Shrimp Curry with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk for Cemplang Cemplung

Shrimp with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk

These delightful shrimp curry carries the flavors from my home. Cooked in creamy coconut milk, it is redolent of cardamom and cinnamon – spicy but with a hint of sweet. And to this packet with memories, I have also added some pomegranate, a twist which worked out really well.

When Tika of Cemplang Cemplung asked me if I could write a post with a traditional recipe for her, I could think of nothing but my love for this particular shrimp curry cooked in coconut milk. A curry with a sweet aroma and the naturally orange hue calls my name. Chingri Maacher Malaikari is a classic. It is a well known and well loved recipe from my home state – West Bengal. Almost every special occasion (and not so special ones too) call for these jumbo shrimps and the air in the home dances with the fragrance of them getting cooked. I remember how I would eagerly wait for the meal time to lay by hands on these huge shrimps, all with head and tail on and the very aromatic yellow orange sauce seeping through the hot steaming rice.

Shrimp with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk

The authentic recipe uses fresh coconut along with freshly squeezed coconut milk. My ma had to go though a very time consuming process of grating fresh coconut and making coconut milk at home. There were no pre-packaged cans; and even if there were, I double she would use it. The head of the shrimp does add a very different taste, texture and to some extent the orange hue to this quintessential dish.

The sight of these colossal shrimps enticed me as I walked by them; I turned around and came back to the counter and bought myself a few pounds. They reminded me of the times when my dad visited the Sundarbans ( the largest mangrove forests in the world), for his work, he would get these really enormous shrimps, almost sized like lobsters. And when he got them, all I could think of was my next meal.

Shrimp with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk

I “met” Tika in Flickr. Along with the cooking, the love for food photography leads most food bloggers to Flickr; the spot to mingle with like minded people, to learn and discuss food photography. Her  beautiful stream of  photographs, led me to her blog. Besides the traditional recipes, she also writes about food photography which are like treasure posts for those who want to learn. Light, angles, tricks, you can find it all there. I am so happy to do this post for this warm wonderful lady.

This time, I did play around with the authentic recipe a tiny bit. I have the luxury of using ready to use cans of coconut milk. I have not used any fresh coconut. The original dish is spicy with a hint of sweet, and I though of using the fresh pomegranates that the season offers to further enhance this “little” sweet. The crunch and the juicy fresh pomegranates do add another dimension to it.




I also marinated the shrimp for a little while in pomegranate molasses. It might sound like a very unlikely combination, but the  little tart and the depth of flavor of the molasses accessorized the dish without having it lose the original essence. And the scallions were crisp, fresh and very very non traditional, but lovely too.


Shrimp with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk

Here is the recipe for my friend! I am really happy to do it for you. Thank you!

Shrimp with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk


Do head over to her place, explore her blog and also find the recipe for Shrimp Curry with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk.


Shrimp Curry with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk

Ingredients: (serves 3-4 as a side dish)

  1.  1 pound (head on if you want) jumbo/colossal shrimp, de-veined, but tail on (you can keep the shell on if you want)
  2.  1/2 teaspoon turmeric + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  3.  1 teaspoon sugar
  4.  salt to taste
  5.  2.5 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  6.  1.5 cups coconut milk
  7.  1.5 inch ginger, peeled and grated or made into paste
  8.  2 hot green chili pepper, slit
  9.  3 tablespoon oil
  10.  2 small green cardamom
  11.  1 inch stick cinnamon
  12.  1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  13.  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  14.  1 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
  15.  4 stalks of scallions – green parts only, finely chopped
  16.  1/2 cup pomegranate arils to garnish/add before serving


Clean, de-vein and wash the shrimps. Leave the tail on and if you wish leave the shell and the head on. Pat them dry. Place the shrimp in a bowl. Add some salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and pomegranate molasses to the shrimp. Toss to coat and set aside to sit for about 15 – 30 minutes.

Transfer the marinated shrimp to a pan and cook with a couple of tablespoon of water added to it, for a couple of minutes, or just until the shrimp changes color and start to curl up. Remove from heat.

Combine coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, cinnamon, salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, sugar and red chili powder; set aside.

In another pan, heat oil. Add the cracked cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, add the slit green chili pepper and the grated ginger. Stir it for about a minute at medium heat. Do not overcook or brown the ginger. Just when the spices starts to get fragrant, add the spiced coconut milk, stir everything in and simmer from about 5-8 minutes in medium heat. The sauce will come to a boil. Add the partially cooked shrimp and any leftover liquid with it in to the pan. Partially cover the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Switch off the heat and add the chopped scallions into the pan and stir them in. Adjust salt.

