If there is one dish which was my Mother’s signature dish that has to be “Chingri Macher Malaikari” as we Bengalis call it. A rich Prawn dish made in coconut gravy, mustard oil and spices. I never managed to learn the recipe from her, lost her too early in life, however my taste buds helped me to recreate the dish in my way. It’s never the same and I long for her version but as luck and life has it, its my version which is what we have now.
This is definitely a Bengali classic recipe served with rice or polau either on Sundays or on a special occasion.
During Indian independence Bengali Hindus from now Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) had to immigrate to now West Bengal and Muslims from West Bengal went to Bangladesh. Though both were Bengalis there were these differences based on food, language and culture which existed between them all through.The partition gave rise to the existence of the two categories of Bengalis–Bangals (East Bengali migrants) and Ghotis (natives of West Bengal) in present Bengal. My mother’s side of the family are Ghotis and father’s side are Bangals, and hence you can well imagine that I have grown up hearing both sides claiming supremacy over food, rituals and offcourse football. Hilsa (iilish) is claimed to be The fish for Bangals and Prawn (Chingri) is that of the Ghotis. My mother had equal command over all dishes from both sides though she always gave credit to her being a good cook to my paternal grand mother, (her mother in law) and my aunt (her elder co-sister), who mind you were true Bangals.
This dish in particular is a Ghoti dish but I can say without any inhibition that this is loved by Bengalis all over the world.
This is again a no measurement dish for me.
- Jumbo Prawn with head intact
- Mustard oil
- Freshly scrapped coconut paste
- Turmeric powder
- Onion paste
- Ginger paste
- Dried bay leaves
- Whole garam masala ( cardamom, cinnamon,clove, nutmeg)
- Green Chili
- Mustard paste
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- Clean the Prawn and marinate with Salt and Turmeric for 15 mins
- Stir fry them in hot oil. Don’t overdo it, just when it turns orange remove it from the oil
- Heat oil in a frying pan
- Add bay leave, whole garam masala, Green chili
- As soon as they start spluttering add onion paste
- Add a pinch of sugar in the onion paste and fry in low flame
- Add ginger paste
- Add turmeric, mustard paste and coconut paste and sauté for a 15 mins in low flame
- When you see the oil surfacing on the gravy add the fried prawns
- Add 2 cups of water, let it simmer for 10/15 mins
- Switch off the heat
- Add ghee and garam masala powder
- Close the lid and let it stay for 10 mins
- Garnish with green chili
- Serve it with your favourite steamed Gobindobhog ( a typical Bengali variety of rice) or Basmati rice