Give me a recipe for Chingri Malaikari and I’m going to make it. The idea of pink prawns floating around in a fiery-sweet silky curry is too much for me to resist. This Bengali preparation is always on my order list whenever I go to Oh! Calcutta, Bhojohori Manna or Esplanade. I can’t really say which one is my favorite because each time I eat it, I am lost in the delicate flavours of this exquisite curry.
The earlier recipe for this on my blog, was from a Bengali. This one is too, but it’s quicker to make with no compromise on flavour. So if I’m strapped for time – this is the one I pick. Then there’s always the debate of frozen vs. fresh prawns – I say just use whatever you get your hands on. Most Bengali’s will make a special trip to the fish market and get the largest king prawns they can find. If you are eager to replicate the real deal, I’d say a trip to the market is worth it. But don’t sweat it, I’ve used frozen prawns and the curry is just as delectable.
What will you serve this with? If you manage to find the short grain fragrant Ghobindobhog rice – you are guaranteed a trip to heaven. If not, Jeera Sambhar comes close. The third option is a Basmati Rice that you can temper with ghee – a take on the Ghee Bhaat that is served at Bengali weddings. I don’t think the Bengali’s garnish this with coriander, but I couldn’t resist the added colour and flair that it gives the dish. And finally – the coconut milk. All hell breaks loose on this topic, but I’m going to say it –coconut milk from a can works just fine if you don’t have time to extract one from a real coconut. I usually split the contents into two parts and dilute one part equally with water to be used as second press milk and the thick part as first press milk.
I think people are too puritan in their cooking these days and fail to understand that a meal is only as good as how it feels on your palate. So go ahead and play around till it suits yours.