Persian Gulf-style prawn and herb rice

Persian Gulf-style prawn and herb rice

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

The Indian influences on Persian Gulf cooking are obvious in this dish, which has more than a hint of heat and many more spices than you find elsewhere in Iran.


Quantity Ingredient
300g iranian or best-quality basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
80ml vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
200g peeled prawns, (tails intact)
1/3 cup finely snipped chives
1/3 cup finely shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup finely shredded dill sprigs
1/3 cup finely shredded coriander leaves
40g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons Saffron chelow, (liquid)


  1. Wash, soak and parboil the rice as with Persian chelow.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the fenugreek in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and spices and fry gently for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Add the prawns and stir them briefly in the spice mixture until they start to change colour. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs.
  3. Return the rice saucepan to a medium heat and add the remaining oil and 2 tablespoons water. As soon as the oil begins to sizzle, spoon in enough rice to cover the base of the pan in a thin layer. Scatter a layer of the prawn mixture over the rice. Continue to layer the rice and the prawn mixture, building them up into a pyramid. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke five or six holes down through the rice to the base of the pan to help it steam. Mix 2 tablespoons warm water with the melted butter and saffron liquid and drizzle this over the rice. Continue as with Persian chelow.
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