Prawn Pullao

This dish is basically Indian jambalaya, and it’s at least as tasty as the Cajun kind. This was one of the more simple, straightforward dishes I’ve made from the Jaffrey book.

Instead of just throwing the spices into a pan for this one, you mix them together in a teacup- a chopped green chili, turmeric, garam masala, chopped fresh coriander, lemon juice, salt and water. Heat some oil and fry the mixture for two or three minutes. (When I read the recipe, I questioned this step– did Madhur just tell me to throw water into hot oil? But it’s actually a pretty thick paste and it behaved just fine.) Next, take your peeled, deveined shrimp and cook them for about four minutes, turning them a bit to get them all coated in the spice paste. Once they’re ready, set aside in a covered dish. Put 9 oz water in the pan and keep it on low heat, mixing and scraping up the spices. It won’t really cook down into anything, but you’re going to use this spice- and shrimp-flavored water to cook the rice.

In a pot, heat some oil and fry sliced onions until they start to turn brown. (This step is where the oil started really popping for me. I got a small burn from a particularly bad pop. Fortunately, I remembered the rule Joe taught me– for oil burns, do NOT put your hand in water! Wipe it off with a dry cloth.)

Once the onions are looking good, add in the rice, followed by 3/4 pint of water, the flavored water from the pan, and a bit of salt. Mix, bring to a boil, and then turn the heat as low as you can, cover, and walk away for 25 minutes. I actually really like it when I get to simmer things for a long period like this– I can clean the kitchen so I don’t have to do it later, make bread or a side dish, or have a drink with my dinner guests.

When you open the pot, the rice should be nice and fluffy and smelling deeeee-licious. Put in your shrimp, fold them into the rice so they’re mixed in, fluff, cover, give it another five minutes. Serve in bowls.

This was really tasty and satisfying. I’d actually like to make this again when we visit our family in Florida– I think they’d love it, and you can get really fantastic fresh Gulf shrimp down there. It had a kick to it, but next time I’ll make it a little bit hotter and serve it with raita (cooling yogurt sauce). Goes very, very well with a summery beer– I had a Flying Fish IPA, Joe had their Extra Pale Ale, and we were both happy.

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