top of page

Mumbai Style Prawn & Peas Pulao

The great thing about living in a megapolis is that diversity hits you from every corner.

And in that respect Mumbai is a lot like New York.

Invariably what begins as traditional, amalgamates into a style entirely its own. This recipe shows influences from Bengali cuisine with the use of Bengali garam masala unique in that it uses only 3 ingredients – cloves, cardamom and cinnamon ground up to a fine dust.

But then it also uses coconut milk which is so very Western and Southern Indian in its roots.

Case and point – a recipe that is all Mumbai no matter where the story began. It’s also one I grew up with. We’ve all grown up with dishes where our eyes would light up when Mom said, it’s what’s for dinner. This is one of those for me and not surprisingly the same of my boys today.

It's not hard to imagine why – fragrant ghee, sautéed onions with long grain Basmati rice which is cooked in seafood stock & coconut milk and flavored with ground garam masala. Peas & marinated shrimp are added in the final minutes.

The result, lovely morsels of basmati rice, fragrant with the scent of cardamom & spices in which plump, succulent shrimp is nestled with peas, providing that much needed burst of color.

Simply delicious! I have no doubt it’ll light up your eyes and those you’re serving it up to.



Recipe for

Mumbai Style Prawn & Peas Pulao

Serves 4

Shopping list:

1.5 lbs uncooked prawns – deveined, peeled

2 yellow onions (to yield 2-1/2 cups sliced)

2-3 Thai green chillies

1 cup frozen green peas

2 cups Basmati rice – Indian or Pakistani

Seafood stock + ½ can coconut milk = total liquid 4 cups

1-1/2 tsp salt

3 tbs Ghee


1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground Turmeric


1-1/2 tsp cardamom seeds

1 tsp cloves

1” piece cinnamon broken into smaller pieces


Rice: Soak the rice in 5 cups of hot tap water. Once the rice grains are opaque white, drain completely in a sieve and set aside.

Prawns – Rub with salt and turmeric and set aside.

Onions: Peel, discard skin and ends. Halve and thinly slice.

Green chillies – Cut a slit in the center. Do not separate.

Liquids: Measure and set aside ready to use.

Spices: Grind to a fine powder in a dry coffee grinder NOT used for coffee but reserved for spices.


In a large sauté pan heat the ghee until very hot. Add the onions, ½ tsp salt & green chilies. Sauté over medium heat for approx. 10-15 minutes until the onions are a light golden brown and softened.

Add the soaked rice & with a gentle hand, sauté for about 7-10 minutes until the rice is fried and completely coated with the ghee.

Add the liquid, increase heat and bring to rolling boil. Add salt & all but 1 tsp of the ground spices. Reduce to medium-low heat. Place a clean towel over the pot, placing a tight fitting lid over, fold the towel over the lid so it is not dropping into the pot or dangling near the flame.

After about 7-8 minutes, gently stir and add the peas and the prawns. Gently fold the rice over and replace the towel and lid.

Cook for another 10 minutes or so until the rice is just tender and the shrimp is cooked. At this point, flake the rice with a fork without breaking. Replace the towel and lid and rest undisturbed for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot.




bottom of page