Aromatic Indian Shrimp Pilaf (Kolambi Bhaat) Recipe

Beyond Curry

Inspired Indian home cooking.

Aromatic Indian Shrimp Pilaf (Kolambi Bhaat) Recipe

[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

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  • Yield:Serves 2
  • Active time: 35 minutes
  • Total time:35 mins


  • 1 1/2 cups medium shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coconut flesh
  • 3 serrano chilies split lenghtwise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 medium clove garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3 cups water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 whole star anise cloves
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 2 cups Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup coconut milk


  1. 1.

    Combine shrimp, turmeric, and lime juice in a bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. 2.

    Combine coconut, chilies, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons water in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

  3. 3.

    Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until shimmering. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves and star anise. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the marinated shrimp and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground spice paste and mix through with the shrimp and onion mixture. Stir vigorously until well blended and oil starts separating from the mixture-about 2 minutes. Add rice. Stir gently until the spice mixture coats the grains well. Add 3 cups hot water, 1 cup coconut water, and a teaspoon of salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, remove lid, and let cook without stirring until rice is cooked and water has dried up, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with papadums and raita.