Malai Prawn Recipe (Creamy Prawn Curry)

Malai Prawn Dish
Image © Lauri Patterson/ Getty Images
Ratings (39)
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
499 Calories
31g Fat
16g Carbs
43g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This creamy prawn curry is a delicacy eaten with traditional Jeera rice. Sometimes called Chingri Malaikari or Malai for short, this dish originated in northern India and is now eaten throughout Indian and around the world.

This recipe is made of shrimp or prawns cooked in thick coconut milk gravy with whole spices for a strong, flavorful dish. You will find Prawn Malaikari a part of the menu in many Bong (Bengali) parties in the US.


  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) large ​prawns (Tiger prawns)
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons single cream
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Grind the onions, tomatoes, and green chilies into a fine paste in a food processor.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the paste to it. Fry for a minute.

  3. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for another minute.

  4. Add the spices and brown masala until the oil begins to separate from it.

  5. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.

  6. Add the prawns and cook for another 2 minutes only.

  7. Turn off the fire and stir in the cream.

  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Jeera Rice or plain boiled rice.

Cooking Tips and Ingredient Substitutions

For added flavor, some people prepare prawn malai with half of their prawns with heads on and half with heads removed. The head adds a fourth dimension of seafood flavor to this already delicious preparation. If you are not used to preparing prawns, you may not want to split the shrimp, as prawn heads have to be delicately cleaned before cooking.

Another way to switch up the flavor in your prawn malai curry is by adding a nuttier flavor to the dish. Add a tablespoon of cashew paste, as well as a 1/2 cup of freshly grated coconut. Add both at the stage just after adding the ginger and garlic pastes.