Sayantani is my beautiful colleague from Kolkata. I met her last year and was overjoyed this year when this year she moved to Mumbai. With her she not only brought to office her famed Bengali accent, the unique manner in which she dressed but also her Bengali cuisine. This was when i felt, its always good to know one more ‘bong’ in your life. Here is her post of the best chingri macher malaikari that i have ever eaten. Trust me it was even better than the one that they serve at Oh! Calcutta.
I have a fond relationship with this exquisite prawn delicacy that brings back innocent childhood memories every time I make this. As a child, like many of you, I had this habit of associating words with certain pictures (I still do that very often and laugh my lungs out caring little about my surrounding! It is my ‘zone out’ guise.) So, Chingri Macher Malaikari was associated with regality in my child mind. I cannot say now, after so many years, why I had created such an association. Perhaps, looking at how delicately the milk of coconut was pressed out to prepare this heavenly prawn curry or looking at the jumbo prawns in golden yellow sauce or may be simply because I liked the dish so much that I had made it regal!
Nonetheless, the fact remains that the dish can change the dimension of a meal whenever it is placed on the table! I have made this dish many times. Whenever I have cooked a quick meal for two or twenty, I end up turning to my favourite ‘Chingri Macher Malaikari’. Here is the recipe of my grandmother, which I learnt from my mother.
– 1 kg Jumbo prawns
Make sure you clean the heads without losing the yellow gooey stuff. Remove the veins from back. After draining all the water, smear the prawns with salt and turmeric powder and keep it aside
– 3.5-inch cinnamon stick
– 7-8 green cardamom
– 2 bay leaves
– 6-7 cloves
Pestle the garam masalas very roughly and keep it aside.
– Oil & ghee to fry
– Turmeric powder
– Red Chili powder
– Salt and Sugar to taste
– Garlic paste 2 pinches
– Ginger paste – 1 table spoon
– Onion paste – of 4 big onions
– Green chilies – slit 3-4
– Coconut Milk (400 gms of powder made into a thick gravy)
- Shallow fry the prawns in mustered oil or white oil and keep them aside
- Heat 2-3 tbsps. of ghee in a pan and shallow fry the garlic paste. Make sure you do not burn it.
- Add the bay leaves and garam masala and fry them on sim till they start sputtering
- Add the ginger paste to the pan
- Add 1 tbsp. of sugar to the pan and then add the onion paste
- Give a very good stir to the mixture, without over frying it.
- The oil will start separating when your masala is cooked. Add the coconut milk to this mixture and give it a nice stir
- Add 2 tbsps. of turmeric powder and few pinches of red chili powder and also add the green chilies to the mixture
- After adding the coconut milk the texture will start thickening. Keep stirring to make it even
- Add the prawns now and add little water and give it a good stir
- Cook it on medium flame for 10 minutes
- Adjust the salt and sugar
Serve the ‘Chingri Macher Malaikari’ with steamed basmati and enjoy a simple yet regal Bengali meal!