One of the most successful and respected modern Indian chefs in England, Vivek Singh is known for his innovative and refined approach to Indian cuisine. With three renowned London restaurants to his name - The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen and Cinnamon Soho - chef Singh combines Indian spices and flavours with Western techniques and ingredients to create exquisite dishes such as his Chingri Malai Curry, one of the all-time favourite Bengali dishes, reserved for very special guests, big celebratory dinners and weddings. "The period between Dussehra and Diwali is a period described as Bijoya or victory in the West Bengal state of East India. During Bijoya, people visit family, friends and their entire social circle, taking sweets, exchanging gifts and eating together. Forgetting to visit someone over Bijoya is the Bengali equivalent of dropping someone from your Christmas card list! One of my earliest food memories is eating this delicious prawn curry at a Bijoya dinner." Outstandingly delicious, this is a recipe that's definitely worth keeping and making over and over again.
Chef Vivek Singh
Marinated with turmeric and salt for 5 minutes, the prawns are cooked briefly for 1-2 minutes
until just warmed but not cooked through, then set aside
Puréed red onions and bay leaves are cooked on medium heat until browned,
about 25-39 minutes until light very light brown
Although not light brown per se, the onions were 'browned' and nicely caramelized
Turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic and water are added to the onions and sautéed for 2-3 minutes
The half cooked prawns, green chilies and a little salt are added and stirred for a minute
Coconut milk is added to the pan and simmered for 2-3 minutes until the prawns are just cooked
Recipe courtesy of chef Vivek Singh
1 lb large freshwater prawns, peeled and deveined
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 large red onions, blended to a fine paste
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
2 green chillies, slit lengthways and seeded
1 cup shellfish stock
13 oz can coconut milk
1/2 tsp sugar
4 green cardamom pods, ground
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 tsp Maldon smoked sea salt
Marinate the prawns with half the turmeric and half the salt for 5 minutes. Heat half of the oil in a pan and add the bay leaves and onion paste and sauté over a medium heat for 25-30 minutes until very light brown.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan and sear the prawns briefly for 1–2 minutes, turning them to sear on each side, then set aside.
Mix the remaining turmeric, ground cumin and ginger-garlic paste in 5 tablespoons of water, then add to the sautéed onions, reduce the heat and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the remaining salt, green chillies and prawns and stir for 1 minute. Add the stock, then mix in the coconut milk and simmer for 2–3 minutes or just until the prawns are cooked, adding a little more stock if necessary. Correct the seasoning with salt, sugar and sprinkle on the ground cardamom and chopped cilantro. Serve garnished with additional cilantro, lime wedges, fresh cracked white pepper and a pinch of smoked sea salt. Serve immediately.