Chingri Malai Kari – Bengali King Prawn Coconut Curry

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My brother and I grew up loathing fish. Strange really, as we grew up in a household of seafood lovers. Whenever Mum would fix up Dad’s favourites of fish pakoras, salmon tikka or king prawn curry, Aj and I would grimace and hold our noses pretending to make dying noises, as we walked past the kitchen. As I said… we were not fans!

Annoyingly we both really wanted to like seafood – especially my brother. So much so, that he even tried hypnosis (this actually proved to be quite successful until he had an undesirable experience with a fish bone but that’s another story for another time). I opted for the more traditional approach and began by trying the “least fishy” dish out there. Fish and chips obviously. Beer battered deep fried fish accompanied with chips and lashings of salt and vinegar (and to the disgrace of southerners, curry sauce)… what was not to like?? From then on, I slowly progressed and have now become more adventurous with my fishy choices. 

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Marrying into a Bengali family has also helped. Hubby’s family hail from West Bengal which is famously known as the land of maach (fish) and bhaat (rice). Bengalis share an irrevocable relationship with these two foods that are a staple in almost every household. My mother in law is an excellent cook (I’m not just saying that in-case she reads my blog) so it’s become even easier to embrace the deliciousness that is, dare I say it, fish!

Today’s recipe is inspired by dinnertime at the in-laws and is an absolute Bengali classic. Uber satisfying devoured with steaming hot basmati rice, Chingri Malaikari is a creamy, spicy, coconuty delight to eat. Oh and tip – the bigger and juicer the prawn you can get, the better. Enjoy! x 

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CHINGRI MALAIKARI – BENGALI KING PRAWN COCONUT CURRY
Serves 2
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Prawn preparation
  1. 12 King Prawns (de-veined and de-shelled)
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  4. 1 tsp paprika powder
For the gravy/masala
  1. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 2 tbsp mustard oil (optional, can use vegetable oil)
  3. 2 tbsp ghee (optional)
  4. 1" cinnamon stick
  5. 3 cloves
  6. 4 peppercorns
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  9. 1 small onion, finely diced
  10. 2"ginger, grated
  11. 2 cloves garlic, grated
  12. 2 bird eye green chillis, vertically sliced in halves
  13. 1 tsp salt
  14. 1/2 tsp paprika
  15. 1 tsp garam masala
  16. 1/4 tsp sugar
  17. 300ml coconut milk
  18. water
Instructions
  1. Place prawns in a bowl. Sprinkle on the salt, turmeric and paprika and mix well.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, add the prawns and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn the prawns over and cook for a further 2 minutes. The prawns should be firm and white. Remove from the pan.
  3. Heat the mustard oil and ghee in the previously used pan. Once hot, add the cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf and cumin.
  4. When these whole spices begin to splatter, add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Now add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Add salt, paprika, turmeric, garam masala sugar and 2 tbsp water into a bowl and mix together to make a paste. Add this paste to the pan along with the green chillis and mix well.
  6. Now add the coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until it is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  7. Now add the prawns. Allow to simmer for a further 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat.
Notes
  1. If you do not have all of the whole spices, it does not matter - you can still make the dish without them!
  2. Be careful not overcook the prawns once you add them in the gravy as they can toughen and become rubbery.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Vegetarian Shahi Kofta Masala Recipe

Since The Spice Club’s feature on the Hairy Bikers, we have been inundated with requests for our Shahi Kofta Masala recipe which was shown on the episode. This is a delicious vegetarian dish that is made from fresh lotus root kofta balls cooked in a Punjabi masala and peas. You can also add paneer which adds a lovely texture and takes the dish to the another level! Fresh lotus root is usually available at most Indian and Chinese grocery shops. (If you can’t get fresh you can also get it in a tin). We have made this dish at a few of our supper clubs and we always receive rave reviews. Many guests comment on the “meaty” texture of the koftas and are surprised that it is actually vegetarian! So without further a do, check out the recipe below. Comments are always appreciated and if you make it, tweet a pic to @thespiceclub!

Serves 4

What we need: –

For the koftas:
1 lotus root (they usually come pre-packed and are about 10-12″ long)
2 tbsp gram flour (or enough to bind)
1 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
handful fresh coriander
Oil for frying

For the paneer (optional):
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp salt (or according to taste)

For the masala:
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 green chilli, finely chopped
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)
Water
2 tbsp cream (optional)

How we do:

  • To make the koftas, you can follow along the video clip starting at 4.53 onwards. Peel the lotus root and grate. Transfer it onto on a clean tea towel and wrap it up. Squeeze out the excess water and place the grated lotus root into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the spices and coriander (written in the kofta ingredient list above) to the grated lotus root and gradually add the gram flour until it binds into a mixture. If you require more gram flour to bind, sprinkle in some more as you go along. Roll into balls and deep fry until light golden in colour and set aside.
  • If you want to add paneer to the dish, (this is optional), heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non stick frying pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add the salt and turmeric powder. Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • To make the masala, In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and fresh coriander. Blitz until a coarse paste has been formed. Now heat olive oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to start sizzling. Now add the ground masala paste. Cook on medium heat until it turn, golden brown, stirring continuously. When you see the masala paste is nice and golden, add the plum tomatoes and mash well so it blends with the masala. Keep stirring and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the koftas and peas to the masala. (If you have made paneer you can add it to the masala now too).
  • Boil some water in a kettle. Add 4 cups of water to the kofta masala. Mix well. Place a lid on the pan and let it simmer for 8-12 minutes, stirring constantly. Check the salt and adjust accordingly. Drizzle the cream in just before serving and you’re done.
  • Here’s the final result. Best served with basmati rice or hot chappatis. Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken Masala

In today’s recipe I’ll be teaching you how to make chicken masala very simply and very quickly. Chicken masala (or chicken curry as it is more popularly known as) is THE classic party dish made at all Punjabi dinner parties. My brother and I used to get so excited when my Mum used to make this when we were younger-it was only made on Sundays when we had family get-togethers at my grandmother’s house or on special occasions. Served hot with basmati rice or fresh tandoori rotis, it is sure to go down well! Infact, it is particularly popular when served at The Spice Club. This version of the classic chicken curry recipe ensures the chicken is really succulent and flavourful as we marinade the chicken and roast it before adding the masala. It can sometimes be difficult when cooking boneless chicken in a tomato masala to make sure the chicken does not turn tough in texture, but this recipe does not fail in that department. It’s also a really straight forward recipe and is quick to make! Check it out:

Serves 2-4

What we need:

For the marination:
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bitesized cubes
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, grated
2″ ginger ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Handful chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
For Masala:
4 tbsp olive oil
4 whole cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 green cardomom pod
2 medium sized onions
3 cloves garlic
2″ ginger
1 green chilli
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tin plum tomato
1/2 cup fresh coriander
2 tbsp greek yoghurt

How we do:

  • Preheat oven to 250 C
  • In a bowl, mix the chicken with the all of the ingredients listed under “marination”.
  • Place marinaded chicken in an oven proof dish dish and place in oven. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Whilst the chicken is cooking, in a food processor, add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilli, salt, garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander powder and chilli powder.
  • At this point, turn the chicken over and cook for a further 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods to the oil. Once they begin to sizzle, add the processed masala paste.
  • Mix and cook until golden brown, constantly stirring every few minutes
  • Once golden, add the plum tomatoes and mix well. Continue to stir and cook until the oil separates from the masala.
  • Now add the chicken. Add the greek yoghurt and sprinkle on the fresh coriander and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice or chapatis. Enjoy 🙂