Coconut Shrimp Curry (Malai Chingri)

My mom’s coconut shrimp curry (or ‘malai chingri’ as the Bengalis call it) is hands down my favorite dish, ever. No joke. Every time I visit my parents, it’s the #1 item on my list of dishes that my mom must cook for me on my first day back. I’m kind of a brat about it, which is why I was so surprised to learn just how easy and quick it is to make! It’s now my go-to recipe whenever I have guests over for Indian food, and it’s always such a crowd favorite. I’ve been asked for this recipe a million times after guests have tried it, so I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you after verifying all the ingredients and steps with my mom. I sometimes simplify it and skip the cumin and whole garam masala if I’m out, but those spices really make it that much better. Enjoy this creamy, coconut-y, delicious goodness!

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Ingredients (serves 4) 

15-20 shrimp, deveined
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp whole garam masala (cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cardamom)
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tomato, diced
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Kashmiri chili powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 small can of coconut milk
Cilantro, for garnish

Recipe

Heat oil on a medium sized saucepan. Once the oil is heated, add the cumin and whole garam masala. Fry the onions till they begin to brown. Add in the garlic, ginger paste, and tomatoes and stir together till the oil begins to separate. Stir in the shrimp and fry till fully cooked. Add in haldi, cumin and coriander powder, garam masala powder, chili powder, salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Stir in the coconut milk and let boil. Add in more garam masala or chili powder, depending on your taste. Once the shrimp is fully cooked and mixed with the coconut milk, remove from heat and garnish with cilantro. Serve with hot rice.

Indian Comfort Food: Paneer Makhani

Fall is officially here in Chicago, which means it’s time to take out those pea coats, woollen scarves, and boots out of their summer slumber. This is also that time of the year when my body begs for carb-loaded, hearty meals to make it through those miserable Midwestern winter months.

So when I had Columbus Day off last week, I decided to get all my spices out and prepare my favorite Indian comfort food – chicken biryani, a delicious rice pilaf, and paneer makhani, a creamy cottage cheese curry. I had never made paneer makhani before and always assumed it was too complicated to try at home. After searching recipes online (there are so many to choose from, it’s overwhelming!), I finally found one on Show Me The Curry that seemed pretty simple and easy to follow.

The results – oh. my. GOD. I only have this one Instagram picture unfortunately (this was before I decided to start a blog), but I wish you could see the curry close up! The paneer was scrumptious – completely hit the spot, and so easy to make.

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Here’s my slightly revised version of the Show Me The Curry Recipe:

Recipe for Paneer Makhani 

Cut a 14 oz block of paneer (I got mine from Costco – surprisingly delicious!) into small-ish squares. Then, chop up one tomato and crush the pieces so that you have one cup of crushed tomatoes. If you’re seriously low on supplies, you can substitute with ketchup.

Heat up some oil and add four tablespoons (a little less than half a stick) of butter. Once the pan is hot, add 1.5 teaspoons of garlic paste and ginger paste and saute for a minute or so. Add in the crushed tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, garam masala, a pinch of red chilli powder and salt to taste. Cook for a minute or until the oil separates. Add in the paneer squares and mix until they’re coated by the spices and tomatoes. Then, add half a glass of water and simmer for five minutes. Lower the heat, add 1/3 a cup of heavy whipping cream (the recipe calls for 1/2 but it’s a little too rich and heavy) and mix gently. Allow it to come to a boil, then add a pinch of sugar.

As the recipe says, garnish with cilantro and serve hot! Best with brown or white rice.

UPDATE: I tried this recipe one year later subbing the heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of greek yogurt and it was just as delicious! Healthier alternative with the same great taste.