Influences from all over the Middle East and South Asia converge in this highly seasoned seafood pilaf made with curry and shrimp. This recipe first appeared in SAVEUR Issue #140 along with Anissa Helou's story Breaking the Fast.
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 5 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1⁄2 cup canola oil
- 15 curry leaves
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 tsp. bzar
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (2″) piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 dried black limes
- 2 plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
- 2 2⁄3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 lb. jumbo head-on shrimp, cleaned
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
Place rice, 3 tsp. salt, and 3 cups water in a medium bowl; let soak for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375°. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add curry leaves and cloves and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add spice mix, turmeric, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add limes and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain rice and add to pot along with remaining salt and stock; bring to a boil and then arrange shrimp on top of ingredients in pot. Cover and transfer to oven; bake until rice is tender and shrimp are cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside; stir 2 tbsp. each parsley and cilantro into rice. Transfer rice to a large serving platter and arrange shrimp on top; sprinkle with remaining parsley and cilantro.