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prawn pulao in a bowl

Prawns Pulao

Prawns pulao is a delicate, flavorful prawn and rice dish fit for a feast. Ready in 30 minutes in the instant pot, it is a no-fuss, must-have recipe!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword prawns pulao, pulao, rice, seafood
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Calories 273.3kcal


  • 3 cups 30 frozen raw prawns or frozen raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • cup cooking oil
  • one small onion
  • one small tomato
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon fresh crushed red chilli or powdered chilli
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron strands
  • salt to taste



  • Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Keep aside.
  • Chop the onions, ginger and tomato roughly and blend in a blender to get a smooth puree.
  • Put the cardamom, fennel, bay leaf and cinnamon in a dry spice or coffee grinder and grind to get a fine powder.

Cook (Instant Pot Method)

  • Turn the instant pot to saute mode and add the cooking oil. Tip in the onion-ginger-tomato puree. Add the red chilli and dry masala (ground cardamom, fennel, bay leaf and cinnamon). Saute for 5 minutes, adding splashes of water to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Turn off the saute mode.
  • Add the prawns, rice, saffron, salt and 2 cups water. Mix everything with a spoon. Secure the lid, make sure the steam release handle is on 'sealing' and press the pressure cooking button (high). Set the timer to 4 minutes.
  • When the timer beeps, release the pressure after 5 minutes. Take the pulao out in a dish and serve warm with the garnish of your choice (any green leaves like mint, cilantro or parsley).

Cook (Stovetop Method)

  • Heat oil in a big saucepan and add the onion-ginger-tomato puree along with the dry masala and red chilli powder. Saute until the masala becomes thick and shiny. Add a few tablespoons of water to keep the masala from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the prawns, drained rice, saffron, salt and 2.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  • When the rice has absorbed most of the water, cover the pan with a lid and switch off the gas. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Then, take off the lid, garnish with your favorite greens and serve warm.


  1. The spices used in this recipe are also available in any Indian grocery. Sometimes, they can be found in the international aisles of big supermarkets like Walmart as well.


Calories: 273.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.1g | Protein: 11.8g | Fat: 16.8g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14.6g | Cholesterol: 93.8mg | Sodium: 819.9mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 1.2g