Chingri Malaikari: My Ma’s recipe

Chingri Malaikari: My Ma's recipe

This week at Kolkata Food Bloggers is dedicated to Poila Baishakh or the Bengali New Year. The KFBians have been busy whipping up yummies which will be a part of their Poila Baishakh celebrations with their friends and family.

It is funny how much the food that you have grown up eating spells ‘comfort food’. Be it ‘Kalai er Daal’ or ‘Alu Posto’ or plain old ‘Alu Chhokka’ – nothing is more comforting than Ma’s cooking. I was thrilled the first time I recreated one of my Ma’s recipes and it turned out exactly the same, well almost. It immediately transported me back to my childhood and  how beautiful it was – the days of long summer vacations filled with laughter and fun-filled winter vacations and with no apparent sense of loss. Like one of my friends rightly said – “Birthdays and getting old are not so bad, except I didn’t want any of our family elders to leave us and the little ones to grow up so fast!”

  • Shrimps – 14-15 pieces, medium, cleaned, deveined with the tail on
  • Onion – 2 tbsp, grated (fry your onions first and then make a paste if it turns bitter on grating or in the mixer)
  • Garlic – 1 tsp, grated
  • Tomato – 1 tbsp, grated
  • Oil – 1 tbs
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cardamom – 2, split open
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Paprika or Kashmiri Mirch – 1/2 tsp (optional, for marinating the shrimps)
  • Turmeric – 1/4 for the gravy + 1/2 tsp for marinating the shrimps.
  • Garam Masala – a fat pinch, powdered ((1 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamom pods, 3 cloves – powdered fine using a mortar pestle or spice grinder.) 
  • Coconut Milk (thick) – 3 tbs
  • Water – few tablespoons
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar – 1/4 tsp
I followed my Ma’s recipe for the better part. The only difference is she that she does not always add grated tomato.  I even made tomato paste my Ma’s way – boiled one tomato in water and then chilled it for a minute in ice cold water. The skin will get all wrinkly and come off easily. Then grated it. 

Chingri Malaikari: My Ma's recipe
Marinate the shrimps with turmeric, a pinch of paprika, a dash of lemon juice and salt. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. Lightly fry the shrimps till golden brown and keep those aside. I sometimes like to add the uncooked shrimp directly to the gravy and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes before taking it off the heat.
In a pan heat oil and temper it with whole Garam Masala (cinnamon, cloves and cardamom) and bay leaf. Once the Garam Masala starts sizzling, add the onion and garlic paste and cook till the raw smell is gone. Spoon in the grated tomato carefully (it will splatter) and cook for few minutes till the oil separates. Now add the paprika (if using), turmeric, salt and sugar and cook for another minute of so. Now the coconut milk goes in. Fold it in gently till the cooked masala is nicely incorporated. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes and then add as much water needed to reach the right consistency.
Once it starts simmering add the shrimps back in. Let the shrimps do their thing for a minute (or three if adding raw shrimps). Sprinkle the powdered Garam Masala and take it off the heat.

Serve with plain white rice or Mishti Pulao.

I am sending this Kolkata Food Bloggers’ Bengali New Year event 

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