Prawns, like many foods harvested from the sea, need to be as ethically sourced as possible. In this country you can buy prawns with the blue MSC eco label that indicates they are sustainable and traceable. We have to be hugely aware of what we eat in every way, not just for the benefit of our physical health, but also the health of other species, and the planet.
This wonderful recipe can of course be made without prawns, it’s entirely up to each individual. I love to create and share recipes that everyone can enjoy making, without garnishing them with too much of a moral message. It’s then up to each of us to decide what we feel about the foods we buy, cook and eat.
So if you like prawns, and you like rice, this is a winner. I love to eat bowl food because it’s easy, you can mix so many flavours together, and the result can be so amazingly satisfying. I concocted this recipe when a friend and her lovely 9 year old daughter Georgia were staying with us. Georgia’s favourite foods are prawns and rice, so I decided to make supper using both, along with lots of nutritious vegetables, and then Georgia and I prepared the meal together. She loved it, and everyone else did too. I loved the fact that they loved it, which meant we were all happy.
Ingredients to serve 4:
20 raw king prawns
2 mugs basmati rice
4 -5 mugs vegetable stock, mixed in a measuring jug
A small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
A medium courgette, finely chopped
A small carrot, sliced into thin rounds
A yellow pepper, diced
A handful of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
A handful of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp organic cold pressed olive oil
A tbsp ghee
Zest and juice of a lemon
A small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
A tsp chilli flakes +more to serve
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
Parmesan cheese to serve
Seasoning to taste
An hour before you start cooking, place the rice in a saucepan and wash it under a hot tap two or three times, draining the water after each wash. Now add fresh hot water to cover the rice and soak it.
Fry the onion in the oil and ghee in a lidded casserole pot until soft and pale golden. Now add the courgettes and carrots and fry until softened, making sure you stir regularly. Now throw in the mushrooms and pepper, and again stir everything well and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the mushrooms are no longer raw. Next, add the prawns and paprika, and cook for a minute or two before you drain the rice thoroughly, and add it to the mixture. Increase the heat and make sure you stir well so all the grains are properly coated with the oil and ghee, perhaps adding a little more oil if needed. After a good 5 minutes or so, you can add three quarters of the stock, some salt and pepper, around a teaspoon of chilli flakes, along with the tomatoes. Bring everything to a gentle boil and turn the heat down to low, put a lid on and cook until the stock has been almost fully absorbed. This will take about 15 minutes or so. Just before it is done, add the lemon zest and juice, gently stir it through, then put the lid back on and wait until all the liquid has gone. The extra stock is good to have on standby to add if the rice feels like it’s sticking to the bottom of the pan at any point during the 15 minutes.
Serve in warmed bowls and have some freshly grated parmesan on the table to sprinkle on top, along with the parsley. I also keep some more chilli flakes handy for those who prefer it more spicy.