Indian Dishes

Easy Indian Shrimp Curry Recipe with Coconut Milk: Chingri Malaikari

This post and recipe  for Chingri Malaikari (Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk) originally appeared on my old blog, My Fancy Pantry in 2012.  I have updated the recipe here and made changes according to how I currently make this dish. I’ve learned a lot since then, so my recipes and methods have also evolved.  I hope you enjoy this new, improved, recipe.  If you’d like to see the old one, you can find it here.

I have a confession to make.  Even though I consider myself an adventurous eater, I am still pretty judgmental. I might even be a bit of a “food snob.” The truth is, I always have been. If something looks or smells funny, I might still try it; but I make no promises (ehhmm…pickles!).

Growing up, I had a list of foods I would absolutely refuse to eat.  The list included (but was not limited to): onions, shrimp (and other sea creatures), pickles, most vegetables and tomatoes (unless they were sauced, smashed, diced or in the form of ketchup.  I loved ketchup).

As I’ve gotten older, I notice my taste-buds have evolved quite dramatically and most things on my list have been crossed off. But, it wasn’t until I developed a love for Indian food (and a certain Indian) that I began to appreciate onions, tomatoes, veggies…and shrimp.

Thankfully. I had no idea what I was missing! 

shrimp curry, malai curry, coconut shrimp curry, shrimp coconut curry, bengali shrimp curry

This particular curry originates from West Bengal, India. Although my recipe isn’t entirely traditional, it’s flavor is pretty close.

Chingri Malaikari (Creamy Shrimp Curry) has a base made from coconut milk and onions.  It’s flavored with bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. This is one of the first Bengali recipes I learned, and I think it’s a great introduction to the cuisine.  The curry is very well balanced and quite delicious. It’s also incredibly easy and fast to make!

curry flat lay, shrimp curry ingredients

I might even say it’s my favorite!

Are there any foods that once disgusted you but now you love? Tell me about it in the comments! I know I can’t be alone…

Chingri Malaikari: Creamy Shrimp Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 to 1 lb. large shrimp*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil–substitute, if necessary.
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (around 100 grams)
  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken*
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 4 medium-sized Indian bay leaves*
  • 1.5 Tbsp. ginger paste (I like SHAN brand)*
  • 1.5 Tbsp. garlic paste (I like SHAN brand)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste (I used MDH Deghi Mirch. It’s not too hot and gives a good color)
  • 1-14 oz. can coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. water, as needed
  • salt–to taste
  • Peel and de-vein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact–if you can.
  • Put the shrimp in a bowl, add the lemon juice and some water, then toss them together and leave them sit for around 5 minutes.  Rinse the Shrimp under cold water and pat dry.
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Cook until the onion begins to turn brown and the spices become fragrant.
  • Add the garlic and ginger pastes as well as the turmeric and chili powder. Let cook for a minute or two. You’ll notice the oil separating from the onion/spice mixture, that’s how you’ll know it’s cooked long enough.
  • Tip in the coconut milk (and the cream), stirring to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil. If your gravy looks a bit thick, add about a 1/4 cup of water.
  • Bring the gravy to a simmer and add the shrimp to the pan.  Cook for a minute or two then flip the shrimp. Stir everything so that all the shrimp are well coated.
  • Simmer until the gravy becomes as thick as you would like.  Add a bit of water if the consistancy becomes too thick.  Season with salt.
  • Enjoy with rice or rotis!!!
  • The amount of shrimp I use sometimes varies, depending on how many people I’m feeding and whether or not this is a main course or a side dish.  I have cooked this recipe with as few as 15 shrimp (around 1/2 pound) and as many as 40 shrimp (over 1 lb).  The amount of curry (gravy) will stay the same.
  • I prefer to use the flat cinnamon bark, I feel that it gives a better flavor to the curry.
  • Substitute regular bay leaves, if you must.  I really recommend buying a bag of bay leaves from your local Indian market, though.  They’re inexpensive and can be used for a variety of recipes.  I even like them in my tea!
  • Because I’m a busy mom, I will usually cut corners a bit and use pre-made garlic/ginger paste.  Grinding your own is always the best, but in a pinch I’ve found the SHAN brand to be my family’s  favorite.

If you like this recipe and would like to see more posts like this, I’d appreciate if you commented, liked and shared! 😀 👍 ❤️