Monday, May 14, 2007

Kolambi Khichadi (Prawn Rice)

Residents of Colaba are familiar with the fishy smell of Sassoon Docks near by. Or Eau de Colaba as I prefer to call it. The fishing boats are already docked by early morning and the auction of the day's catch takes place early in the morning around 5:30 a.m. By 11:30 a.m. it arrives at homes in Pune. There are fish mongers that bring the catch straight to your homes on specially fashioned bicycles. The fish is held in large cane baskets filled with ice attached directly to the bicycles. After a decent amount of haggling the over priced fish makes it to the kitchen by noon in time for lunch by 1:00 p.m. Prawns are a favourite among fish mongers as they're expensive and they can carry a good amount in their baskets effortlessly. They are the best way to cheat poor housewives on the weight if they aren't paying attention. There are few recipes for fish in Pune, almost all of which come from the Konkan strip. Fish Koliwada (Fish Fry), Kalvan Bhat (Fish Curry and white rice) and Kolambi Khichadi (Prawn Rice). All Konkani fish curries use a lot of coconut due to the abundance of coconut palms on the coast. It also gives fish curries that sweet creamy texture. Especially in the Khichadi. It's one of my favourite Indian foods and no one makes it like mom does.

1 1/2 lb Jumbo Prawn. Peeled and deveined.
3 Cups Basmati Rice
I Cup Cream of Coconut or Coconut Milk
2 Large White Onions finely chopped
2 Large Tomato finely chopped
3-4 Green Chilies slit longitudinally
1/2 cup Coriander finely chopped
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 Tsp Turmeric
2 Tsp Garam Masala
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Peanut or Olive Oil

Place oil in a deep pot and add garlic and green chilies while oil is still cold.
Turn heat to medium.
When garlic starts to splatter add onion and stir.
Keep stirring till onion turns brown and translucent. (10 min on medium heat).
Add tomato and turn heat to high.
Stir and allow to cook till the tomato dissolves into the onion. (5 min).
Add Chili, Turmeric, Garam Masala and salt.
Allow to cook for 2 min until it turns into a paste.
Add Prawns and stir till Prawns curl and change colour.
Add Rice, Coconut milk and Coriander and 2 cups of water.
Stir and mix well.
Turn heat to medium and place a lid on the pot.
Keep stirring occasionally so that all the Prawns don't rise to the top.
Keep adding water as needed till all the Rice is cooked.
Garnish with Coriander and serve hot with Papad.