1 cup (200 g) regular basmati rice
120 g toor dal (yellow split lentils)
100 g ghee
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 cardamom pods, cracked 4 cloves
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste (see below)
1 small green chilli, minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
600 g raw prawn meat, peeled, deveined and butterflied
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 fresh curry leaves
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon coriander leaves
Wash the rice and the dal separately. Soak in separate bowls of cold water for 30 minutes. Drain.
Melt 50 g of the ghee in a wide-based pan over medium heat. As the ghee melts, add the whole spices and fry for 1 minute or until starting to colour. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger garlic paste, chilli and pepper and stir to combine. Add the drained rice and dal and stir to coat in the onion mixture. Add 6 cups (1½ litres) boiling water and 2 teaspoons salt, cover and cook over medium–low heat for 15 minutes or until rice and dal are cooked and much of the water is absorbed. If it’s too dry, just add a little extra hot water. It should be the consistency of a risotto. Remove from heat and discard the whole spices.
Meanwhile, season the prawns with the turmeric, cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Melt the remaining 50 g ghee in a frying pan over high heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add the curry leaves and the seasoned prawns and cook, tossing over the heat, for 2 minutes or until prawns start to colour. Add the tomato and cook for 30 seconds. Add the prawns to the hot rice and stir until thoroughly combined. Check seasoning and garnish with coriander to serve.
An essential component in many of the recipes in Christine Manfield's Indian Cooking Class cookbook, ginger garlic paste adds essential fragrance and flavour.
Roughly chop equal quantities of garlic cloves and peeled fresh ginger and blend in a food processor with a spoonful of water to form a smooth paste.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within two days.