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Creamy Prawn Curry - Chingri Malai Jhol

Creamy Prawn Curry - Chingri Malai Jhol

With the Bay of Bengal to the east of the state of West Bengal, it is not surprising that fish is central to the region's cooking. Each morning people can be seen haggling at the open fish markets in search of the best catch of the day.

bar Creamy Prawn Curry - Chingri Malai Jhol
They have a fondness for shellfish, too, especially prawns which are often cooked in mildly spiced coconut milk.

Picture by Manju Malhi

Serves 2-3

¼ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
500g peeled and cooked small prawns
1 tsp peeled and roughly chopped root ginger
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
1 bay leaf (optional)
¼ tsp chilli powder
200ml coconut milk
Pinch of garam masala (optional)


Sprinkle the salt and turmeric over the prawns and set aside. Blitz the ginger, garlic, and onion into a coarse paste in a blender. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan or wok and tip in the prawns. Fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the prawns with a slotted spoon and set aside. Place the bay leaf, if using, in the pan and allow it to sizzle. Add the ginger paste and fry for 6-8 minutes over a medium heat.

Mix in the chilli powder, then stir in the fried prawns followed by the coconut milk. Allow it cook for a minute until piping hot – do not let it boil – then mix in the garam masala, if using, and remove from the heat.

If you like more sauce, add 200ml boiling water and gently simmer for 3-4 minutes to thicken. Serve hot with naan breads or plain basmati rice.


(c) 2012

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