Prawn malai curry

March 4th, 20119:08 am @


Prawn malai curry

Sitting, as it does, in the middle of a desert, Delhi isn’t the first place you’d go to for seafood. However, the serendipitous discovery of an excellent fish market remarkably close to our house means we can can now source fresh seafood – and I mean fresh – with ease (more on that later).

A couple of notes on the preparation. This is a Bengali dish (unsurprising, given the Bengali obsession with seafood) and the oil of choice in Bengal is mustard. It’s a pungent oil that’s not to everyone’s taste, so I use sesame oil instead. Secondly, most recipes will have you mash up the ginger/garlic and onions into a paste. I prefer to chop them as finely as possible so they leave a little bit of texture.

Anyway, on with the dish. This should serve 4.


  • 1 kg prawns – big, fat juicy ones
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • Salt
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • Water
  • 5 onions
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5cm piece of cinnamon
  • 3-4 green chilis, sliced
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • Seeds of 5 green cardamom pods, ground


  • Clean and de-vein the prawns (leave the tails on, it makes them easier to handle when eating).
  • Sprinkle 1tbsp turmeric powder and some salt over them.
  • Set aside.
  • Finely slice the ginger and garlic (or use ginger-garlic paste, about 1/2 a cup), sprinkle salt on top to activate the flavour.
  • Mix in 1tbsp turmeric and the cumin and 3/4 cup of water.
  • Set aside.
  • Dice the onions as finely as you can, or just blend them if you can’t be arsed.
  • Heat a generous splodge of oil in a deep pan and throw in the onions, bay leaves and cinnamon. Stir occasionally until the onions start to brown.
  • While this is going on, heat some oil in a frying pan and sear the prawns.
  • Set aside.
  • Add the ginger-garlic mix to the onions and reduce the heat.
  • Stir occasionally until you start to get a thick paste.
  • Now throw in the prawns and chillis, stir and cook for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the coconut milk, and simmer till the prawns are done.
  • Stir in the ground cardamom seeds.
  • Turn off the heat, cover and let it rest for a minute or two.
  • Serve with basmati rice.
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