March 20, 2008

Chingri Malaikari

We have always loved Bengali food, especially their seafood curries. We make this prawn curry regularly as we enjoy it a great deal. In Bengali, "Chingri" means prawns and "Malaikari" means a curry that is enriched with coconut and spices. The sweetness of the coconut milk balances the fire from the chillies and spices. A hot & sweet dish that would satisfy any foodie who is crazy about ethnic food, this dish can easily pass off as a Thai curry. Most Bengali cuisines use mustard oil for tempering, but we opted for olive oil instead. If you are using mustard oil, make sure you bring it to its boiling point before proceeding with the cooking.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

20 uncooked prawns, cleaned and deveined
1 medium onion, pureed
1 tin light(fat free)coconut milk
2 large fresh green chilies, slit lengthwise
1 tsp ginger, chopped finely
2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 cloves
4-5 cardamoms
2 bay leaves or 1" cinnamon stick
1 packet splenda
salt to taste

Marinate the prawns with 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt for 30 mins. Heat oil in a pan, add the prawns and fry on each side for a minute. Remove from pan and keep aside. To the same pan, in the remaining oil, fry the condiments for 2 mins. Add onion puree and fry till oil separates from the sides of the pan. Add green chilly, garlic & garlic. Fry for 3 more mins. Add coconut milk, red chilly powder, the remaining turmeric powder and salt(make sure you don't add too much as the prawns already has salt added at marination). Cover and cook on a low flame and bring it to a boil. Now add prawns and cook another 7 mins. At the very end, add splenda and mix well. Simmer for 2 more mins. Enjoy with a side of plain white rice and a fried fish.


1) If using "Equal" or other aspartame products make sure you add it to the dish at the very end when you are done with cooking. If added during cooking, it will turn the dish bitter
2) If using table sugar then you can add it along with the coconut milk.

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