all was this Prawn Curry made with coconut milk. It is a famous Bengal delicacy and is an absolute favorite for every Bengali household and also for those who get the chance to taste it once. Easy to make and with some very simple and easily available ingredients, you cannot go wrong with this recipe. 

500 gms prawn, washed and deveined (use the medium ones with tail intact if at hand. I made with the small ones though)
200 ml coconut milk/cream (if using cream, dillute it with 1/4 cup water)
1 big onion or 2 medium onions chopped
3-4 big garlic cloves or 4-5 small ones
1 inch piece ginger
2-3 green chilles, 1 chopped and rest slit
2 bay leaves
1 inch piece cinnamon
2-3 cardamom
2-3 cloves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
1-2 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp mustard oil ( you can replace with regular vegetable oil but this dish tastes best with mustard oil)

Marinade the washed and cleaned prawns in a little salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice and keep aside for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, make a fine paste with the onions, ginger, garlic, and 1 chilli. Add a little water if you need to. 
Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the marinated prawns till slightly golden and wilted. Do not overcook or you will end up with rubbery prawns. Remove from the pan and keep it in the dish you are going to serve. In the same pan, now add the mustard oil (add as per your understanding as there will already be ghee left from frying the prawns as well as some of the juices from the prawn) and bring it to smoky hot. Now add the whole spices and let them crackle. Add the onion paste and fry till the raw smell disappears and changes to a slightly golden color. Now, add the dry spices and fry till oil starts separating from the edges. Lower the flame and then slowly add the coconut milk/ cream dilluted with water while stirring continuously. Bring it to a boil and then add the fried prawns. Cover and lower the flame to medium low and cook for another 10 minutes till the gravy thickens a bit. Remove from heat and serve hot with steamed rice and a dollop of ghee. Bliss!

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