Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chingri Mach'er Malaikari ( Our Version ) -Prawns with coconut milk- চিংড়ি মাছের মালাইকারি

First month of a new year 2017, and even before I can realize, it’s about to wrap up fast. I haven’t briefed you all with New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.So, will write it all today. We went to central Kuala Lumpur and captured some of the beautiful moments through our smartphones. So below you will see couple of pics taken on 31st Dec 2016 capturing New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.

Welcoming 2017 

It was all crowded, decked up and people were enjoying rest of the hours that were left of 2016.

We also stopped by to the countdown to the New Year and watched fireworks lit up Kuala Lumpur skyline and Petronas towers.

Petronas Towers

Glowing and scattering its sheen in the dark, catching up moon’s natural light, Petronas tower looks magnificent in night light , shinning like a beautiful silver ornament.

There were other parts of street also decorated with glittering lighting.
And on 28th Jan, we observed here Chinese New Year-  this year  is ‘Rooster’ year.

Decorations in shopping malls during Chinese New Year

This also marks spring festival celebrations in Chinese communities. Irrespective of sects – Taoists, Confucians, Buddhist, Chinese people celebrate New Year where ever they are scattered in the world at this time. People flock back towards their home and re-unite with their families to observe Chinese New Year. Everyone celebrates by decorations with ‘duilian’ (a pair of scroll on which poetry is written) and giving red packets or ‘ang paow’ with money. 

Bright giant  Lanterns in shopping malls- mid-valley mall

Homes are decked up with bright lights and red lanterns. The whole atmosphere is all lit up with glorious red colour. The traditional dinner lines up on New Year’s Eve, and it’s very similar to ‘Thanks-giving’ celebrations in US.
All shopping malls are decorated. China town in Kuala Lumpur is a special buzzing place where one can see celebrations and also the Lion dance. Schools and offices, as usual are closed during these days in Malaysia.

A typical Cantonese Home on display- notice cycle at  corners

Now after all those introductions to Chinese New Year celebrations, it’s time to write about the recipe for today- Chingri Malaikari -Or prawns cooked with spices and coconut milk. There is a version of making it with ginger only and below is the version we make with onion+garlic+ginger+tomato paste.
Puritans would abstain from using tomato, as tomato in Bengali cuisine is a recent addition in making meat preparations. I don’t know much about ‘Ghoti’ version or ‘Bangal’ version, but this seems more to me a ‘Ghoti’ recipe. So, being a ‘Ghoti’ myself, I generally end up using sugar in the gravy. Now each variation, has its own charm and one should always follow what one likes to eat.

Here is how we make Chingri Malaikari with freshly grated coconut.

Chingri Malaikari (Prawns cooked with coconut milk) - Our way 

 চিংড়ি মাছের  মালাইকারি 

Recipe requirements

  •  600 Gms of XL shrimps or 10-12 prawns

  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • Salt as per taste for marinating prawns
  •  1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  •  1 ½ tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • ½ tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg powder
  •  1 tsp of sugar
  • 4-5 green chillies or 2-3 Thai red bird chillies
  • 2 and half cups of freshly grated coconut
  •  2-3 medium size onions
  • 4-5 fat cloves of garlic
  • Half inch ginger root
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 3-4 cloves
  •  2-3 green cardamoms
  • ½ inch cinnamon stick
  • 6-7  heaped tbs of mustard oil

Salt as per taste
 1 tsp of ghee

  • Cleaning shrimp/prawn is a tedious process.
  • Deshell all prawns or shrimp whatever you are using.
  • Keep the tail intact. Now if you want to keep the head, then do so, just take out the portions with eyes and tentacles. I am not that expert in cleaning head of big prawns (So, I ask fish-mongers in India to clean the head for me, and they are expert in cleaning the head. However here in KL, I do clean shrimp heads often and that is what generally I use for any chingri preparations)
  • There is a thread (actually it’s the vein of prawns which we need to discard) – darkish colour sometimes mud colour, which you have to take out. From the dorsal side make a cut in the one end near tail region– and take that thread out gently. After de-shelling and de-veining, clean prawns well in water.
  • Rub turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside in a bowl for 5-6 mints. Heat up a fry pan and shallow fry shrimps for about 2-3 mints at med-high or till they barely change colour. Take out and keep aside.
  • Now take 1 cup of freshly grated coconut and run through in mixer/grinder with 2 cups of water. Once all gets thoroughly grinded, add more water to it and filter out the coconut milk from its solids, squeeze the remaining coconut residues well to collect rest of the coconut milk. This will make our fresh coconut milk which we will be using in for the gravy.
  • Now chop onions, tomato, ginger and garlic finely.
  • Heat up a fry pan/kadai.Add in mustard oil.
  • Add in cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick.
  • Then add in finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Add in tomato pieces also.
  • Take all the spices (leaving behind cardamom+cinnamon+nutmeg powder) in a big bowl and mix in well with half a cup of water.
  • Add this spice mixture to the above and keep going stir/fry the whole things.
  • Add in tomato and sugar. Add in red Thai chillies slit in between. Add salt. Add in rest of the freshly grated coconut.
  • Now after 10-12 mints when all the spices, onions, ginger and garlic is properly fried. Take out and run through in mixer/grinder to make smooth spice paste.
  • Now add in bit of more mustard oil in the same pan and add in the above prepared paste, and fry through well. Adjust salt, sugar and hotness if required.
  • Now add in fried shrimp to the above and put the flame to low. Cover and let it cook for 7-8 mints.
  • Add in coconut milk and sprinkle cinnamon+cardamom+nutmeg powder or ‘garam masala’. Add in ghee at the end and cook further for 4-5 mints and take out chingri malaikari in a serving bowl. Enjoy with warm cooked rice.

Note- You can use a can of thick coconut milk. And also sometimes only ginger is added to make malaikari leaving onions+garlic+tomato.Please follow what ever you prefer in this recipe.

So tomorrow is Saraswati Puja.May Goddess Ma Saraswati bless us all with knowledge and wisdom. 

Shubho Basanta Panchami  - ''শুভ  বসন্ত  পঞ্চমী''  everyone.

Happy Cooking

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