Prawn Malai Curry


Bangladeshis are known for their seafood recipes, and Prawn (Chingri in Bengali) Malai Curry is an iconic prawn recipe that is unique in its flavours. Using coconut cream and a mix of spices, prawns are elevated to another level! Best served with rice, this dish will introduce you to the subtlety of Bangladeshi cuisine. 

I don’t know if I’ve said this already but my mother is an incredible cook. Now I know everyone justifiably thinks their mother is a great cook, but my mom is ALWAYS complimented on her culinary creations. She can cater to the pickiest of taste buds and leave everyone satisfied. She is currently in Sydney with me and I’ve been trying really hard to not get fat with her delicious concoctions. She’s also been trying really hard to come up with new dishes each day that will not hurt our waistline, poor thing!

I always have a list of recipes that I want my mother to make for me whenever she is in town. This time’s no different. For those of you who know me, I am not a fan of savoury coconut milk dishes. Yes, that means I am quite picky when it comes to South East Asian recipes, but I’m much more open minded than I used to be! Beef Rendang is my favourite coconut milk braised dish, and the other one is a Bengali dish that I grew up with – Prawn Malai Curry. Prawn (Chingri in Bengali) Malai Curry is a popular dish in Bangladesh and Calcutta, India. Malai translates to ‘cream’ but the creaminess in this dish comes from coconut cream/milk. Coconut is not often used in savoury Bengali dishes, but this one is an exception. The depths of flavour in this dish are incredible and it helps to know that it isn’t as unhealthy as it seems (coconut milk is good for you after all!).

This dish is not usually found in menus of the few Bangladeshi restaurants that exist, and I must also let you know that Bengali flavours have a completely different flavour profile to Indian dishes. Which is why I urge you to try this delightfully unique prawn recipe! It’s best served with plain rice or pulao (recipe coming soon). This recipe is my mother’s. Enjoy a bit of Bengal and memories of your mother’s cooking through this dish!

Prawn Malai Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Prawn (Chingri in Bengali) Malai Curry is a Bengali dish where prawns are braised in a rich coconut gravy. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bengali
Servings: 3 people
Prawn marinade
  • 12 prawns shelled and deveined
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup onion paste
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 2 + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ghee
  • 2 green chilies slit
  1. Marinate prawns with 1 pinch turmeric powder and chili powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside for 5 minutes. 

  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan and lightly fry prawns for 1 minute on each side. 

  3. Add 2 tbsp oil to same pan, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, onion paste, ginger/garlic paste and 2 tbsp water. Saute well for 1 minute. 

  4. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder and 1/2 tsp garam masala, and saute another 30 seconds. 

  5. Add coconut cream. Bring to boil and add prawns (turn down heat). 

  6. Add salt, sugar, lemon juice, chillies and ghee. Stir, cover on low for 5 minutes. 

  7. Drain excess oil from coconut cream and serve hot. Enjoy! 


Watch how to make Prawn Malai Curry 

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