Green Prawns Pulao


Goa-based Chryselle D’Silva Dias’s recipe for green prawn pulao was first written down in a notebook by her younger sister Pearl about 30 years ago from a cook-along TV show. It was the first recipe in that notebook. Chryselle, a reluctant cook back then, was amused by her sister’s competence in cooking this seemingly complicated two-page-long recipe. Pearl, meanwhile, cooked for her family, her siblings often ending up as guinea pigs for her kitchen experiments—all mostly hits. 


Following a long hiatus, Pearl took to cooking again after the pandemic. Although the writing on the pages has faded, she still resorts to the decades-old notebook to cook her old favourites, like this flavourful preparation, for her daughter.

Green chillies 3, large, stems removed
Ginger Large piece (approximately 2 inches)
Peeled garlic cloves 20
Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Black peppercorns 5-6
Vegetable Oil 2 tablespoons
Chopped onion 100 grams or 1 cup
Chopped tomato 200 grams or 1.5 cups
Sugar 2 teaspoons
Garam masala powder 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
Cleaned, deveined prawns 400 grams
Green masala prawns as mentioned above
Cooked basmati rice (with whole spices) 500 grams or 4 cups
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Chopped mint leaves for garnish

Mixer grinder, Heavy-bottomed pan


To make the green masala paste, grind the cleaned coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic cloves, turmeric powder, cumin, and peppercorns together in a mixer. The ground paste should be smooth and fine. Keep aside once ground.


In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat some oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions first.


Cook the onions on a medium flame until translucent, then add in the chopped tomatoes and the green paste. Mix well.


Allow the mixture to cook on the same medium flame until the raw, pungent aroma changes to a milder cooked aroma. The colour of the paste will also change slightly, from a vibrant green to a darker shade as the paste cooks.


Once the paste is cooked, add the sugar, garam masala, and lemon juice to the mixture. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on a low flame, to ensure it does not burn. In case the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water.


Add the prawns and saute for 3-5 minutes until cooked. Prawns cook quickly, so make sure you don’t overcook them. A good indicator of prawns being cooked is a change in their colour—from a translucent grey to a completely opaque whitish-pink.


To assemble the pulao, layer the cooked basmati rice and the green masala prawns alternatively. Garnish with some fresh herbs like chopped coriander and mint leaves.


Chryselle D’Silva Dias is a Goa-based journalist whose writing has appeared in publications such as TIME, BBC, The Atlantic, and The Hindu, among others. Chryselle writes about travel, culture, literacy, books, education, interiors, green issues, and civic (non)sense. She is on Instagram @missfrangipani

Pearl D’Silva is a seasoned banker and also who loves to experiment with cooking on weekends.

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