Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chingri Macher Malai Curry with a difference

The chingris (prawns) were swimming in the huge earthen tub Balai had placed close to him. Balai, the machwala, our very own machwala (the fishmonger) who kept his stock of fresh prawns and bancha (live) magur for Baba. The big and small prawns moved about in the water and children, who went to the fish market, stood with backs bent at 45 degrees to see them...fear and excitement moving together in the euphoric trolley of childishness.

When the chingri was carried home in the cotton jhola...Ma stitched the jholas from the used and somewhat faded floral skirts and frocks of her little girls. Her little girls...never protested ...once the old ones were cut and stitched into user friendly items...there was a look beyond ...for new ones...and then...

The wait for the curry to be served would be like waiting for years. Ma would give instructions and Thakur (the cook) would follow obediently...she loved supervising. With chingri in the kitchen, it could be Chigrir jhol, Chingri Kosha, Chingri Bhapa, Chingrir Malai Curry, Chingri cooked with lots of onion and capsicum and tomato sauce, Chingrir boda. Thinking about all this my mouth salivates.

...and my recipe waits to be written Chingrir Malai Curry with a difference...

                                Prawns - shelled and de-veined

Prawns – ½ Kg. shell and de-vein, wash properly, sprinkle some haldi powder and salt. Set aside to marinade.

Make a paste of 2 onions, 2-3 garlic cloves and about an inch length of ginger.

Coconut milk– ½ cup

Haldi, red chilli powder, a pinch of sugar and salt to taste, tej patta and whole garam masala.

And of course cooking oil.

Place the kadhai/wok on the burning stove. Add 1 cup of water. As soon as the water starts getting hot, add the marinaded prawns , cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. By now the water is completely dry, add 2 tsp of cooking oil and stir the prawns for another couple of minutes. Now keep it aside.

When I have a good stock of prawns, I marinade with salt and haldi powder, cook them in boiling water for a short time, about 3-4 minutes, put them out in a bowl to cool. This is then kept in the fridge for later use...can be added instantly for any dish as it is already cooked. I feel the flavour and taste remains much stronger than when it is fried.

In the kadhai pour some oil, quantity check is yours. Once it is hot add 2 tej patta (bay leaves), whole garam masala of cinnamon (dalchini) 2 sticks, cardamom (elaichi) 4 and cloves (laung) 4...beaten in mortar and pestle to break up roughly...and sauté. When the aroma of the spices start spreading add the onion, ginger, garlic paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes over medium flame.

Then put in 1 tsp haldi powder, ½ tsp red chilli powder, and sauté again.

Next add salt and sugar and cook till the spices show sign of separating from the oil.

Add the coconut milk and some water and let this gravy cook over high flame for some more time.

Now add the prawns and watch out for your preferred thickness of the gravy.

Serve with rice, for that’s better.

As I had mentioned in the title, this curry is cooked with a difference. It was the sudden arrival of guests during the lunch hour which made me think of increasing the quantity to serve this curry to everyone without any complaint. I boiled 2 big potatoes, removed the skin and made small cues.

When the gravy showed signs of thickening, added the prawns and cubed potatoes. Cooked for another couple of minutes before transferring into the serving bowl.

Everyone relished the taste of the prawns...compliments for the cook... and it made no difference.
In a malai curry we don’t add potatoes, but you can in a situation like this...makes no difference. After all “Necessity is the mother of invention” isn’t it?


  1. Happy Ganesha Chaturthi to you and your family. Hope Lord Ganesha brings happiness and peace in your life.
    Chingri machher malaikari amar shob theke priyo infact chingri machh ami bhishon bhalobashi. Ichhe korchhe ekhoni kheye feli. Durdanto lagchhe dekhte.

  2. I actually love potatoes in my all non veg dishes, including prawns. The flavor of the potatoes is amazing...
    This looks amazingly good...

  3. amar Maa o malaikarite alu dan. amader okhane prawn khub kam paoya jay ar peleo quality sabsamay bhalo thakena. tai alu die barie day. tabe ei jale seddho kore bhajar idea ta darun. ebhabe fridge rakhale pare use kora sotti soja. thanks for this idea Di.

  4. Babli, thanks for the good wishes. Same to you.
    aami o chingri bhalobasi...koto variety ranna kora jai.

    Somoo, thanks. them.

    Sayantani, aami kokhono aloo diye korini, kintu trial and error e bhalo laglo.aami chingri bhaji na ektu sheddho kore ni aar kadai-te lege gele ektu tel diye di. taste aar flavour ta bhalo thake.

  5. amar mao aloo diten malai curry te..amio o di....karon ami aloo chara kono kicchu khete partam na...akhn oboshyo aloo khaoa komachhi ashte ashte...Tobe chingri fry er aga boli korar idea ta amar kachhe notun....erokom kore ebar kore dekhbo kamon hoe....

  6. Dear Gouridi

    Chingri macher malai curry dekhte darun hoyeche. Masala ta khub bhalo hoyeche.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  7. Dish looks so adding potatoes to my prawns curry too

  8. I like the way you built it up...thanks for a peep in your past!

    My Mum too keeps chingri in a steel tiffin box for later use, she'd add it to alu-begun, lau-chingri of course...or even bete niye bora korto...janina ekhon eto jhamela kore ki na.

    Aami ek baar lobster ene malai curry kore chilaam. BuT I feel Golda Chingri diye beshi tasty hoye.

    Tomaar MalaI curry ta khub shundor dekhte hoye che. Gorom bhaat diye its perfect.

  9. Nice malai curry Gauri !!
    I never tried aalu in chingri malai curry n i always steam it , this version looks great.

  10. Sangeeta,
    The steamed curry is no doubt very tasty but this dish tastes a bit different.