Prawn Malai curry is a classical signature dish of Bengali cuisine. Prawn floating between smooth silky yellow gravy not only looks beautiful but it’s really delish. I mostly prepare this dish during Sunday or holidays. Since it takes a little more preparation time to turn this dish really flavorful.
The essence of perfect Prawn Malai curry lies in the use of fresh ingredients. If you use fresh coconut milk, it just works like magic in this dish. Thus I will recommend you to use fresh coconut rather than a canned one.
The aroma and flavor in this dish come from bay leaves and cardamom and coconut milk. The rest of the spices just improves this flavor and thickens the gravy. The use of fresh prawn gives this dish a perfect blend. If you cannot get fresh prawns in your city, you can also use frozen prawns too. Freshwater prawns like Golda Chingri (giant freshwater prawn) joins perfectly with this dish. You can also use medium or small size prawns in it. I personally ignore the use of tiger prawns as my family members especially my son doesn’t like its salty taste and smell.
Tips for buying fresh Prawns:
Fresh prawns look translucent or bluish-grey. Stay away from prawns that are discolored in the head or shell, or inconsistent with the rest of the body of prawns, it suggests that these shrimps got spoiled. Prawns should not be too odorous; shrimps with an overwhelming fishy odor are definitely bad. The smell of ammonia or bleach in Prawns indicates the growth of bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. Fresh prawns should smell salty, feel firm, and should have a nice shiny outer skin.
Thus we have our fresh prawn and coconut ready with us. Every other ingredient required to cook this Bengali Signature dish is easily available in the kitchen. So, without waiting any further, let’s instantly start preparing our delicious Prawn Malai curry recipe.
Prawn Malai Curry Recipe
for marination of prawn
- 200 grams prawn (झींगा)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (हल्दी पाउडर)
- 1/4 salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
for fresh coconut milk
- 1 piece coconut (नारियल)
for curry paste
- 2 pieces onion (प्याज) medium size
- 1 pieces tomato (टमाटर) medium size
whole garam masala for prawn malai curry
- 1 piece Indian bay leaf (तेज पत्ता)
- 1/2 teaspoon black cumin seeds (शाह जीरा)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick (दालचीनी)
- 1 piece black cardamom (बड़ी इलायची)
- 4 pieces of green cardamom (छोटी इलायची)
- 6 tablespoon refined oil (रिफाइंड तेल)
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste (अदरक का पेस्ट)
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic paste (लहसुन का पेस्ट)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder (गरम मसाला पाउडर)
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seed's powder (भुना हुआ जीरा पाउडर)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (हल्दी पाउडर)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (लाल मिर्च पाउडर)
- 2 pieces slit green chili (चीरा हुआ हरी मिर्च)
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder (धनिया पाउडर)
- 4-5 pieces cashew nut (काजू)
- 1/2 tablespoon white poppy seeds (सफेद पोस्ता)
- salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
- sugar to taste (स्वाद के लिए चीनी)
- 1 cup water (पानी)
- 1 tablespoon fresh cream (ताजा क्रीम)
to clean prawn
- If using fresh prawn - discard the shrimps head hold the prawn's body with one hand and using your other hand to firmly grasp and twist the head of shrimp. Peel off the skin and legs, and remove its tail.
- To remove the tail - hold the prawn's body with one hand and grab the prawn tail with your other hand then pull the prawns tail off. Discard it too.
- To devein the prawn. Use a sharp knife to slit a small black line that runs down the length of the prawn’s back. This cut should be done from head to tail side of the prawn. Inside, you will see a small black tube which is the digestive tract of the prawn. Pluck out this black tube and discard it.
- If you are using frozen prawns you can skip the above steps.
to marinate prawn
- Wash and clean the prawns with cold water. Rinse them well.
- Marinate the shrimp with turmeric powder and salt. cover the bowl with a plastic wrap well, then keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour for marination.
to prepare curry
- Chop the onion. Then move the chopped onions to a mixer jar and grind to a fine paste and keep it aside in a bowl.
- Chop the tomato. Then move the chopped tomato to a mixer jar and grind to a make tomato puree.
- Soak the poppy seeds along with cashew nut in a bowl for around 10 minutes in lukewarm water. Then move it to a mixer jar and grind to a make paste. Keep the paste ready to use later.
how to prepare fresh coconut milk for prawn malai curry
- Using the sharp knife, pierce the eyes of the coconut. Then drain coconut water in a bowl.
- Put coconut on a hard surface and smack with a hammer to crack open the coconut.
- With the help of your kitchen knife, pry the coconut meat from its hard skin.
- Now with the sharp knife chop the coconut meat into 1-centimeter cubes. Then move the chopped coconut meat cubes to a mixer jar and grind to a fine paste. Adding a little coconut water if required.
- Meanwhile, take another pan or a bowl and place a clean muslin or cheesecloth over it. transfer the coconut paste on this muslin cloth with the bowl at the bottom. Carefully gather the edges of the muslin cloth. Make a knot of the gathered muslin cloth and strain the coconut milk gently in the bowl.
- Squeeze the muslin cloth gently to gather the remaining coconut milk in the past. Discard the coconut paste husk.
how to fry prawn for prawn malai curry
- Heat 2 tablespoons of refined oil on medium flame in a pan, when oil is sufficiently hot and turns smoky, add marinated prawn and sear them for a minute till turn light golden.
- After a minute or so, flip the prawns over, and sear for a minute till turn golden. We need not cook these prawns completely as they will later get cooked in our prawn malai curry.
- Once done, transfer the fried prawns on a plate and set them aside.
how to make prawn malai curry
- Heat 4 tablespoons of refined oil on medium flame in a pan, when oil is sufficiently hot add black cumin followed by black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, turmeric powder, and red chili powder.
- Immediately add chopped green chili then onion paste to the pan. Fry onion paste until onion turns light brown.
- Turn the flame to low and add ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander powder along with salt and fry it for 5 minutes stirring gently. Then add tomato puree and fry until oil starts separating.
- Now, add the paste of poppy seeds and cashew nuts prepared earlier and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Now, add fried prawn to the spices mix well and cover the pan with a lid. Cook it for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally after every 3-4 minutes in low heat then cover the pan again till the prawn is slightly cooked and oil leaves sides.
- Now add the garam masala powder and coconut milk and cook for another 2 minutes. Add sugar to your taste. Adjust water if you want a thick or thin gravy and cook it till the gravy starts boiling.
- Spread fresh cream over the recipe. Mix well and switch off the flame.
- The prawn malai curry is ready to serve.
- This recipe goes best with steamed rice. You can also serve it hot along with chapati, nan, roti, etc.