Oriental Prawn Rice Pilaf

I’m not sure where this name came from but it has been in the family for many years. It is really a light rice pilaf dish. With mild Indian flavours, only a slight kick of chilli and the sweetness of the prawns, peas, carrots, it is an unusual but delicious combination.

Oriental Prawn Rice Pilaf

It’s a lovely accompaniment to grilled fish, like Spicy Salmon Fillets, or a meal in itself with a tangy Cucumber and Yoghurt Raita.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Resting time: 15 minutes

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 500g green prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 1.5 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 medium carrot diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 5 medium size mushrooms diced into small pieces
  • 2 large onions sliced into thin rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder or masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 stick of cinnamon bark
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • handful of fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger(1/2 a fingers worth) and garlic (3 cloves)crushed
  • 2-4 green chillies chopped in large pieces (thirds)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter for frying prawns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying onions

METHOD:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Shell and devein prawns, I cut them in half if they are too large, then marinate prawns with chilli powder/masala.

3. Parboil rice with 5 cups of water with salt until half cooked about 8-10 minutes (stain par boiled rice and set aside…don’t forget it on the stove, while doing other prep, and overcook the rice!)

4. Dice carrots and mushrooms while rice is cooking. (check the rice and strain) Then par-cook the carrots covered with water in the microwave for 2 minutes on high.

5. Heat butter and 1/2 oil in a large casserole dish over medium heat , fry prawns in batches for 2-3 minutes until just sealed, do not cook them through as they will cook in the oven. Remove prawns, draining from oil and place aside.

Fry prawns in small batches for a few minutes only.

6. Add additional oil to leftover pot and add cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, curry leaves and heat gently. Add onions and cook gently until transparent.

7. Add cumin powder, turmeric, green chillies, ginger and garlic to opinion mixture and mix through onion mixture, stirring for 2–3 minutes.

8. Remove the pot from heat, then remove the onion mixture from the oil. (This seems illogical as you add them back in later, but it has something to do with the interaction between the parboiled rice and the oil that does make a difference to the finished dish)

9. Add rice, mushrooms, drained carrots, peas and mix evenly, coating mixture in the leftover oil/butter in the pot. Then add prawns and onion mixture and gently mix through again.

10. Drizzle a cup of water over the whole dish and place in oven for 45 minutes. Leave it to sit in the pot to rest for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Oriental Prawn Rice Pilaf with Grilled Salmon and Tarka Dhal

Spicy Prawn Rice with carrots, peas and mushrooms

This is a delicious combination of ingredients that is lovely as a dish on its own with a yoghurt raita and salad, or served alongside  grilled chicken or lamb. It’s like an Indian risotto but you don’t have to stand over it stirring!  Perfect for entertaining as it can be made ahead of time – it’s even better the day after! It’s also great for a shared spread or picnic as it can be served at room temperature.

You just need to allow prep time as there a few steps prior to assembling the dish and cooking in the oven. You can also leave out or reduce the chilli powder and green chillies to make it less spicy.

Prep time: 30 minutes  Cooking time: 1 hour
Ingredients:

500g green prawns shelled and deveined
1.5-2 cups basmati rice
2 medium carrots roughly diced
350 grams of button mushrooms roughly diced
1/2 cup of peas
2 large onions sliced in rings
150 grams of butter for frying prawns
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil for frying prawns
1.5 teaspoons chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cummin powder
1 stalk of curry leaves
stick of cinnamon
4 cardamom pods(optional)
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
4 large mild green chillies chopped
2 teaspoons crushed ginger and garlic paste
1 teaspoons salt

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Place peeled and deveined prawns in a bowl and add chilli powder, turmeric powder and cummin powder. Mix through and leave aside

Par boil rice for 10 minutes in salted water. until half cooked, par boil diced carrots seperately in salted water – strain rice and carrots and set aside

Slice onions into rings and chop up green chillies into thin rings

Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry prawns until just turning pink, remove prawns from oil and set aside

In same oil and pan, add cinnamon stick, cummin seeds, cardamom pods, and curry leaves and fry gently for a minute or two

Add onions, green chillies and ginger garlic paste and fry gently until onions are transparent stirring from time to time, to avoid sticking to pan – remove onion mixture from oil and put into a deep casserole dish or pot with lid that can fit all the ingredients

Add in rice, prawns, carrots, peas, mushrooms to onion mixture and mix through so ingredients are evenly distributed

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 3/4 cup of water and pour over rice mixture
Cover with lid and place in oven for one hour or until rice is fluffy and moisture has evaporated. Sit for at least 15 minutes before serving

Delicious just on it’s own with yoghurt and a green salad or as a side with grilled chicken or lamb