Prawn Biryani in a Hurry i.e. Prawn Pulao

Mallika Basu - Prawn Biryani in a Hurry i.e. Prawn Pulao

Posted 21st October 2006

prawn-pilau.jpgAfter another long week at work, Hubby and I decided to kick the shoes off and chill out on the couch last night. I decided to put Divya’s Prawn Biryani in a hurry recipe to the test. The words “in a hurry” really pressed my buttons, touched a nerve etc etc.

Biryani is one of the most delicious and time consuming dishes prepared in the Indian subcontinent. It originated in Persia and Arabia and was popularised by the Mughal rulers in Lucknow years and years ago. It has developed into a rice dish that is consumed on special occasions such as Muslim festivals and even Hindu weddings.

The big difference between biryani and pulao, the other popular Indian rice dish, is the length of time for cooking. Biryani often takes hours of slow cooking, with the pot lid sealed tight with a flour dough. Pulao on the other hand is like the quick and easy version. Just as delicious, but not so special.

Divya’s recipe was a complete hit with couch potato hubby and myself. It’s so easy, and requires no special ingredients. Actually, it did need star anise, which I didn’t have. But I’m not one to cry over star anise so I just didn’t use it. And it was great without. What I did was add a bit of saffron at the end, and it gave the pulao a glorious aroma.

This recipe serves 2:

200 gms raw peeled king prawns (I used frozen ones)
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 green finger chilli, slit lengthwise
1 stick cinnamon
4-5 cloves
1 tsp minced ginger and garlic
Quarter tsp chilli powder
Quarter tsp garam masala powder
1.5 cups rice
3 cups water
2 tsp ghee
Sprinkling of saffron soaked in 1 tsp warm milk

Heat the ghee and fry the onions, ginger, garlic, cloves and cinnamon. When the onions start turning translucent and soft, add the tomatoes and chilli powder.

Fry this paste until the raw smell of the masalas go. Then add the rice and fry for 2 minutes. Add the water, lower the flame to medium, cover the pan and cook.

When the rice looks half done, add the raw prawns, green chilli and the garam masala. Give the rice a good stir. Recover and cook until the prawns are done and the rice is dry. Before you take the rice off the flame, mix in the milky saffron.

Two things you need to remember: Don’t stir the rice too much or it will not have the fluffy, separate texture that characterises pulao and make sure the prawns are cooked but not overdone.

Seriously moreish dish and great with a dollop of natural yoghurt and pickle.

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