Chingri Malai Curry: Creamy Bengali Coconut Prawns Recipe

Chingri Malai Curry, also known as Prawn Malai Curry and Chingri Malaikari is a quick and easy Indian dish that is ready to serve in under an hour.

Prawn Malai Curry recipes originate in the North Eastern Indian state of Bengal and feature plump shrimp cooked in a spicy, creamy, coconut curry sauce.

Our Chingri Malai Curry recipe features flavourful ingredients like garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, coriander, coconut and cilantro.

This simple curry recipe is gluten free and keto friendly.

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What is Chingri Malai Curry?

Prawn Malai Curry is a Bengali curry made of fried prawns, creamy coconut milk and aromatic spices.

Chingri Malai Curry translates to Chingri (shrimp) Malai Curry (creamy sauce).

Chingri Malaikari gets its name from the recipe’s supposed association with Malaysian traders. Malaikari translates to Malay, and over time was translated to Malai. Culinary historians in India have pointed to Bengali Prawn Malai Curry ingredients and their similarity to Malaysia’s famous laksa.

The dish is popular throughout Bengal, often served at celebrations like weddings and birthdays. It was a very popular dish among the British in Calcutta.

A more decadent variation of Chingri Malai Curry can be prepared with lobster by substituting for prawns.

Chingri Malai Curry ingredients.
Chingri Malai Curry ingredients.

Travel to India by Cooking Prawn Malai Curry at Home

I love traveling through Asia. My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.

After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeCambodiaLaosMyanmarThailandVietnamThe Maldives and India.

I spent over a month traveling through India. I started in the capital, eating my way through the bustling markets and fine dining restaurants in Delhi. I then embarked on a magical weekend getaway to awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra. In India’s north you’ll find plenty of barbecue and wheat based side dishes like scorched naan bread.

For the second half of my Indian adventure I explored the southern state of Kerala. The south is famous for its seafood, coconut, tropical fruits and rice based side dishes like crispy dosa. The colonial capital of Cochin was formerly run by the Portuguese. It’s also one of the only places in India you can find beef on a menu.

My India trip came to a close in the Bollywood capital, bustling and cosmopolitan Mumbai. The city is famous for its specialty street foods and fine dining restaurants at opulent luxury hotels. The Taj Mahal Palace in particular serves one of the world’s most famous Afternoon Teas.

What I found most fascinating is India’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in FranceGermanyItaly or Spain, each city in India had its own local speciality.

After you’ve traveled to India, return home to prepare an authentic and fragrant feast for friends and family featuring this Prawn Malai Curry recipe.

Prepare Chingri Malai Curry sauce by filling a blender with tomato, onion and green chili.
Prepare Chingri Malai Curry sauce by filling a blender with tomato, onion and green chili.

Where To Eat Chingri Malaikari

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Indian restaurants that serve traditional Prawn Malai Curry.

Haven’t traveled to India before? It may be helpful to first sample Chingri Malai Curry at a local Indian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the prawn to coconut sauce ratio and spicy heat level before trying to make the dish at home from scratch.

In Toronto, popular Indian restaurants that may serve Prawn Malai Curry include Udupi PalaceLahore Tikka House and Kothur Indian Cuisine.

Cook prawns in Chingri Malai Curry sauce with garlic, ginger and coconut milk.
Cook prawns in Chingri Malai Curry sauce with garlic, ginger and coconut milk.

My Family Loves Prawn Malai Curry

After traveling throughout India and eating at some of the world’s best Indian restaurants I was excited to share my love of Prawn Malai Curry with friends in Toronto.

I’ve hosted many Indian-themed feasts, showcasing dishes from Delhi to Bengal via fragrant curries, fresh salads and hearty soups.

I served a creamy Chicken Shahi Korma with crunchy Indian Onion Salad for an al fresco lunch in the spring. While in the summer at the cottage in Muskoka we enjoyed a vegetarian feast featuring Shahi Paneer and Indian Chickpea Crepes.

When I finally introduced my friends to this easy Prawn Malai Curry recipe their eyes bulged with glee. I knew they’d love the dish because it features fresh seafood, creamy smooth sauce and a kick of spicy heat.

