Seafood Coconut Pulao (Pilaf)
A coastal pulao fragrant with Basmati rice, coconut milk and whole spices and dotted with succulent nuggets of seafood.
shelled and de-veined
small to medium-sized calamari
cleaned and sliced into thick rings
any white fish
de-boned and cut into 1.5” x 1.5” square chunks
medium onions thinly sliced
’ piece of fresh ginger
sliced into thin matchsticks
whole green chillies
slit lengthwise, halfway
nos 1” cinnamon sticks
A pinch of saffron
Wash and soak the rice in a large pot for 20 minutes and then drain completely to remove all water.
Before you start the pulao, deep fry the shallots in a small pan of oil, drain and set aside. These can be stored in an airtight box for a few days.
Put a wide, heavy-based skillet or pan on medium heat, pour in the ghee and 3 teaspoons of the onion oil from the fried shallots.
When the oil is hot, throw in the whole spices and let them pop and fry for 10-15 seconds.
Add the sliced onions and fry gently till golden (not brown).
Toss in the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute more.
Now add the drained rice and continue to saute, stirring frequently to coat the rice with the ghee. Fry the rice for 5-7 mins on low heat till lightly toasted.
Season with the ground spices, saffron and salt and fry for 30 seconds more.
Put in the green chillies and curry leaves.
In a jug, combine the coconut milk and water and mix. Pour half of it into the pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cover and let the rice cook on low heat checking once every now and then if more liquid is needed.
Cook for 15 minutes (the rice should be 70 per cent done by now).
Gently, without breaking the grains, mix in the seafood and the remaining liquid. Check for salt, correct, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Once all the coconut milk has been absorbed and the seafood almost done, turn off the heat, cover the pan and keep aside.
Before serving, lightly fluff up the pulao with a fork, and sprinkle with the fried shallots.
The amount of liquid is approximate. Depending on the variety of Basmati, you may need a little more or less.