Prawns Pilau

Servings : Serves 3-4

If you like seafood, you will love this pilau. Spicy prawns cooked in a flavourful pilau, this meal is delicious and so very easy to prepare.

Ingredients for Prawns

  • 250-300 gm prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of paprika powder
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp butter or oil

Ingredients for Pilau

  • 2 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 5 whole black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water (or as needed)
  • fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • lime slices for garnish


First we start with the prawns. I prefer to partially cook the prawns then just stir them into the pilau in the last few minutes. This avoids over-cooking the prawns as they literally take minutes to get fully cooked and simmering them with the pilau risks the chance of them getting overcooked, hard and rubbery.

In a bowl, mix the salt, chilli, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, garlic and lemon juice. Apply this all over the prawns, cover and allow them to marinate for a few minutes.

In the meantime, wash and rinse off the starch from your rice, and then soak for about 20-30 minutes.

Add 1 tbsp of oil or butter in a pan and fry the marinated prawns for literally no more than 2-3 minutes, do not overcook. Remove onto a plate and set them aside.

If any oil remained in the pan after frying the prawns, do not discard it. Use this for the pilau as it will help infuse more flavour to the dish. Add the butter and additional oil if required, heat it up and add the whole spices (cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper). Allow them to splutter, then add the chopped onions. Fry until golden brown. Next add the garlic paste and fry for a few seconds, then add the potatoes and all the powdered spices. Cook these for a minute stirring regularly, then add the stock or water. I normally use one and a quarter cups of liquid per cup of rice, and that works for my type of rice. But if yours requires more liquid, by all means use as much as needed. Add a little salt if necessary (depending on whether your stock was salted or not).

Once it starts boiling, add the drained rice and sprinkle a bit of fresh coriander on this, stir it in. Let this simmer on high heat for 2-3 minutes then stir and reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking it whilst covered until the water diminishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly.

Once you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible and add in your pre-cooked prawns. Give it a final gentle stir and then seal your pan by using a tight lid or wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it. Allow the pilau to steam for about 10-15 minutes. Switch off and serve. Be sure to garnish with some fresh coriander and a couple slices of lime.

Enjoy! 🙂

Leave a Reply