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1 Prawn Pulao - Riot of Flavours
Amma HomeCooked Indian Seafood

Prawn Pulao

March 16, 2019

Growing up, I found my mum’s recipe book quite fascinating. It was a medium-sized, light brown, hardbound book with pages that had yellowed with the ages. Some pages had more character than the others with stains hinting at their popularity with our family! This was the book Amma had used when she was in college at Nirmala Niketan (Mumbai), and she still swears by the recipes she learnt back then. Over the years, the pages started falling to pieces, and before we lost all the recipes, she copied out her carefully noted down recipes into a ledger book, and I made another copy for myself. It is quite fascinating to see the variety of recipes she’s collected over the years – some of them even mention where she got them from. For instance, there’s a mutton recipe of her own mother’s, a Chinese recipe from a restaurant called the Hot Dragon, and even this Egg Curry recipe that one of our neighbours back in our Salalah days had given her! The eclectic collection is a tried and tested one for over 30 years now!

My copy of the recipe book adorns the top of my bookshelf here in Mumbai along with other recipe books. More often than not, the husband jokes about how he uses them more as props for his shoots than I do for cooking. Well, apart from the fact that for some reason my crazy excitement for cooking has abated (sadly), I’ve also been traveling a fair bit ever since I returned to India in July last year. What a rollercoaster it has been – 9 months and 8 trips! I have managed to meet a lot of my goals in between travels, but there are definitely miles to go before I sleep. I haven’t been cooking a lot, and if I have, its been more about regular fare than something really different. That was up till I made my mom’s prawn pulao the other day, and people who follow me on Instagram went a little berserk asking for the recipe. So, obviously, I had to fulfill that need. If anything, this would be one of the stained pages in Amma’s original recipe book for sure!

So, here it is. The recipe is fairly simple and easy to make. It’s the deveining of the prawns that is probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done with food. But, the task was accomplished eventually!

Print Recipe
Prawn Pulao
A light, flavourful, spiced prawn pulao for a cozy winter night.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Rice and Prawns
Ground masala
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Rice and Prawns
Ground masala
Instructions
  1. First, work on the rice. In the oil, fry the cumin seeds, sugar, onions, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves till fragrant.
  2. Add the rice and saute well. Then add the water and salt and cook till done. The rice should be 3/4th cooked. Lay it out on a plate to cool down (this ensures that the grains don't break when you mix in the prawns)
  3. Grind together the spices in the 'ground masala' list and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat some oil (2 tbsp) and add the onions and tomatoes and saute for a while. Then add the ground masala and saute till the oil starts to leave the sides of the pan.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and prawns and saute well. Cover till the prawns are almost cooked.
  6. Now in the serving vessel, place a layer of the rice (separate the grains as you sprinkle it in), then prawns, then rice, till it ends with the rice. Cover and steam (sprinkle a little water from the top) on medium heat till the rice blooms.
  7. Serve warm garnished with chopped coriander leaves with a side salad or kachumber.
Recipe Notes

You may also add some fried onions (birista) in each layer to add a different level of flavour. 

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