Creamy coconut prawn curry

Creamy coconut prawn curry

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

A special occasion curry inspired by the famous Bengali Chingri Malai speciality. It is essentially prawns, fresh coconut and a few rounding-out background flavours. This is my quick-and-easy version using canned coconut milk and creamed coconut to get that real coconut hit. If you are up for making your own, you need to extract one cup of thick coconut milk and one of thin from a good grated coconut. This is really lovely. I like to add a little lemon juice to balance the sweetness, but I leave it to you. The bigger and fresher the prawns the better, but even good-quality frozen prawns will do.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 indian bay leaves
4 cloves
10cm cinnamon stick
2 onions, one finely chopped, the other quartered
3 fat garlic cloves
15g root ginger, coarsely chopped, (peeled weight)
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
800ml coconut milk
80-100g creamed coconut block
1/2-3/4 teaspoon caster sugar, or to taste
500g raw tiger prawns, tails left on, deveined, (shelled weight)
squeeze lemon juice, (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the whole spices and cook for 20–30 seconds. Add the chopped onion and cook until it has softened well, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, blend together the quartered onion, garlic and ginger until smooth, adding a little water if needed (I use my hand-held blender). Add to the cooked onion with salt and cook until any water used in blending has been absorbed and the onion has cooked and smells sweet. It will take at least 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chilli powder and turmeric and give the pot a few good stirs. Add the coconut milk, bring to a gentle simmer and reduce the volume by one-third. Add the coconut cream and sugar and bring to the boil. You should have a lovely creamy curry sauce.
  4. Throw in the prawns and simmer for three minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. Taste and balance the seasoning and sugar, adding a little squeeze of lemon juice if you like. It should be creamy but not cloying, so add a splash of just-boiled water from the kettle if you need to, then serve.
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