Prawn Pulao-Jhinga Pulao

"Gourmet Indian cooking in Minutes," Monisha Bharadwaj/Journospeak Project: 

Yes, you guessed it right. Its my own version of the Julie-Julia Project. Julie Powell recreated Julia Child's recipes from one of her famous books, in 365 days. I do not plan to follow Julia to the T, but in spirit almost. On a whim, I had picked up a  few books on Indian cooking from the local library. In fact, I was amazed at the wide selection of Indian cookery books they had in a library in mid west US.  Most of the books were typical, called for too many ingredients,and too lenghty procedures, so in short not too practical. 

And then there was the inspiration: Monisha Bharadwaj's,'Gourmet Indian Cooking in Minutes.' The cover had a picture of a squash dish, and what caught my eye, was the abundance of 'panch phoron' in the dish. That was an instant appeal to my Bong sensibilities. Soaked myself into the book and told myself, why not a shortened or an improvised Julie/Julia Project of my own. So I called it the "Gourmet Indian Cooking in Minutes," Monisha Bharadwaj/Journospeak Project:Ambitious, pretty ambitous. Given the fact that I have only recreated one of the 140 recipes. 

What I really liked about Monisha's book was the way she had improvised and simplified the cooking procedures. The Recipes did not scream out for exotic ingredients. Its not that its difficult to procure the exotic ingredients, but in a cook book whats often needed are ideas to ease out everyday dinners and lunches. We all know what is good for parties and get togethers. Chicken B

Where do I start from, well how about a one dish meal, something which would not need too many sides. Zeroed in on the Jhinga Pulao/ Prawn Pulao. Another reason why I chose this particular dish were again the ingredients. The name Pulao, and I had thought would have some heavy spices, like garam masala, but what this dish boasted of, was coriander leaf/cilantro paste, and tomato ketchup. Yes, you heard it right, tomato ketchup. I really wanted to see how this Pulao would turn out to be. So thought of making it earlier in the day, because if it failed, I would have time to cook up a back up. So made some chicken liver curry as a back up, for if the Pulao didnt click, I would just have to steam some rice.  


Canola Oil
Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
Onion: 1 large: chopped
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Green chiilies: 2: slit
Prawn: 1/3 cup
Basmati rice: 1 cup, washed and drained.
Ground cilantro/coriander leaf: 4tbsp
Tomato Ketchup: 1/4 cup
Salt, to taste
Handful of Cilantro/coriander leaf: chopped 
Hot Water: 2 cups

Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan, and fry the cumin seeds. 

As they darken, add the onion, and let soften. Add the ginger garlic paste and the chillies. 

Add the prawns and stir.

Tip in the ground cilantro. 

Blend and add the ketchup, salt, and half the chopped cilantro. Mix. 

Add in the rice and fry for around 2-3 minutes. 

While Monisha's recipe called for the Pulao to be cooked on the stove, my first experience was not that great. Hence the second time, I made it, I did the last bit of cooking in the microwave, which ensured that the rice was not over cooked and mushy. if you have a rice cooker, you can also use it. So transfer the contents to a large microwave-able bowl. 

Add in 2 cups of boiling water and Microwave the contents for around 15-20 minutes, until the rice is fluffy and tender, but not mushy. 

Run a fork through the rice to loosen it, and serve with the remaining cilantro sprinkled on top. 

Bon appetit! 


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