On the menu for the last two days were Samosa and the Bengali Fish Fry. (Recipes on blog post Samosa for Panchami and ‘The’ Fry for Sasthi)
Saptami: Day 7 of Durga Pujo follows.
The menu on Saptami has always, as far as I can remember, included fish or meat – or both. Saptami is followed by Asthami (Day 8) is a strictly vegetarian day. Heaven forbid if we were asked to eat vegetarian for a straight 48 hours – there would likely be an uproar!
Prawns are a delicacy back home in India. They are not as reasonably priced as they are in this part of the world, partly because the prawns produced in West Bengal are largely slated for export. Whatever is left behind tends to be sold at sky high prices in local markets. It’s a sorry state of affairs, this whole import/export business – leaves the hungry hungrier. But, Durga Pujo is a very special time and folks make sacrifices to eat what they love.
On the Saptami menu is Malai Curry, the showcase dish of the Bengalees. A dish that speaks for itself in its use of prawns cooked in spices and coconut milk – the way a curry in Malaysia is traditionally cooked. This dish has seen the life and times of the Calcutta cuisine evolve over time to adapt to the taste and palate of the Bengalees. Succulent prawns are simmered in mild spices with slightly sweet – and delightfully creamy – coconut milk. It’s great with basmati rice cooked with cumin and peas.
Traditionally, large-size prawns are cooked with the head left on for this recipe. The heads impart the signature flavour of the dish and are traditionally sucked and chewed when eating until all the juices are happily devoured.
Prawn Malai Curry
- Prawn: 2 lbs with tail
- Onion: 1/2 medium size
- Ginger: 2 tbsp fresh ground
- Garlic: 3 tbsp fresh ground
- Dried Red Chilli: 2
- Bay Leaf: 2 whole
- Cardamom: 5 crushed slightly
- Cloves: 6
- Cinnamon stick: 2 inch
- Coconut Cream: 1/2 cup
- Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
- Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
- Ghee: 1/2 cup
- Salt:to taste
- Sugar: 1 tsp
- Devain, wash and drain prawns. I prefer the shell on which makes the curry more flavourful. Keep the tail.
- Puree onion, ginger and garlic together.
- Heat ghee in pan. Add cumin seeds and let cook till it starts to sizzle. Add dried red chillis, bay leaf, cardamom, clove and cinnamon. Fry on low heat till the aroma is released.
- Add onion, garlic and ginger paste and keep cooking on low heat till the oil separates. This could take a good 10 – 15 mins. The more you stir the smoother the gravy will be.
- Add the chilli and turmeric powder along with 1 to 2 tbsp of water and stir to incorporate. Cook on low heat by stirring continuously until water evaporates.
- Add the coconut cream and increase heat to medium. Add some water to bring the consistency of the gravy to your likeness. Traditionally it is quite runny but I prefer a bit of thickness. I usually add about half a cup of water.
- when the gravy starts boiling add salt to taste, add sugar and the prawns.
- Increase heat and stir to incorporate the prawns with the gravy. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to minimum, cover and let boil for about 5 mins or so, stirring once or twice.
- Serve hot with basmati rice.
This looks delicious!
My favourite! 😀
Looks gorgeous 🙂
Chingri malai curry amake khob bhalo lage. Eta dekhte aanek bhalo lagche :))
I love those last photos where you’ve cupped them in a wee bed of.. is it cabbage or lettuce? Very pretty!
Thank you! I find any kind of curry so hard to style and photograph. Couldn’t think of anything else…they are cabbage leaves used as a prop.
It sure worked! It added a pretty pop of color! Curry is indeed tough!!
I was hesitating about this post but I had already announced on FB page so I felt I just had to keep my words. Glad you think it is pretty, makes me feel a bit better.
I agree, Beautifully photographed.
Thank you Mylana!
Beautiful pictures, delicious dish!
Thank you Judy!
This looks so delicious. I don’t have all the ingredients but I’d love to make a variation of this today. Love your recipes!
Thank you! Coconut and prawns are made for each other…any spice will enhance it. Hope you enjoy!
Looks utterly delicious :))
It is so! 🙂
This sounds delicious, and your presentation is so striking!
I was worried folks would think I use cabbage in the dish! I’m just glad it is seen as decoration as it is.
I’m making this soon!
I hope you like it! Let me know. 🙂
I would like to be part of a panel that tastes your foods! haha
That would mean you have to follow the recipe and cook it yourself so you can have a taste! 😀 Haha!
Thank you for visiting.
Very true… I need to start doing that!