Sthiti Raha
Upwork Women’s Group

Chingri Malaikari

Tiger Prawns in Coconut Milk

Growing up, fish was an everyday staple at home. However, prawns (somehow still considered to be in the fish category) were consumed only on special occasions, primarily because they were expensive and not as easily available as the usual fish. They were usually cooked only on a weekend, and my sister and I would start fantasizing about the dish soon after we woke up on any of those special weekends!

Before these special occasions, my father would take great pains to select the freshest possible prawns, scrutinizing and examining them before finally proceeding to buy them from the local market. My mother would then pour all her love into the dish, and the whole house would have a lovely warm aroma floating around. My sister and I were all willing that day to eat any kind of otherwise loathed dish, just so that we could reach our final destination of chingri malaikari. Birthdays, celebrations, visiting relatives, having college friends over for a special lunch, this dish was a must on the menu.

I learned how to make chingri malaikari much later in life when I had my own kids, settled 8,000 miles away from home. I needed to learn the recipe to satisfy my cravings as well as familiarize my children with some traditional dishes. Today my kids love this dish just as much as me. They even look forward to the same dish cooked by their grandma when they get to visit her in India. Most recently, my older child expressed interest in learning this dish, and that was when I knew that life had truly come full circle.

<span-key>5-6</span-key><span-value>tiger prawns (or freshwater prawns)</span-value><span-key>2 tbsp</span-key><span-value>cooking oil</span-value><span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Whole spices: 4 whole cardamoms and 1 small cinnamon stick </span-value><span-key>2</span-key><span-value>bay leaves</span-value><span-key>1</span-key><span-value>medium onion, chopped</span-value><span-key>½ tbsp</span-key><span-value>ginger paste</span-value><span-key>½ tbsp</span-key><span-value>garlic paste</span-value><span-key>2</span-key><span-value>small tomatoes, chopped</span-value><span-key>1 tsp</span-key><span-value>cumin powder</span-value><span-key>½ tsp</span-key><span-value>turmeric powder</span-value><span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Salt and sugar to taste (barely any sugar needed)</span-value>
<span-key>½ cup</span-key><span-value>water</span-value><span-key>1 ½ cups</span-key><span-value>coconut milk</span-value><span-key>1-2</span-key><span-value>whole green chili peppers (optional)</span-value><span-key>-</span-key><span-value>Crushed spices: 1 tsp powdered cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves mix</span-value><span-key>1 tbsp</span-key><span-value>shredded/grated coconut</span-value>




Have the prawns cleaned at the store if possible. Elsewise, you can clean them at home by deveining and removing the tail but keeping the rest of the shell intact. (This dish can be cooked with shrimp, which are much easier to clean, or even precooked shrimp.)
Marinate the prawns with a little turmeric powder and salt, and rest for 10 minutes.
In a pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp cooking oil and sauté the prawns for 4-5 minutes till they are slightly golden in color. Do not oversauté or the prawns will become hard.
Remove prawns from the pan and put to one side.
In the same pan, add the remaining oil, the whole spices, and the bay leaves. Sauté for 25-30 seconds.
Add the onion and fry till translucent.
Add ginger paste, garlic paste, and tomato pieces, frying for 1-2 minutes.
Then add cumin powder, turmeric powder, salt, and sugar. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
Add a half-cup of water and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Now add the sautéed prawns, stirring for 2-3 minutes and then adding the coconut milk.
Add the whole chilis (optional). Keep the pan on medium flame and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add the crushed spices and the grated coconut.
Switch off the stove and allow the dish to sit for 7-8 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!</span-p>

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Cook It Up:
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A Foreword from the
Kitchen of Hayden Brown,
Upwork CEO

I deeply treasure that time around the table with my kids and loved ones. In our household, our kitchen table is a gathering place to share a meal, enjoy each other’s company, reflect on the day and laugh together.

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