Chingri Malai Curry Recipe | Prawn Malai Curry

5 from 1 vote
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Chingri Malai Curry or Prawn Malai Curry is a signature dish in Bengal.

The luscious look of this iconic Bengali treat may make you believe that it is very complicated to cook, but it is not.

Chingri Malai Curry has the word ‘malai’ in it. This word means cream in English.

Coconut milk gives the dish a creamy texture and the prawns are lazily cooked in the mildly sweet and rich silky sauce.

Chingri Malai Curry

Key Takeaways:

  • Prawn Malai Curry is an iconic Bengali dish known for its luscious and easy-to-cook nature.
  • Marinate large-sized prawns with salt and turmeric powder, then sauté them until golden brown.
  • Cook a mixture of onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, and tomato paste until flavors meld together.
  • Add thin coconut milk to create a silky gravy and simmer the prawns until cooked through.
  • Prawn Malai Curry offers a creamy texture with mildly sweet and rich flavors, showcasing the natural taste of prawns in a delightful way.

The Ingredients:

Chingri Malai Curry Ingredients

  • 6 Large size prawns (Cut and washed properly)
  • Onion paste (1 large size onion)
  • 1 and ½ tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
  • Tomato paste (1 large size tomato)
  • Coconut milk (1 medium size glass )
  • Whole spices (3 dry red chillies, 2 cinnamons, 5 cardamoms, 5 cloves and 1 tsp of cumin seeds)
  • 1 and ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of coloured red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil
  • Ghee

How to Cook Chingri Malai Curry (Step by Step Images)?

1. Cleaned prawns ready for marination.

Cleaned prawns ready for marination

2. Marinate prawns with salt and turmeric powder. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Marinate prawns with salt and turmeric powder

3. Heat mustard oil in a pan.

Heat mustard oil in a pan

4. Once hot, slide the prawns one by one.

Add prawns in the heated mustard oil

5. Sauté them on both sides. The longer you fry prawns, the harder they become.

Sauté prawns on both sides

6. Take them out on a plate.

remove prawns on a plate

7. Add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil to the same pan.

adding more mustard oil to the same pan

8. Add the whole spices. Sauté them on medium heat.

Sauté whole spices on medium heat

9. Add onion paste. Fry till light brown.

Adding onion paste and frying till light brown

10. Add tomato paste.

Adding tomato paste in the cooking pan

11. Add ginger-garlic paste.

Add ginger-garlic paste

12. Add half-cup of thin, second-press of coconut milk to prepare gravy.

adding coconut milk to prepare gravy

13. Add salt, powdered spices and stir well.

Add salt, powdered spices and stir well step by step image

14. When oil separates from the paste and spice mixture, add coconut milk.

When oil separates from the paste and spice mixture, add coconut milk step by step image

15. After the gravy comes to a boil, add the prawns.

After the gravy comes to a boil, add the prawns step by step image

16. Cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala powder and sugar.

Sprinkle garam masala powder and sugar on prawn malai curry

17. Simmer the curry for 5 minutes more until a creamy texture is achieved.

Simmer the curry for 5 minutes more until a creamy texture is achieved

18. Finish it off with 1 tsp of ghee and a pinch of garam masala powder.

Finish it off with 1 tsp of ghee and a pinch of garam masala powder and chingri malai curry is ready.

Pro Tips for Cooking Prawn Malai Curry

Here are some pro tips to enhance your cooking experience and ensure a delicious Prawn Malai Curry:

Choose Fresh Prawns: Opt for fresh and high-quality prawns to ensure the best flavor and texture in your curry. Look for prawns that are firm, have a pleasant smell, and are properly cleaned.

Devein the Prawns: Before marinating the prawns, make sure to devein them. Deveining involves removing the dark vein that runs along the back of the prawn. This step improves the presentation and taste of the curry.

Proper Marination: Marinate the prawns with salt and turmeric powder for about 10 minutes. This not only enhances the flavor but also helps in tenderizing the prawns.

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Sauté Prawns Carefully: When sautéing the prawns, make sure not to overcook them. Overcooking can result in tough and rubbery prawns. Sauté them on both sides until they turn golden brown, which should take a few minutes.

