Monday, November 06, 2006

Chingri Macher Malaikari

Chingri Macher Malaikari or Prawn malaikari

Chingri Malaikari or Prawn Malaikari (no relation to our dear Malaika at all), is a very famous and popular Bengali entrĂ©e served with white Rice or Pulao for lunch or dinner on special occasions. I saw it described somewhere as an “Elegant Bengali Classic” – that definitely sums up this dish. It is so delicious that I want to run down and have my dinner right now instead of writing this up.

I made it this Sunday as a pre-B’day treat for my husband and this write up is for Chandrika of Akshyapatra who said she would like to have the recipe of a certain prawn recipe she had at her Bong friend’s place and which I guessed to be the infamous Chingri Malaikari.

So most people think that coconut or coconut milk is not a popular ingredient in Bengali cooking, but it is in many of the special Bengali cuisines. This particular dish is cooked in a spiced up gravy of coconut milk and involved a lot of hard work for my Ma back in India. Since life & it’s commodities in India was not universally canned or processed back then, she had to press the grated coconut to extract the sweet white coconut milk.

Here in the US, life is much easy and you just pick a can of coconut milk off the shelf of your grocery store. I guess this and the abundance of prawns, is also a reason why you would find Prawn Malaikari a part of the menu in most Bong parties in the US.


For today’s preparation I got ½ lb of large prawns with heads on and ½ lb with heads removed. The reason for this being the prawns head being very very tasty adds a fourth dimension to this already delicious preparation. However if you are not very familiar around prawns, I would suggest you get only the ones with no head , as the prawn head has to be delicately cleaned.

If you want to though, go through the following steps to clean fresh prawn :-
Remove the hard shell, do not remove the tail, leave it on
De-vein the prawn, slit the back a little and take out the black thread thingy
For shrimps with heads, carefully remove only the front portion of the head the eyes etc., do not remove the entire head, you want to keep the liquidy thing inside the head.

Get this recipe in my Book coming out soon. Check this blog for further updates. 

What You Need

Prawns ~ 1lb of the larger size, get fresh ones, see above why I got some with heads on
Onion ~ I made a paste of a large one and used about 5 tbsp of the paste (yipe, I noted the measure)
Garlic ~ 1 large clove coarsely chopped
Ginger ~ 1 tsp
Green Chillies ~ 6 slit
Coconut Milk ~ 1 can

TejPata or Bay Leaves ~ 4 small
Elaichi or Cardamom ~ 4
Laung or Cloves ~ 6
Darchini or Cinnamon ~ 2 smallish sticks as in picture

Red Chilli Powder
Turmeric Powder
Little Sugar

How I Do It

Clean the prawns as explained earlier and mix it with turmeric and salt and keep aside for about ½ hour
Meanwhile grind the onion to a paste.Note: If your onion paste tends to turn bitter, saute the onions until translucent and then make the paste.
Heat oil in Kadai/Frying Pan
Lightly fry the prawns so they turn golden in color, do not deep fry like other fish.
As soon as the prawns turn a pale golden take them out put them on a paper towel.
In the same oil, add the chopped garlic.
As soon as the fragrance of the garlic rises, take out the garlic from the oil so that the oil is now garlic flavored but there is no garlic in the gravy.
Add TejPata or BayLeaves
Coarsely pound the Elaichi, Laung & Darchini with a pestle and add them too
Add the onion paste when you see the whole garam masala crackling
Continue frying the onion with a little bit of sugar till it turns brown in color or the oil separates from the paste
Add the ginger paste and cook the masala.
Stir and add the can of coconut milk
Add a little water (about 1/3 of the can) in the can, mix well and add it too.
Add Red Chilli Powder, very little turmeric powder and salt.
Add the green chillies
Mix well and cook the gravy. The gravy tastes best when you simmer it a low heat for about 25-30 minutes
When you see the oil surfacing on the gravy add the fried prawns.
Cook on low for some more time till the gravy thickens and acquires a creamy consistency.
Serve with white Rice or yellow Pulao

Do make it a point to try out this dish, you will find a dinner of white Basmati Rice & Chingri macher Malaikari is nothing but unadulterated pleasure.
Note: If you scour the net you might find variations of this recipe, but this is how my Ma and I make it

Trivia:It seems our very own dada, Sourav Ganguly is very fond of Chingri Macher Malaikari and his wife Dona serves him this every day when he is at home. Sorav, better get your cholesterol checked.


