Friday, November 30, 2012

Pumpkin Prawn Pilaf - Pumpkin #3

I tried a pumpkin prawn pilaf recipe from a local women magazine, and unfortunately, I found it lacking in flavour (just my own opinion). Personally (you may think otherwise), I will prefer more spices to go with it. The recipe for 4 servings also called for 3 cups of raw basmathi of which is quite a lot! 3 cups raw basmathi will give you around 9 cups cooked (unfluffed) rice and imagine after fluffing.....woah...I can't imagine 4 persons eating that. When I tried out the recipe to serve 3 big eaters plus kids, I cut the rice to half and the rest remained. It looked fine, proportion of rice and prawns looked good, but tasted not as good as I hoped, since making seasoned rice is usually quite straightforward with not much techniques involved. I wonder how many of you have encountered such problems with recipes from women magazines.

from the magazine

I served 8 adults with this recipe, using less than 3 cups of basmathi. I also did it my way according to my own preference with additional spices and butter, or better, use ghee.
Like most seasoned rice, this can be made few hours ahead of time if you want.
And you can use boneless chicken if you prefer. Just cook it together with the pumpkin instead of putting in last. Don't forget to marinate and sear the chicken too!

2nd attempt, improved recipe

All pictures except this above are from 1st attempt (based on recipe from magazine) and I didn't have the time to take more pictures from the 2nd attempt.
You can see the prawns look different. The 1st attempt, they look 'clean', and 2nd attempt they look 'dirty'. Heheh, the dirty version is much better for me.
The rice is also more flavourful with the additional spices and butter.

Cooking instrcutions are written for microwave oven because I still don't own a rice cooker and my husband knows why, LOL.

Oh yes, this rice is not spicy as in "hot". I served this to my kids too.

Pumpkin Prawn Pilaf
Recipe by: WendyinKK
Serves 8

500gm large prawns (before cleaning)
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
1 cardamom pod
½ tsp salt
Grind the spices and marinate the prawns for half an hour

500gm basmathi (I used Moghul brand that comes in 1kg pack)
500gm pumpkin (clean weight)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
2 inches cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1  or 2 Tbsp butter (as much as you like, muahahahah)
2 sprigs of curry leaves, detached
2 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder
750gm water

1. Heat wok until very hot and put in 3 tbsp oil. Sear each prawn until almost cooked. (I use one hand to put in each prawn and one hand to flip) Push the prawns one side and let the oil flow to other side. (my prawns are only 3/4 cooked)
2. With the same oil (add more if seems too little), sauté the mustard seeds until they jump, then put in cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and sauté until fragrant. Then put in onion, garlic, butter and curry leaves and sauté until the onions look translucent. Put in turmeric powder and salt.
3. Put in the rice and toss it around. Put in water and let it come to a boil.
4. Transfer to a microwave safe vessel (I used 3L Corningware). Put the lid on and zap on high for 5 minutes. Let rice sit for 5 minutes.(the water will be fully absorbed by the rice).
5. Put pumpkin cubes on top of rice and zap on high for another 6 minutes. Place prawns on top of pumpkin and zap on high for another 2 minutes.
6. Let rice sit for half an hour (at least) before fluffing and serve.

If you want to use the rice cooker, start from step 3 and transfer the tossed rice to the cooker, cook until the bubbling subsides, then put in the pumpkin. Don't stir When the light goes off, put in the prawns. Let rice sit before fluffing.


  1. To add flavour, I will cook a pot of stock with the prawn shells and use the stock to cook the rice.

  2. Wendy, it looks fantastic! Yeah, from my recent experience, I am now very careful when I take recipes from magazines and books. Better use other bloggers' recipes because they are tested :)

  3. oh wow, my stomach just make a sound after I browsed these delicious looking prawn pilaf...calling out I want some! I want some!

  4. Fong,
    It lacks an edge to flavour... as if there's no uumph ;)
    The sweetness from the pumpkin make the rice sweet, but.... really, it needed the extra spice.

    Phong Hong,
    LOL, I rarely too, but that time I was just curious.

    Help yourself, this could serve 8 :)

  5. Love this, reminds me both of pumpkin rice, and of indian pilaf, a nice mix!

  6. Wendy, you are right to add or minus when it comes to following what's printed in a magazine. Usually people, who give away their recipes to be printed, tend to hold back something from their original recipes. I had bad experiences from it especially baking.
    Btw, the rice looks not only attractive but delicious!

  7. everything sounds nice just that i'm still not sure abt basmathi rice..must try the rice outside first then only know. You know i like pumpkins..;)


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