Soul food:Prawn rice

I’ve been dreaming of prawns recently. (Don’t laugh, it’s true! You can dream of food!) Anyway, I ordered some stir fried rice with ginger garlic prawns the other day at work, but the craving didn’t go away — it got stronger! That’s when I realized I wasn’t craving just any ol’ prawn dish; I wanted me some prawn rice!

But, before I could even think of making some, I had to find fresh coriander. Seeing as it’s monsoon season here in India, that was going to be a hard task — it sure wasn’t available at the grocery store near my house! But I was on a quest. I mean, I was literally dreaming of prawns, remember? So I picked up my car and drove around to a few of the fancier grocery stores, and finally managed to get my paws on some coriander. Now, I was ready to get cooking!

Prawn rice is served as a main course, with some plain yogurt and onion as accompaniments. You can also substitute the prawn with any firm-fleshed fish like halibut or cod (directions for that are at the end of the recipe).

You’ll need:

1 packet frozen prawns
1 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 medium sized onion, peeled, cut into fine rounds and halved
1 fresh green chili, finely sliced (optional)
4 tbsp oil
250 gram long-grain rice (you can also use short-grain rice)


In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp of warm water, coriander leaves, green chilies, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, and 1 tsp salt.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, put in the contents of the bowl and stir on high for about 2-3 minutes, until the fresh green color changes to a darker green. Tip in the prawns and fry them with the spices on medium heat for about 4 mins.

Turn off the heat and fish out the prawns with a fork, transferring into a tightly covered dish; it will continue to cook a bit in its own steam.

Pour 275 ml of warm water into the pan and scrape up the spices stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan. Simmer for about half a minute.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining oil and fry the onions until the edges brown. Then add in the rice and stir around for about 30 sec. Pour in 360 ml of water, the contents from the pan and 1 tsp of salt. Stir and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to very low.

Check in about 5-7 mins. Once the rice is almost done, add in the prawns, stir, cover and cook for another few minutes until the rice is cooked through.
(ps: that isn’t the best snap; it’s a little blurred – sorry! I was trying to click the picture covertly; didn’t want to dear husband to catch me at it, he’d think I was losing my marbles! ;-))

If you want to substitute the prawn with fish, you’ll need 340 gm of cod or halibut (or any other firm-flesh fish) steaks or fillets. Make sure they are at least 1-2 cm thick. Cut the fillets into bite-size strips, at least 4-5 cm long and about 2.5 cm wide. Follow the preceding recipe.

Serve with plain yogurt and chopped onion with a dash of lemon.