  1. This is the blog that I desperately needed. Now I can make my Mom proud.

  2. v nice write up, sandeepa! nice golden prawns pic too!

  3. great write -up Sandeepa and so yummy chingri malaikari .....

  4. Sandeepa, you are seafood lover's delight and hope!!:))Lot of info and photos, great job! I know it's hard work to do this , so I say thank you!:))

  5. Sandeepa, you are such a sweetheart! Thank you so much dear! This is exactly what I had and I have been longing for this for the past four years! The photo looks sooo yummy that I want to grab it right off the blog... I will make it this weekend and will write a post with the credits going to u... Thank you once again Sandeepa..You are wonderful!

    And regarding my blog, I have been a little busy lately with interviews and didn't get time to cook...Will write a post in a couple of days...

  6. sandeepa - this looks delicious :) will be making it soon.

  7. Sandeepa, the prawn looks delicious, if only I could grab some. Family loves prawns, I am going to try this one real soon.

  8. something is fishy here.:). wonderful looking curry.

  9. I think thats why Saurav ganguly is out of Indian team.(joking)
    Nicepost :):)

  10. soumyadip,
    hey good, let me know how it turns out

    thanks, yeah I love those prawns, start eating them right after frying :)

    mantu are familiar with this right ?

    thanks yaar, but not much hard work really. This is pretty easy to make if the coconut milk is out of the can

    Good to know this is the one you wanted :) Try it out and you don't need to give me credits.
    It's not that I invented it, when you make it it will just be your way of making Prawn Malaikari
    Good luck with your interviews


    yeah try this, all Bengalis love it and let the word spread :)

    definitely fishy fishy :)

    deepak gopi,
    Yeah Dada is busy running his restaurant, why waste time in the field when you can have nice Malaikari at home and serve it too

  11. Hi Sandeepa, I'll update my prawn recipe soon. Sorry I couldn't do it earlier due to health related family emergency.

    The Malai-curry looks fantastic!

  12. Do you know if there is a diff between prawns and shrimp. Because as far as i can tell all the chingri that is available in the US is shrimp and not prawn. I'm just assuming it is a diff species or something. I really like the photos that accompany your write ups.

  13. mystic,
    hope everything is well now

    thanks :)

    Good question. I always thought shrimps in USA are prawns in India, but there is more to it, it seesm
    Check this site for a better answer

    Check this for a scientific diffference

    But whatever "Prawn malaikari" souds way better than "Shrimp Malaikari" :)

  14. chingri macher malaikari ta darun dekhte hoeche. sorry, eto sundor malaikarir jonno ingrijite comment likhte ichche korlo na.

  15. That's one big Treat to my palatte....great pictures, i am sure gonna try this sometime..:)

  16. Wow Sandeepa,your chingri macher malaikari is making my mouth water and i love love love prawnn curry. Beautiful pics too. I will definitely try this one.Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  17. kutus,
    tomay dekhchina recently, shiter dupur khub ghum dicho naki ?

    thank you

    thanks I cannot see your profile or your name after moving to Beta.
    It's happening with some other comments too, very frustrating

  18. Hi Sandeepa... It's Sri from daavat...what could be the problem?Is it happening to everyone? I hope its fixed soon.Your Rajma keema looks delicious too.

  19. sri,
    yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh now I now who you are :)
    I think it happened when I moved to Beta, now it's ok

  20. A chinese friend of mine loves this so much that that I have to snatch a big bowl of malaikari away from her :)

    I will try your version of the recipe

  21. Yo Bongmom,

    Great blog and nice recipes and pix that make this worth coming to, time and again.

    Matter of fact, I am writing a complementary blog on my culinary experiences around the globe at and have referenced your blog on mine, and have also linked your recipe to my perspective on Aaheli (

    May be a good idea to reference my blog on yours in reciprocation, if you wish.

    Food Buddy

  22. Dear Sandeepa di,
    I cooked the chingri malaikari.And I can say the recipe was perfect. It worked so well that I decided to write to you.
    Thanks you have got a new admirer to your blog.

  23. Hi, I prepared this dish for dinner tonite and my hubby just could not stop taking 2nd,3rd,4th helpings:)) which is a gr8 compliment as he normally does not like the sweetness of malai curry..btw,i too could not stop taking multiple helpings..hehehe..Thank u for a deliciousss and detailed recipe!!

