The inspiration of this Prawn Pulao came from Mishmash's CheMmeen Biryani. I call it "CheenMeen" which sounds so lyrical that it is hard to get it out of my head. It is like raindrops but better.
However I will stick to Prawn Pulao or better Chingri Maacher Polao because the recipe is quiet different from her Biryani and you would better check out her page for the Biryani.
Also if I said "CheenMeen Pulao" I would keep it in a memory box and never eat it ever.
But this is such a delicious thing that you have to eat. Simply have to. Even if you are on a diet or something.
Instead of a Biryani I make it a One Pot Pulao.Okay actually two because I used a separate Fry pan to fry the rice. But that is all right. You can eat straight from the pan if you wish to and that way skip two plates. You decide on the logistics while I get on with the recipe because this post has way too many pictures that speaks thousand words.
The Biryani spice powder is what weaves a magic in this Pulao. I have made the Biryani Powder like Mishmash's this time. However you can use the biryani powder one I have here and also add a bit of star anise to intensify the flavor. The spice Powder I added in two steps, once to the gravy and then to the rice. I have also used ghee(and oil) moderately. If you are feeling luxurious add one more tablespoon of ghee but no need to go overboard with it.
Last but not the least is the quality of rice used. Remember I used to crib about my rice grains breaking in a Pulao. Well those days are gone with the current brand of Rice I have. No one is paying me for this but Lal Qila Basmati truly works very very well in a Pulao or Biryani. Has got to do something with being aged and good quality or something. So if you have the problem of your rice turning to mush or breaking do get a good brand Basmati.
Prawn Pulao -- Chingri Maacher Polao
Make a dry spice powder
1/2 tsp Fennel
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp ShaJeera
4 green cardamom
2" thin stick cinnamom
1 tbsp Javetri/Mace
a little Nutmeg
We will add this spice powder in two steps to the Pulao. We will also sprinkle a pinch of it on the fried shrimp
25 medium sized prawn -- marinate with salt and turmeric and a 1/4 tsp of that spice powder
Wash and soak 1&1/4 cups of rice in water
Heat 1 tbsp Oil. Saute the shrimp till they turn pink-yellow. Remove and keep aside.
That oil now has a beautiful flavor, add 1 more tbsp ghee to same pot. Wait for it to heat up. temper the ghee/oil with
2 Bay Leaf
1 Big Brown Cardamom
In 30-60 sec add
2 cups of thinly sliced onions.
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of sugar and fry the onions till soft and golden. About 4-5 minutes
2 tsp of Ginger-Garlic Paste. Ideally you should make paste of ginger-garlic--green chili. I skipped the chili. Please add 3-4 green chili ground to paste if you wish.
Fry for a minute
Add 1 tomato chopped. Sprinkle some salt and cover and let the tomato cook. This will take 4-5 minutes at end of which the tomato will be totally disintegrated.
Next goes in
half of the dry spice powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
1 tsp of dried mint/ 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped corriander
Saute for couple of minutes
Add 1 cup of coconut milk thinned with water. Let the gravy come to a boil. At this point add salt to taste and the fried shrimp. Let the gravy thicken.
Mean while in a separate fry pan heat 1 tbsp Ghee. Temper the ghee with few cloves(4) and green cardamom. Drain the rice and add it to the fry pan. Fry the rice at low heat till all the grains of rice are nicely coated with ghee.This will take about 3 minutes.
Add the fried raw rice to the gravy in Step 1. Add the remaining spice powder. Mix gently. Now add water (1.5:1 ratio of water to rice), cover and let the rice cook. When adding water, be careful because the gravy already has some water so adjust and extra water accordingly.
Once the rice is almost done, add the shrimp(that you had removed and kept aside) along with any gravy it has. Add 1/2 tbsp of ghee. Let the rice finish cooking. Taste a little. If needed add more salt. Also add 1/4 tsp sugar. Once done fluff with a fork.