Malai Prawn Recipe (Creamy Prawn Curry)

Image © Lauri Patterson/ Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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This creamy prawn curry is a delicacy eaten with traditional Jeera rice. Sometimes called Chingri Malaikari or Malai for short. This dish originated in northern India and is now eaten throughout Indian and around the world. This recipe is made of shrimp or prawns cooked in thick coconut milk gravy with whole spices for a strong, flavorful dish. You will find Prawn Malaikari a part of the menu in many Bong (Bengali) parties in the US.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) large ​prawns (Tiger prawns)
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons single cream
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

How to Make It

  1. Grind the onions, tomatoes, and green chilies into a fine paste in a food processor.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the paste to it. Fry for a minute.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for another minute.
  4. Add the spices and brown masala till the oil begins to separate from it.
  5. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.
  6. Add the prawns and cook for another 2 minutes only.
  7. Turn off the fire and stir in the cream.
  1. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Jeera Rice or plain boiled rice.

Cooking Tips and Ingredient Substitutions

For added flavor, some people prepare prawn malai with half of their prawns with heads on and half with heads removed. The head adds a fourth dimension of seafood flavor to this already delicious preparation. However, if you are not used to preparing prawns, you may not want to split the shrimp, as prawn heads have to be delicately cleaned before cooking.

Another way to switch up the flavor in your prawn malai curry is by adding a nuttier flavor to the dish. Here's how to do it. Add a tablespoon of cashew paste, as well as a 1/2 cup of freshly grated coconut. Add both at the stage just after adding the ginger and garlic pastes.

*A note about cooking, not overcooking shrimp: Fresh shrimp cooks extremely fast, and while the 2 minutes mentioned above doesn't seem like enough time to properly cook fresh shrimp, you'll have to take our word for it. Overcooking shrimp makes shrimp hard and takes away all of its ​​flavors. To avoid this, remember that the gravy in this dish will continue to cook the shrimp even once cooking has finished. ​So, as soon as the flesh changes from opalescence to opaque they are done.