  24. Hi Sandeepa, I tried this today for lunch..I over-ate so much. Now I feel like a stuffed teddy bear :) Did not ever know that coconut milk tasted so good in recipes...Thank you.

  25. wow this dish looks a newbie to bengali food, i'm glad that the dish isn't too difficult to make. i'll have to try this soon!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. I made this dish and it tasted awesome. However I found one problem ... little bit of coconut oil came out of the coconut milk as I boiled the gravy to thicken it. As I had initially used mustard oil .. it gave a combined taste of mustard oil and coconut oil. Can you please let me know if the coconut milk can be added in the end to avoid this scene?


  28. Mridula
    C. Milk cannot be added in the end as it is what makes the gravy. Did you stir the c. milk well and add it ?

  29. Yep I did :(. Actually when we make chicken stew or vegetable stew in the Kerala style initially the light coconut milk is used and in the end the thick coconut milk is poured to thicken the gravy and it is taken off the heat.

    Thats why I was wondering if the same can be done here as well :) But I relish your recipes and it helps me a lot to bring around variety to my day to day cooking. Ami khetey ebong khawatey bhishon bhalobashi :)

  30. Thanks a lot - now a got a treat for my husband on his birthday - was getting extremely confused with the other variations on net - this is definitely all Bong Mom's style

  31. thanks a lot - this will be a real treat for my husband on his birthday - was getting a lot of recipes on the net - just didn't get "Ma's preparation style"

  32. Cooked this recipe for bijoya and withing minutes i saw it being disappearing from ppl's plate. :)

    Think now even i can immitate the rich aroma , which use to welcome us in ma's kitchen.

    Thanks a ton for the wonderful rocks!

  33. Hi,

    I tumbled onto ur blog while googling for the recipe of Chingrimacher malaikari. I am a BONG currently living in shanghai & I just LOVE your recipes..Pls continue posting.

  34. Hi sandeepa,
    I was searching for recipe with pictures of shrimp malaikari and found your blog. Khub sundor lekhata. I am giving this link to my american friend as she asked me for the recipe.keep up the good work..

  35. Dear Sandeepa,
    Thank you for this recipe. Can you tell me the measurements for the oil and for the chili powder?
    Beautiful pictures!
    Thank you,

  36. Danielle

    I don't measure out the Oil :(, I am used to the Indian way of cooking from instinct.
    I suggest you start with a little and add sccordingly.

    The R. Chiili powder would be according to your taste, so add maybe less than 1/4 tsp and see if you can bear the heat

  37. Hi Sandeepadi,
    I am a very naive cook at least in terms of these delicacies....I wanted your suggestion regarding what kind of prawn would be best for this dish, I mean bagda or golda, size, if you can name any brand here which would be the best.
    I am going to make it, going to give it a sincere effort.
    Thank you

  38. thanks for the recipe, was having a craving for the dish for a few days now. will try it out as soon as I go home from work.

  39. As I am a ghati I prefer to add tomatoes and a lil more sugar to the recipie mentioned above...after all chingri macher malaikari is originally a ghati recipie

  40. I remember my mother adds sour cream in “chingri machher malai curry”. Is not the name "malai" curry came from malai or curd or yogurt...?? However I guess your recipe was definitely delicious and just not adding sour cream will not let the taste down.

  41. Anon

    Malai is because as far as I know due to use of Coconut Milk in this dish.
    Sour cream is not a native ingredient in the country(India) which this originated. Also yogurt/curd is NOT added to this dish as there is already coconut milk which adds the creaminess

    That aside Mom's cooking is best and I am sure what your Mom did added more taste to the already delicious dish

  42. i tried out d recipe turned out family reallt enjoyed it,,,,thank u so much

  43. Thanks for sharing the recipe...just my 2 pence..i know its not a very authentic way of going about it but if you add some pureed tomatoes to this then it makes a lot of difference to the taste without losing the delicate balance of the dish.Toss it in after you are done sauteing the onion,ginger,garlic etc.

    Also, the coconut milk is best added at the very end because then the flavor is retained and it does not need much cooking anyways.

    Bon Appetit! :)

  44. Savvychic

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    We like it better this way

  45. Hi Sandeepa,
    I tried the recipe today .It was awesome .
    Thanks :)
    Tirthankar Ray

  46. Issh apu, dekhei ki j bhalo lagche. Ami kal e eta ranna korbo ar amar blog e apnar naam die ekta post debo. Thank you so much.