Just before serving add the pomegranate arils to it and stir them in (add the fresh pomegranate only to the part you would be serving as the arils wilt and change color in the sauce and does not taste as good if stored and saved for later). I would want to suggest that you serve the pomegranate arils by the side and garnish it as you eat.

Serve over hot white rice or with some nice crusty bread.




Related Posts:

Shrimp Stew with Zucchini Tomato and Lentil

Shrimp with Scallions and Garlic in Chile Tamari Sauce

Shrimp in a Fiery Coconut Sauce

Shrimp Satay – Grilling with Almond Satay Sauce

Toasted Sesame and Shrimp Fried Rice

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21 comments to Shrimp Curry with Pomegranate and Coconut Milk for Cemplang Cemplung

  • Soma, I was waiting for you to post this recipe. One day I was checking out your flickr album and saw these pictures. I showed the pictures to my husband and wanted me to make this curry. Bookmarking the recipe. I like the 3rd picture from the top, curry in the pot, the best.

  • Thanks, Soma 🙂
    It’s an honor to have your work on my blog.

  • A beautiful guest post! This curry looks and sounds exceptional.



  • Hi,

    I am Shubha from Chennai, working towards the prromotion of some rare arts and crafts of India. I am now into promoting Black pottery made by Manipuri artisans.

    These black pots are chemical free products that can be used in microwave too. I guess using them is much better than using plastics in the mocrowave oven. Apart from cooking pots we also have other interesting items like coffee mugs, sugar pots, kettles etc.

    Kindly go through my blog to view the products and their prices. If you are interested in any of them, please do let me know. I will be happy to help you.

  • Hi Soma, beautiful pictures!! Do you make the backgrounds for your photos yourself?? If yes, how do you do it, please share some gyan on that!!

    Thank you Ambika! Yes I made the backgrounds myself. They are just wood board from homedepot/lowes, or basically from any place I find one. I usually leave the new ones out in the yard for them to weather out a bit, for a few months. The rain and the shine make them uneven and less smooth. Then I paint or stain over them.. usually using wall paint, or even acrylic paint from my kids. you get them in big and small bottles in walmart or any craft/hobby store for less than 3 bucks a bottle. homedepot and lowes usually has a scrap wood bin, and often you will find very very discounted wood planks there, and sometimes even for free 🙂

  • Super delicious i am sure gonna look to the recipe to see how to make them. First i thought cemplung means a ingridient and i was saying this i have to look as i don’t know what it is 🙂

  • Love the combination Soma and the pictures are just amazing!

  • Sensational Soma!Can almost taste it 🙂 My favourite is the third picture though they are all GORGEOUS.Love love your backgrounds. Where do you get them from??

    Thanks Rose 🙂 for the background, its wood painted over.. just replied to Ambika’s comment. see above.

  • anh

    so beautiful. My man has stopped taking shrimps, but I miss their flavours so much!

  • Gorgeous photos and a delicious looking dish! You’ve got me yearning for shrimp curry…

    Over here we also used to do the same process of grating the coconut meat and then extracting the milk (we even learn how to do it in school!) but nowadays, especially with the busy pace and work and all, we also often turn to canned.

  • Looking at the pics and considering my love for chingri in any form…I might just as well drop by your place today!


  • Such an interesting flavour combination! Great photos 🙂

  • Ben

    That looks so yummy! And I love the picture of the pomegranate.

  • Gorgeous clicks Soma! I loved the last picture and it looks like a cookbook cover. You should write a book soon 🙂 I am sure you will and I will be one of the first ones to buy it.

  • The shrimp looks gorgeous in coconut curry- I almost eat once in a year these shrimp just for myself! You just make me to cook again!

  • sounds very interesting – and tasty! Will mark this for trying very soon. (And I love the photos, as always)

  • Wow! Thanks for all the tips Soma. I’m definitely spending this weekend at the local homedepot and lowes!!! Thanks once again 🙂

  • What a gorgeous recipe!! I love flavors like this and will definitely be making this soon! Great shots too!

  • What a gorgeous dish! Wow! Lovely – I know that a shrimp (LOVE) and coconut milk curry must be fabulous but the sweet tang of pomegranate seeds adds a wonderful balance to the flavors. Stunning meal, Soma!

  • s

    pretty photos and beautiful recipe- love all the tips. x s

  • Lovely shot! This curry looks incredible. Such great flavors too!

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