Balancing Flavors: Achieving the perfect balance of flavors is crucial for a delicious Prawn Malai Curry. Adjust the amount of spices, salt, and sugar according to your taste preferences. Start with smaller quantities and gradually add more as needed.

Coconut Milk Consistency: When adding coconut milk to the curry, make sure to use a thin or second-press coconut milk to create a silky and light gravy. Reserve thicker coconut milk for garnishing or adding richness at the end.

Spice it Up: Feel free to customize the spice level of your curry by adjusting the amount of chili powder and red chili powder. Add more for a spicier curry or reduce it for a milder version.

Simmer for Creaminess: Simmer the curry for a few minutes after adding the prawns to allow the flavors to meld together and for the curry to achieve a creamy consistency. This step enhances the overall taste and richness of the dish.

Garnish with Ghee and Garam Masala: For a final touch of flavor and aroma, finish off the Prawn Malai Curry with a teaspoon of ghee and a pinch of garam masala powder. This adds a delightful richness to the dish.

By following these pro tips, you can elevate the flavors and textures of your Prawn Malai Curry, ensuring a delightful culinary experience.

What to Serve with Prawn Malai Curry?

To complement the flavors and textures of the curry, here are some delicious options to serve alongside:

Steamed Basmati Rice: The fragrant and fluffy basmati rice pairs well with the creamy curry. Its neutral taste allows the flavors of the curry to shine.

Naan or Roti: Soft and freshly made naan or roti bread is perfect for scooping up the luscious curry sauce. They provide a nice contrast in texture and can be used to mop up every last bit of the curry.

Pulao: A fragrant and mildly spiced pulao, such as a vegetable pulao or a coconut rice, can be an excellent accompaniment. The aromatic rice complements the flavors of the prawn curry.

With these accompaniments, you can create a well-rounded and satisfying meal featuring Prawn Malai Curry as the star. Enjoy!

How Does Prawn Malai Curry Taste?

Prawn Malai Curry is known for its delicious and distinct taste. The combination of succulent prawns cooked in a creamy and mildly sweet coconut milk sauce creates a delightful flavor profile. Here are some characteristics of the taste of Prawn Malai Curry:

Creamy: The dish gets its creaminess from the coconut milk used in the curry. It adds a smooth and velvety texture to the sauce, coating the prawns and enhancing their natural flavors.

Mildly Sweet: The coconut milk imparts a subtle sweetness to the curry, balancing the spices and adding a hint of richness to the dish. The sweetness is not overpowering but rather complements the savory elements.

Subtle Coconut Flavor: The use of coconut milk infuses the curry with a gentle coconut aroma and flavor. It adds a tropical touch to the dish, enhancing the overall taste experience.

Savory and Spicy Undertones: While Prawn Malai Curry is not typically a spicy dish, it may contain mild spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic, which provide a savory and aromatic base. The spices enhance the flavor of the prawns without overpowering their delicate taste.

Fresh Seafood Taste: Prawns are the star ingredient in this curry, and their natural sweetness and briny taste shine through. The creamy sauce envelops the prawns, allowing their flavors to blend harmoniously with the other ingredients.

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Overall, Prawn Malai Curry offers a harmonious balance of creamy, mildly sweet, and savory flavors.

It is a comforting and satisfying seafood dish that showcases the natural sweetness and delicate taste of prawns, while the creamy coconut milk sauce adds richness and depth to the overall flavor profile.

Prawn Malai Curry Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Prawn Malai Curry, here are some delicious seafood curry options you can explore:

Prawn Curry: A classic and versatile dish, prawn curry is made with succulent prawns cooked in a flavorful and aromatic gravy. It can be prepared in various regional styles, such as Goan prawn curry, Kerala prawn curry, or Thai prawn curry.

Malai Prawns: In this dish, prawns are the star ingredient and are cooked in a luscious and creamy sauce made with coconut milk, cream, or both. It offers a similar creamy and indulgent experience to Prawn Malai Curry.

Daab Chingri: This is a traditional Bengali dish where prawns are cooked inside a green coconut shell along with a flavorful mix of spices and coconut. The coconut imparts a unique aroma and taste to the dish, making it a delightful alternative to Prawn Malai Curry.