  47. Your recipe seems so sensible (compared to what my Dida demonstrated for me a couple of decades ago) that I have chosen to try it for tomorrow's lunch. I'm hosting an all Bengali lunch for my Greek friends. As a Bengali girl married to a Greek man, I have seen my fair share of irresistible ethnic delicacies. Your blog is a good repository for my side of the family. Keep it up.

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Hi... it really feels good to turn to your recipes when we get bored of eating regular stuff... am a single guy staying in NY with mostly Telugu friends... I really like you write -ups uniquely different from others.... and also love the delicious pics....

    A huge thank for your posts....

  50. Shrimp malaikari was and a friend cooked it together and this is best and only shrimp malaikari I have cooked so far...:-) I hope to make a lot more since this turned out so delicious... Thanks a lot!

  51. Thanks for this recipe. It will make my Bong hubby happy. I was wondering if you have any prawn dishes with mustard seed. I remember having something, maybe fish, maybe prawn with mustard and it was good. I'd love to find out what it was and recreate it for said hubby.Thanks!

  52. Hi Sandeepa Didi...

    I tried this recipe step and step and you wont believe, my husband loved and relished each and every drop of the gravy....The color, the flavor and the exact balance of coconut with spices.. simply awesome !!

    Thanks a bunch for teaching me this... Now I wont be the dumb person who does not know how to make nice "chingudi tarkaari" (I am from Orissa)...

    Am planning to totally make this for my family when I go to India.. Hope I wont mess anything there.. am taking a print out of this recipe with me..

    And yes.. this one goes into my recipe collection too.. Thanks again...

  53. I really liked your preparation and the way you brought it out. Will surely try it out and let u know.

  54. Hey sandeepa, I hav used so many of ur recipes to make my mom and hubby happy :) thanks a my non bong husband has started appreciating bong food :)

  55. Sandeepa,I love cooking myself and have come to using your blogs as a sort of reference check :-). Like the easy humour in your writing.

  56. Great site...!! & great help!!

  57. Yummy chingri macher malaicurry....thank you for the great recipe. Your recipes are healthy :), simple and veryyy delicious...kolkata ke miss korchi..onek onek dhonnobad

  58. Sandeepa, im a bong and a foodie (so whats new !!!)

    stumbled on your site while looking for chingrimacher malaicurry and im over the moon to have found "Bong Moms Cookbook"- subscribed straightaway..

    your malaicurry recipe is so easy to make and yummm. i specially liked the added subtle flavor of garlic !!!

    thanx a ton and do keep posting. your effort adds a whole new dimension to my repertoire and ive got to thank you for that. god bless



  59. I am already hungry,.,Chinri Macher Malai curry is one of my favorite Bong food :D Will make it this weekend.,.,Haven't had it for like close to 3 years now

  60. Thanks so much for the recipe. Cooked it for the first tym, following ur method, did away with the turmeric altogether. Still turned out butifully...

  61. excellent dish.....i tried it and it came out very well....

  62. Saw the begun chingri post, but chose to make this, with fresh coriander leaves added to the onions while making it a paste. Gave a nice color to the dish, and tasted good too.

  63. This is almost how my mom makes it but instead of onion and ginger paste, she put 'aadaa pyajer rosh' - grinds and then squeezes out the juice.
    Was going to make it today - hence was checking sequence of events.

  64. I just made this for dinner! Super hit! Thanks a lot for the recipe!

  65. i am going to make this in forth coming holi

  66. I am a single guy who loves to eat.... Not to mention bong food. Hence I love to cook as well. So I am glad I stumbled upon this page and definitely bookmarking it. Looking forward to more delightful and unadulterated pleasures from your cuisine.

  67. I am a single guy who loves to eat.... Not to mention bong food. Hence I love to cook as well. So I am glad I stumbled upon this page and definitely bookmarking it. Looking forward to more delightful and unadulterated pleasures from your cuisine.

  68. I am a single guy who loves to eat.... Not to mention bong food. Hence I love to cook as well. So I am glad I stumbled upon this page and definitely bookmarking it. Looking forward to more delightful and unadulterated pleasures from your cuisine.