If you’ve traveled to India on holiday there is no better way to share your adventure with family and friends at home then by serving our homemade Prawn Malai Curry recipe.

We highly recommend making this flavorful dish with the prawn heads on, as they add another dimension of seafood flavor to this already delectable dish.

Plump prawns in Chingri Malai Curry sauce.
Plump prawns in Chingri Malai Curry sauce.

Chingri Malai Curry Health Benefits

Our homemade Prawn Malai Curry recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system. 

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.

A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.

A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals. 

Serve Chingri Malai Curry topped with chopped cilantro and grilled naan.
Serve Chingri Malai Curry topped with chopped cilantro and grilled naan.

Chingri Malai Curry Cooking Tips

If it’s your first time cooking restaurant-style Prawn Malai Curry at home be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started:

  • Use a large cast iron dutch oven with a high rim to reduce splatter when cooking.
  • In our recipe below we suggest using a food processor but you could also use a heavy duty Vitamix.
  • We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula spoon when making curry so you can easily stir, scrape down the side of the pot and sip to check if it needs to be seasoned further.
  • Don’t cut out the fat! If you want restaurant-style Prawn Malai Curry to enjoy at home you must realize the ghee, oil and coconut cream are essential ingredients.
  • If you can’t find prawns at your grocery store feel free to substitute for large shrimp.
  • Add an additional boost of flavour by adding freshly grated coconut to the curry sauce.
  • If you don’t like spicy food feel free to omit the green chilies.
  • Chingri Malai Curry is traditionally served with fresh naan. If you love baking why not make your own sourdough naan?
Serve Chingri Malai Curry at a Indian-themed dinner party for a crowd.
Serve Chingri Malai Curry at a Indian-themed dinner party for a crowd.

What To Serve with Chingri Malaikari

There’s nothing more comforting on a cold day then cozying up to a bowl of creamy Prawn Malai Curry. The dish is usually serve with a bowl of steamed rice or naan.

If you’re hosting a large Indian-themed dinner party buffet you may want to serve this Bengali seafood curry alongside spicy chutney, fresh salads, soups, fragrant biryani, homemade naan and a vegetarian or meat curries.

We love doubling our Chingri Malai Curry recipe to enjoy leftovers all week long.
We love doubling our Chingri Malai Curry recipe to enjoy leftovers all week long.

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Storing Curry

If you have leftover Prawn Malai Curry we suggest storing it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. To reheat simply zap in the microwave or reheat in the oven.

We love doubling our curry recipes so we can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on cooking in the kitchen. We suggest storing leftover Chingri Malaikari in separate Pyrex freezer safe containers that have a snug lid so there’s no spilling.

Be sure to let the curry reach room temperature before storing it in the freezer. If you add a hot containers to a cold freezer it will significantly reduce the interior temperature and potentially spoil your food.

Chingri Malai Curry is one of our favourite traditional Indian seafood recipes with a creamy sauce.
Chingri Malai Curry is one of our favourite traditional Indian seafood recipes with a creamy sauce.

How To Make Traditional Chingri Malai Curry

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Chingri Prawn Malai Curry

Learn how to make Bengali Prawn Malai Curry. Our easy Chingri Malai Curry features shrimp, coconut milk, spicy chilies and Indian spices.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chingri Malai Curry, Prawn Malai Curry
Servings: 6
Calories: 476kcal

Equipment

  • Wok or skillet
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • French knife
  • spatula
  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Prawns
  • 2 Large onions
  • 3 Large tomatoes
  • 2 Green chilies
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp Ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 2 cups Coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro leaves garnish

Instructions

  • Wash, shell, and devein the prawns.
  • Add the onions, tomatoes, and green chilies to a food processor and blend to form a paste.
  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the paste. Fry for one minute. Add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another minute.
  • Add the garam masala, coriander, and cumin and cook until the oil begins to separate. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.
  • Add the fresh prawns and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or naan.

Nutrition

Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.4g | Protein: 38.4g | Fat: 28.8g | Saturated Fat: 19.1g | Cholesterol: 318mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 880mg | Fiber: 4.5g | Sugar: 8.2g | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 3mg

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