Anyhow Prawn and Pea Pulao

June 28, 2011

Something unusual happened to me recently. A new friendship turned ugly. Nasty accusations got made. Yours truly got to play chief antagonist in a real-life Lindsay Lohan drama.

Normally, I’d take a whiff and move on. But my testosterone levels have sunk to record lows lately. I blame motherhood. So I cried copious tears, while cradling a bottle of vino and ranting down the phone to an unsuspecting close friend.

A whole hour later I realised the poor man had slid off to watch TV. Not wishing to bother him with my theatrics, I plonked myself on the sofa pleasantly enquiring about the sword-wielding blonde gracing the silver screen.

It’s Kill Bill, he said. A movie about a woman who is betrayed by everyone she loves and trusts. Cue: more floods of tears followed by a prompt end to the day.

Sometimes in life you need things that just work. Like unconditional love. Solid friendships. Trusted kitchen appliances. Failsafe recipes. The things that you care for dearly. That take anything you throw at them. Last forever. And can be relied upon come rain or shine.

This recipe for Prawn and Pea Pulao is one that has survived through thick and thin with me. Quick dinner for sister. Check. Lunch for toddler playdate. Check. Centre piece for dinner party. Check check. I’ve left the peas out once, taken the tomatoes out another time and used yoghurt instead, mixed in some fresh coriander and each time the result is tremendous.

The trick is to cook the rice separately while the prawn masala bubbles away and then mix the two together. This is cheating, of course (this isn’t), but it speeds up the cooking time dramatically and the end result is almost foolproof in its fluffy perfection.

To be eaten with true friends and plain yoghurt. Naturally.



Feeds 4:

  • 350gm uncooked Basmati rice
  • 250gm raw prawns
  • Half pint glass of shelled peas
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 inch ginger and 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp oil (go on use ghee if you fancy it…)
  • Salt to taste


Wash the rice and cook it in a large pan or rice cooker. In the meantime, slice the onion finely, mince finely or puree the ginger and garlic together and wash and clean the prawns. Unless they are ready prepared like the ones I use!

In a large pan, bring the oil/ghee to heat over a high flame. When it’s hot, add the whole spices and as they sizzle up the onions, ginger and garlic. Saute the whole lot for about five minutes until it starts going golden, then roughly chop the tomato and throw it in along with the turmeric and chilli powders.

Fry this lot for about five minutes, then simmer for another five. Next, stir in the prawns with the peas and cook until the prawns go pink and firm. Add salt now and check to make sure it’s well salty. Then simply stir in the cooked rice and serve.

You can add other vegetables like peas, potatoes, cauliflower just make sure they are cooked when you mix the rice in. Also, if using yoghurt use a full fat version and add it instead of the tomatoes.



38 Responses to “Anyhow Prawn and Pea Pulao”

  1. Su-Lin Says:

    June 28th, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    *big hug* Hope everything’s now ok!

    This recipe sounds fantastic – excellent for a weekday!

  2. Mary Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 1:10 am

    God this looks amazing. Yum.

  3. Sabah Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 1:29 am

    The flavors sound delicious. What would you recommend as a substitute for prawns, so that it can be made vegetarian. Thank you!

  4. Sally - My Custard Pie Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 4:11 am

    I would want to cook and eat this at the end of a horrid day too. Hope you feel better.

  5. Sia Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    whoever made u cry like this is sooooo not worth to be a friend! cheer up lady. i always say that life is too precious to be wasted on people like that ;) u can always count on me if u need someone to talk to :)
    coming to the recipe part, i too cook rice separately if i want some fluffy, gorgeous looking rice dish. will try veggie version with yougurt soon.

  6. Amy Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Would a bit of saffron go well with this as well?

    And ignore the nasty people!

  7. BongMom Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Give the nasty friend a big dose of red chili powder. Feel better.

    Loved this prawn pulao, I like this kind

  8. chinmayie @ love food eat Says:

    June 29th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I totally understand what you went through… I have had my share of such people in life :( But yeah… soon you realize that life has a lot more to it!
    Prawn Pulao looks perfect! I am vegetarian but hubby will surely love this :)

  9. Rajani Says:

    June 30th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    A cup of ice cream would have been a more suitable post here :). But I hope the wonderful pulao did its bit of magic and you got over the bad patch.

  10. C Says:

    June 30th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Hi, can you please tell the grams in cups…thanks

  11. kaberi Says:

    July 1st, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Hi this is a lovely pulao ,today I tried it comes very tasty,I cook to make my grand daughter happy coz today morning we had a small fight.Thanks

  12. Swapna Says:

    July 1st, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Hey .. Nice to know you’re back .. I ardently checked your website months in a row and alomost gave up on you. But all is well.. :)

  13. Alessandra Says:

    July 7th, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Hi Mallika, sorry If I am writing you here, I tried to send you a message but it doesn’t seem to want to leave my computer. If you like please read this and the remove it :-)

    I am a friend of Johanna, a blogger and also a published food writer (so I know more or less where copyrights start and end). When Johanna told her story I felt so sorry, I didn’t expect something like this to happen in New Zealand (such a small country!).