Prawn Ghee Roast: Originating from the coastal region of Mangalore in India, Prawn Ghee Roast features prawns marinated in a blend of fiery spices and roasted in ghee (clarified butter). It offers a spicy and tangy flavor profile, different from the creamy notes of Prawn Malai Curry.

Prawn Masala: This dish involves cooking prawns with a blend of aromatic spices and a tomato-onion base. It results in a rich and flavorful curry that pairs well with rice or bread.

Prawn Fry: If you prefer a crispy and dry preparation, prawn fry is a great alternative. Marinated prawns are shallow or deep-fried until golden and crispy. It can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Chili Prawn: For those who enjoy a spicy kick, chili prawns are a popular choice. Prawns are stir-fried with an assortment of peppers, onions, garlic, and chili sauce, creating a spicy and tangy dish.

These alternatives provide a range of flavors and cooking styles to suit your preferences.

Whether you prefer a creamy curry, a spicy preparation, or a dry and crispy dish, there are plenty of options to explore with prawns as the main ingredient.

Recipe Card

Chingri Malai Curry

Chingri Malai Curry (Prawn Malai Curry)

By Mita Mondal
Chingri Malai Curry is a popular dish from Bengal, a region in eastern India known for its rich and flavorful cuisine. It is a creamy prawn curry cooked in a mildly-spiced coconut milk.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 212 kcal


  • 6 pieces Large size prawns (cut and washed properly)
  • 1 cup Coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoon Onion paste
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 piece Tomato (large tomato pasted)
  • 3 pieces Dry red chillies
  • 2 pieces Cinnamons
  • 5 pieces Cardamoms
  • 5 pieces Cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coloured red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon Garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 3 tablespoon Mustard oil
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee


  • Marinate the prawns with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder, and set them aside for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat a pan and add mustard oil, allowing it to become hot.
  • Carefully place the marinated prawns into the pan, one by one.
  • Sauté the prawns on both sides until they turn a golden brown color. Remember not to overcook them, as this can result in a tougher texture.
  • Once done, transfer the sautéed prawns to a plate.
  • In the same pan, add two tablespoons of mustard oil.
  • Add the whole spices and sauté them over medium heat to release their flavors.
  • Incorporate the onion paste into the pan and fry until it turns light brown.
  • Add the tomato paste and ginger-garlic paste, stirring them into the mixture.
  • Pour in half a cup of thin, second-pressed coconut milk to create the gravy.
  • Add salt and the powdered spices, and stir the mixture well.
  • Continue cooking until the oil starts separating from the paste and spice mixture. This will enhance the flavors.
  • Once the oil separates, pour in the remaining coconut milk.
  • Bring the gravy to a boil and then add the sautéed prawns.
  • Cook the prawns in the curry for about 5 minutes, allowing them to absorb the flavors.
  • Sprinkle garam masala powder and sugar into the curry, further enhancing its taste.
  • Simmer the curry for an additional 5 minutes until it reaches a creamy texture.
  • For the final touch, add a teaspoon of ghee and a pinch of garam masala powder, giving the dish a rich aroma and flavor.


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Adjust the spiciness of the curry by increasing or decreasing the amount of red chili powder and green chilies according to your taste.
If you prefer a thicker gravy, you can simmer the curry for a few more minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
Fresh coconut milk is preferable for a rich and authentic flavor, but you can also use canned coconut milk if fresh is not available.
You can marinate the prawns with a little turmeric and salt before adding them to the curry for extra flavor.
Be cautious not to overcook the prawns, as they can become tough and chewy. 

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Chingri Malai Curry (Prawn Malai Curry)
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Prawn Malai Curry is an authentic Bengali dish that is truly unforgettable and a must-have on special occasions, especially when high-quality prawns are available.

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The creaminess of the Malai and the succulent taste of the prawns make it a dish that will leave a lasting impression.

It is best enjoyed with a generous serving of steamed rice, as the flavors complement each other perfectly.

However, if you want to indulge in a truly royal experience, pairing the prawn curry with fragrant pulao will elevate the meal to new heights.

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