We Parsis love our meat and rice – Gosht no Pulao, Chicken Biryani or even the Surf and Turf Pulao (aka Rainbow Rice) – all of these are a common addition on the Parsi menu for any good occasions in the family. However, out of all of these Pulao’s my favourite has got to be the Kolmi no Pulao.
Made with large succulent prawns, coriander, tomato and mint this Pulao is one of my favourite dishes and is quite easy to whip up in the kitchen. However, I never quite mastered the dish because in NZ I had a friend called Mahafrin whose mom used to make a really good Prawn Pulao. So, whenever we had get-togethers or road trips in New Zealand, Mahafrin was the designated Pulao lady.
After moving to India, I missed her Pulao a lot and didn’t have one for almost a year – mom tried to explain how I should make it but I couldn’t quite get it right. So, I considered myself very lucky when Mahafrin also moved to India to become a Bawi Bride – not only because I could now have her Pulao (I realise this makes me sound like a glutton) but also because we’ve been friends for almost ten years and it’s good to have some familiar company in a new city.
Once she settled in, I requested her to come teach me and all of you how to make her mom’s famed Prawn Pulao and she agreed. We had a great little picnic in my backyard where in true #Bawa style her #BawaGroom, Ashdin let us toil away in the kitchen and then joined us for the feasting. So without further ado, below Mahafrin shares her famed Prawn Pulao recipe with us – the ingredients are at the bottom of the post as always.
To start, wash the prawns well and make sure they are all deveined properly. You can also buy frozen prawns but I find that the flavour is not always the most sea-foody so I prefer the fresh variety.
Marinate these prawns with salt, turmeric, red-chilli and dhana-jeera powder
Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes while you chop the potatoes, onions and tomatoes. You don’t want too many tomatoes bits coming in your mouth so i recommend pureeing 3 of the tomatoes and finely chopping the fourth.
In a pan, heat some oil and then add in the onions. Let the onions fry until they are translucent and golden brown in colour. This part will take a while so be patient and don’t rush.
Once the onions are ready, add in the onions, potatoes, capsicum and salt. I used red because I didn’t have the green variety at home but I feel the green would give your rice more of a contrast. Let this cook for 10 minutes.
Once your potatoes start to soften (the trick is to chop them into quite small pieces), add in the prawns. Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for 7 minutes. You don’t want to cover the pan as the steam will make the tomatoes water and we want this mixture to be quite dry (think stir fry consistency). Afterwards, give the mixture a taste – adjust with more spices if required.
While the prawns are cooking, cook some steamed rice in a separate pot. You want to cook the rice until they are about two minutes away from being fully cooked. This is because you will be adding the cooked rice to the pulao mixture and you don’t want the rice turning into gloop if it overcooks.
Once the prawns and the rice are cooked, add the rice into the prawn mixture. Keep the flame on the lowest setting and stir the entire mixture with the back of spatula. The reason for doing this is that you don’t want the rice grains breaking. As they say in baking, you simply want to fold the rice into the prawn gravy.
Top the mixture with freshly chopped mint and coriander and let it cook for two more minutes. Serve while its still hot and have the Pulao by itself – its saucy enough so that you don’t need a gravy or raita on the side.
For 4 people you will need:
2 cups rice
2 medium potatoes
2 tsp each of turmeric, red chilli and dhana-jeera powder to marinate prawns
1 tsp dhana-jeera powder to add in pulao
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
2 tbsp green chilli paste
1 medium green or red capsicum chopped
3 – 4 tomatoes (1/2 chopped and 1/2 pureed)
500 gm prawns cleaned and deveined
Handful of fresh mint leaves and coriander
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Water to cook rice
And finally, here are some pictures of us all enjoying the Pulao with freshly minted Bawi Bride Mahafrin Dubash and her #BawaGroom, Ashdin.