    I told Johanna to blog about it, and then I wrote a post too linking her

    I am not sure of the situation in the UK, but here bloggers are just starting to find their feet, so I would like to call all for solidarity and talk openly about these issues, so thank you for your support to Johanna and the others :-).


    good to know your blog, I am learning to cook Indian dishes, I am a still ‘timid’ when handling spices, but I am getting there, slowly!

  14. healthometer Says:

    July 14th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Lol i’d better get some new scales coz i’ll be getting fat from all this good food!

  15. Jim Says:

    July 16th, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Sorry to hear about your relationship… Thanks for keeping the blog alive through adversity.

  16. Tania Says:

    July 16th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    The recipe was simply terrific. Just made my otherwise boring saturday a lot better. Thank you so much :)

  17. Aar Bee Says:

    July 29th, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Good to see you back! Follow your blog regularly but this my first comment :) This is so my kinda pulao. I do a near similar one where I mix everything up on the stove and then bung it into the microwave for 15 minutes and voila! Love this with chicken or egg curry.

  18. Jim Says:

    August 16th, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    You haven’t missed on a recipe yet… I’m sure that this one is great! We are planning an Indian food night for some friends, are are going to try and incorporate only your dishes!

  19. Francoise Says:

    August 21st, 2011 at 8:00 am

    first off im chinese and i’ve eaten only chinese food all my life, the idea of spices freaks me out, but my mother bought me your lovely book a month before i left to study in india, i have mastered 5 recipes and i loooove the lentil ones, i have on serious problem though, i am in karnataka state india and language is a huge barrier for me as i do not know hindi, almost all your dal recipes require asafoetida and i keep asking the shop keep but he has no idea what im on about, i do so love the spice and you were right even if foul smelling it is rather yum in the right amounts, please could someone tell me how to say the spice name in hindi? or kanada??

  20. Hannah Says:

    August 22nd, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Wow this dish sounds (and looks) delicious! You can’t go wrong with fresh prawns.

  21. Lwagner Says:

    September 7th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Love your posts. Have since purchased your book :)

  22. Candace Says:

    September 12th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Wow! fried rice with shrimp, my favorite! :) cant wait to try this one. Looks great and tasty! Many thanks for sharing! :)

  23. Dina Says:

    September 12th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    to Francoise

    Its called Heeng (pronounced like hee-ing)

  24. Lily Says:

    September 15th, 2011 at 1:24 am

    @Francoise : If you still haven’t got an answer – ‘asafoetida’ is called ‘hing’ – ask for that in the shops .

    Below is a link of the most common brand of asafoetida you get in India – you could even take a printout of this to the shops :)

  25. zian Says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 3:57 am

    luks yummy…i luv prawns..

  26. Shefali D Says:

    September 20th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    A very yummy treat..:) I am surely gonna try making this…however, I do hope my limited cooking skills help out.


  27. thebuddinggourmet Says:

    October 19th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    mice :) thanks for sharing.

  28. Rachel Says:

    November 4th, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Another great dish! I made this tonight and it was a hit at the dinner table. Thanks for the recipe.

  29. Dave Says:

    November 20th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    This is so simple and sounds terrific! Can’t wait to try it! Enjoy your blog. Dave

  30. Indian Kitchen Recipes Says:

    December 2nd, 2011 at 11:33 am

    nice Prawn Pulao recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Mallika Says:

    December 6th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks Dave! You’ll have to report back on your efforts

  32. Asit Says:

    December 8th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    The coments page is too long. I just wanted the recipe, and there is no print-out ikon.

  33. Cheoy Lee Says:

    January 5th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I love the name of this dish :)

  34. Anyhow Prawn Pulao | Cooking Technology Says:

    January 6th, 2012 at 2:31 am

    […] Source: […]

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    January 12th, 2012 at 5:00 am

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  36. minnu Says:

    January 12th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I came here when I did a search on Google for “healthy indian food blogs” .After reading your whole story,the only thing I would like to say is “Life is too small to even think about these nasty people.Ignore them Lady:)” BTW,I make the shrimp biryani exactly like this.

  37. minnu Says:

    January 12th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Oops..I mean pulao…

  38. Friday Night Dinner Ideas {with prawns} | Fig & Cherry Says:

    September 6th, 2012 at 2:41 am

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