cook in a curry

Chingri Macher Malai – Bengali Prawn curry with mustard, coconut & chilli

Chingri Macher Malai (2)

In a lot of regions across India coconut and seafood is a classic combination. The Bengali prawn curry ‘Chingri Malai’ uses prawns with coconut to make a truly sumptuous dish. Although ‘malai’ in hindi means cream the influences of this dish are known to have come from Malaysia (hence sometimes even known as ‘Malay Curry’)

This is a creamy curry, full of flavour with combinations of typical Bengali ingredients such as mustard, chilli and ginger. The sweetness of the prawns and coconut milk work really well the pungent hit from the chilli and ginger. I have used mustard oil and it’s something I would highly recommend you try; apart from a robust flavour it gives a yellow tinge to the curry. Mustard oil is commonly used in Indian pickles as it works as a natural preservative. The oil needs to be heated to a smoking point and cooled down before using.

If of course you can’t find mustard oil feel free to swap it for regular vegetable or sunflower oil.

Also you can swap freshly grated coconut for desiccated variety or leave it out completely if you wish. I like the slight texture and depth that it adds to a creamy curry. Large prawns are ideal for this dish as they hold their own lending a moist succulent flavour to the dish steeping in the spiced gravy.

Click here to win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s cookbook ‘Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals’ this Christmas!


12-15 large prawns shelled and deveined with the tails left on

½ tsp turmeric powder

Pinch of salt

4 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil

4 green cardamom pods

3 cloves

2 bay leaves

1 small onion roughly chopped

1” piece of ginger roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

2 green chillies

50gms freshly grated coconut

¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder

100mls coconut milk

100mls water

½ tsp sugar

Salt to taste

Coriander roughly chopped for garnish

Add the prawns to a bowl and mix in the turmeric and salt well. Set aside while you get the curry ready. In a blender add the onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and grated coconut. Add a splash of water and blend to a smooth thick paste. Set the paste aside.

Chingri Malai

In a frying pan add 2 tbsp of the oil and fry the prawns for a minute on each side. They will start to colour but don’t cook them all the way through. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Chingri Macher Malai (3)

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan heat the remaining oil add the green cardamom, cloves and bay leaves; fry for 30 seconds. Now tip in the onion paste and fry on a medium heat for 5-7 mins stirring frequently making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the chilli powder, sugar and salt. Stir for a further minute; add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat. Add the prawns, simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve warm with boiled rice.

Browse the Curry archive. Curry Category: . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Robyne Low
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink


  2. fiona colonnese
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful curry, I substituted the prawns for mackerel which worked very well. I just made the curry sauce and then pan fried the mackerel and placed on top of the rice and curry sauce. Delicious.

  3. Alex
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Oh good life.. This is so simple and so delish! Loved it in spite of not having the luxury of using the fresh coconut but the poor shredded one you get at the supermarket. Would you suggest to eat this curry straightaway or leave it to stand overnight?? This is my big quest.. I can’t wait to try it again.

  4. Mark
    Posted June 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Made this for my wife and she is not normally a fan of fish curry but she absolutely loved this. Saying that so did I, in fact I am going to make it again this weekend. Thank you for the great website.

    • maunika
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      So glad she enjoyed it Mark! Thanks for your comment. Maunika.

  5. Northfleet
    Posted August 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Very nice!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Goan Chicken Cafreal (3)
Khatta Jeera Aloo