  69. I am a single guy who loves to eat.... Not to mention bong food. Hence I love to cook as well. So I am glad I stumbled upon this page and definitely bookmarking it. Looking forward to more delightful and unadulterated pleasures from your cuisine.


    i think the prawn malai curry pic is stolen from your site.

  71. I am an 18 year old and you have simplified the recipe so much that even i did this dish at home with ease.

  72. Hi
    I tried this recipe and followed it exactly as per instructions. Though it tasted ok, the consistency was not at all creamy but watery. Not sure why coz I added the same amount of water as the recipe said and boiled the coconut milk enough too. Even the color was a browny gravy rather than yellow, though I added enough turmeric.


    1. I think your Coconut Milk might be the problem. Did you use canned or fresh ? The Coconut milk itself is very thick and creamy and simmering some more would only make the gravy thicker. Also no way can it be brown with turmeric since there are no other spices.
      If you see through the comments you will see that many people have made it and it has turned out wonderful for all. So I think something went wrong with the coconut milk.

  73. Thanks. I did use canned milk. Maybe it was the brand then! Will give it another shot. :)

    1. Also shake the can before using and make sure the c.milk is pure white and thick.

  74. cooking prawn malai curry for a shoot tomorrow and quickly came here to double check after the posto controversy...

  75. Thank you for the recipe .i tried it once & followed the same cooking method.moreover, the ingredients are so easy to find.everyone liked it very much & thanked you.i going to try it again tomorrow.

  76. your instructions were hard to follow, not very detailed measurements

    1. Naaah, that is not how I cook. I guess all the others who could follow it were intelligent creatures like moi :)

  77. Can u pls post this receipe .actually I make it before couple of times and my friends like it so much . It is just awesome.but I need to make this on this wknd .so I need this receipe very badly.pls pls help me out by posting this receipe.plssssss

  78. What is your e-mail ? i will send you the recipe

  79. Hi my email is pls send me the receipe.i m a big fan of this site and I need the upcoming book too.on last win I tried chingrir dhan Chana Dan .omg it's just amazing .cant explain.pls send me this receipe.i have to make this on this wknd on a baby shower.pls pls sandeepadi.

  80. Hi can you please email this recipe to
    Thanks a lot

  81. I also want this recipe on my email as I can not see the recipe completely here. My email ID is Plz send me the recipe, plz plz plz

  82. please send me this recipe on . I made it sometime earlier and it turned out too good. can't wait to recreate it again.

  83. Hi,

    Your recipes make me look forward to getting back from work and get started on one of your signature dishes !! Can`t wait to try out your prawn malaikari. Can you please email the recipe to me at . Waiting way too eagerly for it ! :) :)

  84. Hello,
    I would also liek to request for your recipe of Shrimp Malakairi. I bought this dish yesterday and even with teh spicy flavor my kids loved it. I would liek to add this dish as a weekly staple in our home. Thank you.

  85. Would you be kind enough to share this recipe back with your readers once more? This being a Bong favorite would much be appreciated.

  86. trophy wife in US making up for her loneliness. With husband gone for work....there has to be some way to kill time.....and like any other from typical bengali family....always flaunting that US is THE place.....well...its not...I live in Europe and trust me Europe is culturally, socially and environmentally far far for your easy availability of processed food....thats the last thing i want to have.....

    1. Err hello, who is lonely here I ask ? Are you a trophy wife ? Wow, good for you and your spouse. Be happy, don't be lonely.

    2. LOL :)

      hey Bong Mom... don't heed such comments... such people are frustrated and vent it out towards good people like you :)

  87. This is a sure keep..big hit :) thanks for introducing to Bengali cuisine..

  88. I prepared the dish and it became bitter. Do you know why did it happen? I used chopped onion.

    1. Was the Coconut milk ok ? Can't think of anything else

  89. If you add more ginger paste than what is required then your malaikari will become bitter. I learnt this the hard way

  90. I should thank you after the awesome dinner I cooked tonight.. My American roommates Kelsey and Charles enjoyed it too - they enjoyed the smell more, as always.. We're totally satiated after that awesome chingri maach'er malaikari! I made Ma sit in front of the laptop halfway around the world in Kolkata, and follow my culinary movements around my own kitchen here in Florida and watch me cook.. she was so proud! :) Thank you Bong Mom!

  91. Can you please tell me how much coconut milk is needed? What you mean by 1 can is not clear to me. An exact measurement will be really helpful. I am going to try this recipe tomorrow. Thank you..


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