Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meatless Recipe: Rice Pilau with Garlic Shrimp and "Raita"

Rice Pilau is one of my family's favorite rice dishes. It is hearty enough to be the main course. I like variety in my foods so I usually serve Rice Pilau with meat as a side dish. In this case, shrimp was the side dish.  The original recipe for Rice Pilau came from an international cookbook.  It was either Betty Crocker International Cookbook or Betters Home and Garden International Cookbook.  I do not remember.  It was my mother's cookbook.

Rice Pilau
The following is my recipe for Rice Pilau.
Combination of rice and lentils waiting to be washed

Combination raisins and Craisins

Chopped onions


1 cup rice (I used half white and half brown rice for this dish)
1/2 cup dried lentils (make sure to rinse)
1/2 cup diced or chopped onions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and approximately 1/2 tbsp. butter (the butter can be omitted)  The original recipe calls for Ghee. Click the "Ghee" for recipe if you prefer a more authentic Indian flavor.
1/2 cup raisins (I used 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup Craisins).
2 Tsp. Chicken Bouillion
1 Tsp. or more depending on your preference of Curry Powder.  Note:  when I do not have curry powder I use approximately 1/2 tsp. cumin and 1 tablespoon Turmeric.  Even if you do use Curry Powder, you can add the additional spices.
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cup boiling water

Garnish:  Toasted almond slivers
Fresh Cilantro leaves

Rice Pilau goes into oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a heavy large skillet or even a heavy saucepan, add the oil and butter (or Ghee), rice, lentils and onions.  Stir in raisins, chicken bullion, curry (or Turmeric and cumin), and salt to taste.  Pour into an ungreased casserole dish (I used a Pyrex dish).  Carefully, pour boiling water over the contents of the baking dish.  There should be approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of water over the top of the rice.  It does not have to be perfect.  If too much water, the rice will be very soft.  If too little water, it may be a little hard on top of the rice.  Bake in oven until all the water is absorbed.

Garnish with toasted almond slivers and fresh cilantro leaves.  You can omit the garnishes if you prefer.

Rice Pilau coming out of oven

Rice Pilau with Shrimp and Garlic, Raita and Fresh Pineapple Spears
Shrimp and Garlic:

1/2 lb. to 1 lb. large Shrimp (21/25 count) shelled and deveined
3 large minced garlic cloves
Extra virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dry shrimp on paper towels. Set aside.  Heat skillet.  Add oil and garlic.  When garlic is lightly brown, add shrimp and fry until brown. Turn over and fry for another few seconds or so.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from stove immediately and set aside.

Raita (Cucumber with Yogurt)

Raita is the Indian version of cucumber and yogurt.  The Greeks call it Tzatziki.

The following is my version of this salad.  I do not know if it really Indian though...

1 large Japanese cucumber, remove seeds and peel.  Diced.
1/2 cup plain yogurt.  Greek Yogurt would be good.  I used the homemade yogurt I made earlier.
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Minced Spearmint (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Extra virgin olive oil (drizzle...also optional).
Pinch of Cumin (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Fresh Pineapple Spears
Cutting the pineapple with a Chinese cleaver
Pineapple spears

I was able to find another small sweet pineapple.  It went well with this meal because the sweetness of the pineapple accompanied the the savory flavors very nicely.

Serves 3 to 4


elle said...

Esther, this rice dish looks extremely tasty! Thanks for stopping by my blog. A marinaded pork loin sounds delicious, maybe I'll have to make that soon!

─ elle,

Esther G. said...

Thanks Elle :-)

Katerina said...

This pilau looks really hearty and comforting. The flavors yo combined are awesome!

Esther G. said...

Thank you Katerina. :-)