Prawn Malai Curry

  • Servings : 3-4
  • Prep Time : 5m
  • Cook Time : 8m
  • Ready In : 15m

Another gem from the Bengali kitchen is this fabulous prawn curry which always finds its way in a Bengali banquet. Chingri Malai Curry — is what its called in Bengali.

Although malai ordinarily means cream in most Indian languages, in this recipe,  it refers to the cream of coconut ie thick coconut milk.

In modern times, readymade tins of coconut milk have made our lives so much simpler, unlike the days when our Mums would’ve spent long hours making it from fresh coconut.

This recipe is from my Mum-in-law’s kitchen. It is truly, mouth-wateringly delicious.

Try it, it is certainly not as daunting as it looks.


  • Prawn (shelled or in shell)- 1/2 kg
  • Coconut milk- 1 Cup
  • Ginger- 1/2 Inch
  • Onion, chopped- 1 medium, about 1/2 cup
  • Garlic paste- 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste- 2 tsp
  • Green chilli- 1-2
  • Red chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Cardamoms- 2
  • Cinnamon- 2 inch
  • Cloves- 4
  • Oil for cooking- 1-2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 tp
  • Sugar-1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required


Devein the prawns and marinate for 10 minutes with turmeric and salt.


Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the prawns and fry for 2-3 minutes, till  pinkish.

DO not cook completely, just let them colour on both sides. I used King prawns which take slightly longer to cook, so I fried them for about 3 minutes totally. DO not over-fry the prawns, as they become tough when over-cooked.

Keep the prawns aside.

In the same pan, add the whole spices to the already hot oil. 

  After a minute, add the onions, green chilli, turmeric and chilli powder. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes.

This curry has more ginger than garlic, so it is ok even if you add only ginger paste. If you do not have green chilli, don’t fret. It just adds extra flavour. Fry the onions for 3-4 minutes till they soften.

Add the prawns, and fry for another 2-3 minutes till they absorb all the lovely flavours. Again, if you have smaller prawns, fry only for about 2 minutes, because they will boil again with the coconut milk.

Now grab a can of coconut milk. I love the Natco brand, it is lovely and thick. Get your preferred choice and pour about a quarter of the tin – about a 1/4 cup into the prawns. Lower the flame.

After adding the coconut milk, you will notice that the gravy will become much lighter in colcour.

Now add 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala. Bengalis have their own version of garam masala, which is called meetha (sweet) masala, basically a powdered mixture of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in equal proportions. You could either make that or just add what you have in your cupbard. Add sugar.

DO not boil, as the coconut milk tends to curdle at very high temperatures. Just cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

It will then absorb all the flavours and spices fron the curry and you will have a fabulously thick, creamy pan of deliciousness just waiting to be devoured.

We all love Prawn Malai curry at home. I’m sure you will too.

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