I love the versatility of this recipe, which I found in Rick Stein’s book ‘Coast to Coast’. It is excellent with prawns, chicken or pork – and I reckon it would also work well with tofu marinated in sweet chilli sauce. If you are using it for anything other than fish, use chicken stock. Leave out the protein and serve it in place of boiled rice and you have the perfect accompaniment to aromatic curries, or serve it alongside grilled fish.
There is no chilli or hot spice here, just the warming perfume of cloves, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander. It is exquisite.
Picture Credit: The Happy Foodie
RECIPE serves 4
400g North Atlantic prawns
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
½ tsp tomato purée
700ml fish stock
350g basmati rice
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
the seeds from 3 green cardamom pods (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 4 pieces
¼ tsp ground turmeric
a small handful of chopped coriander leaves
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
If you are lucky enough to have whole prawns (with the heads and shells), you will need more than 400g in total weight, so judge accordingly. Peel them but keep the heads and shells for use in the broth you are going to make. Put the prawns on a plate and set aside.
Heat 25g of the butter in a large pan, add the onion and carrot and fry over a medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the prawn heads and shells if you have them and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato purée and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain into a measuring jug; if there is more than 600ml, return it to the clean pan and boil rapidly until reduced to this amount. Season carefully.
If using uncooked prawns, drop them into the boiling broth for a minute or so until they just turn pink. Remove from the broth and set aside on a broad plate to cool.
Meanwhile, cover the rice with fresh water and leave to soak while you prepare the next stage. Drain well before using.
Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan and add the shallots, garlic, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and turmeric and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat the rice with the spicy butter. Add the stock to the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down to the slightest simmer, put a lid on the pan and leave to cook gently for 10 minutes. Don’t lift the lid during this time.
Uncover the rice and gently stir in the peeled prawns, coriander, diced tomatoes and some seasoning to taste. Re-cover, this time with a teatowel between the lid and the rice, and leave for 5 minutes to warm through. Then spoon into a warmed serving dish and serve.
If using chicken or pork, the meat will need to be cooked before stirring through the rice.