2 tsp freshly-ground radhuni seed (রাধুনি) or celery seed
2 tsp freshly-ground fennel seed (सौंफ़)
Shell and devein the prawns, remove heads – add shells and heads to chicken stock, simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out shrimp parts, reserve stock.
The black-mustard-seed paste used in this recipe is ground with a pinch of salt and half a green chili to remove bitterness. The black skins are then removed by passing the paste through a fine wire mesh or muslin cloth. The yellow paste is used for this recipe.
Marinate the jumbo prawns for at least 15 min, with turmeric powder and salt.
Heat oil in a kadai or a pan. When it starts smoking, reduce the flame to medium and introduce the prawns carefully and close the lid immediately to prevent sputtering. After 1 min, turn the prawns and fry the other side for another minute. Remove the prawns from the oil.
In the same hot oil, add the bay leaf, whole cinnamon (cassia bark), cloves, green cardamoms and wait for a few seconds.
Add the cumin seeds and let these seeds turn light brown. Add the chopped onion and half the salt (for the curry). Sauté for 7 min, or until the onion looks golden-brown and soft.
Add the turmeric, panch phoran and the cumin powders, combined with 4 tbsp stock. Sauté continuously to prevent burning of the powders. Add the ginger paste and sauté again, sprinkling a little water if the onion mixture starts sticking to the pan.
After 5 min, add the rest of the salt, sugar, red chili powder, black-mustard-seed paste, raisin paste and coconut paste and sauté till the mixture starts separating from the oil.
Sauté the mixture untill oil starts separating: this is a very important step in Bengali cooking!
At this stage, add the fried prawns and sauté for 5 min at a simmered flame. Add whole green chilies and ¾ cup of stock. Let the curry boil for 10 min, simmered and covered. Before serving, add the ghee to the curry.
Chingri Malai Curry is best served with steamed rice.
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