When the boulanger asked if I could do a fish curry for next Tuesday, my first reaction was to tell him honestly that I have very little experience cooking fish. But then I remembered that I made this Bengali curry, which combines prawns and coconut milk, once a long time ago and the girls did like it.
He was quite happy with that suggestion when I mentioned it so this is what I am going to make for next Tuesday along with some peas pulav, batata vada, mint-coriander chutney and carrot salad.
The classical chingri (that’s Bengali for prawn) malai curry does not include tomatoes I think, but I prefer to make it with them.
Prawn Malai Curry
10-12 medium-sized prawns (shelled and de-veined; so I like to use the frozen, ready-to-use variety)
1 small onion, chopped really fine
3 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 teaspoon each of ginger and garlic paste
a couple of bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder
3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 a teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli powder
1 green chilli, slit in to half (optional)
salt to taste
3 tablespoons of oil
50 ml of packaged coconut milk (or a little less would be okay too)
3/4 cup of water
Soak the frozen prawns in some water for a few minutes, then drain the water and pat the prawns dry.
Mix the salt and turmeric in a large bowl and turn the prawns in this mixture gently to coat them well.
In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the prawns till they are a golden color (don’t fry for too long else the prawns can become a little hard). Take them out and keep them aside.
In the same oil, add the bay leaves, fry for a minute, then add the green chilli and the onions and fry till they are a golden color. Now add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry everything for a couple of minutes, without letting the onions brown as this will affect the final color of the curry.
Add the tomato puree next and once the oil starts to appear on the sides, add the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder and fry everything for a minute. Now add the prawns, stir together everything well, then pour in the coconut milk and water. Simmer the curry for about 10 minutes or till it has the right consistency (not thin and runny, but it shouldn’t be too thick either).
Stir in the garam masala and garnish with fresh, chopped coriander leaves.
This curry is best eaten with plain, hot Basmati rice or a peas pulav, IMO and makes a great change from the more time-consuming chicken or lamb curries. It reminds me of that ad from long ago – I think it was the TV commercial for Maggie noodles when they were first introduced in India – “quick to cook, good to eat!”