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Bengali Chingri Malai Curry

Bengali Chingri Malai Curry

Undoubtedly one of the most popular Bengali curries, the Chingri Malai curry gets its name from the word ‘chingri’ which means shellfish. Succulent prawns swimming in a mellow coconut milk gravy, this curry is undeniably delicious!

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes    |    Wait Time: 1 hour    |    Cook Time: 45 minutes

Utensils Required

  • Bowl (marination) 
  • Saucepan (for stock and curry)
  • Strainer 
  • Serving spoon


  • Large prawns - 1 kg (with shells)
  • Mustard oil - 2 tbsp
  • Cardamoms - 3-4
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon & mace powder - 1 tsp
  • Chillies - 2 to 3 (slit)
  • Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tbsp
  • Cashew paste - 1 tbsp
  • Coconut milk - 200 ml or 1 cup
  • Onions - 2 (pureed)
  • Lime - half
  • Water - 1 cup



  • Clean and prep the prawns. Save the heads and shells to make the stock.
  • Marinate the prawns with a teaspoon each of salt and turmeric. Let them absorb the flavours for 60 minutes.
  • In a saucepan fry the saved prawn head and shells for 10 minutes. Then add water and let it come to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Once done, strain the stock and reserve for the curry. Discard the shells and heads.
  • In the same pan add the mustard oil and let it get hot until it releases smoke.
  • Fry the prawns here for a minute on each side then remove. Do not cook them completely. 
  • In the same oil add the bay leaf, cardamoms and cumin seeds. Turn down the heat to medium and fry the spices until their aroma rises.
  • Then add the ginger-garlic paste and let it fry for a minute.
  • Now add the pureed onions and let them cook on medium until they are soft and lightly golden brown.
  • To the onions add the cinnamon-mace powder and chilli powder. Let the masalas fry and strengthen in flavour.
  • Follow the masalas with the cashew paste. Stir and let it cook for about a minute or so until it is mixed through and the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  • Now pour in your coconut milk and bring it to a simmer. Let the mixture heat through. 
  • Add your half-cooked, seared prawns at this stage.
  • To this also add 2 slit chillies for some heat and punch.
  • Stir it through and as the mixture starts to come together add in the prawn stock.
  • Cover and let the curry come to a light simmer for a minute.
  • Then take the curry off the heat and squeeze in some lime juice for that extra kick. 
  • Serve with rice or chapatis. 
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