Prawns ya Pilau (“Prawns with Rice”) is a national Tanzanian favorite dish. Many cultures have rice and seafood dishes, however, how the rice is prepared is where there is usually an ethnic distinction.
In Tanzania, heavily spiced, rich with unique-to-Africa spices and herbs rice is what really sets this dish in a class of its own. And trust me, Prawns ya Pilau, Tanzanian style, is super delicious!
Prawns ya Pilau Tanzanian Style Recipe-
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- ½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
- ½ tsp. whole red peppercorns
- ½ tsp. whole cloves
- 1 stick of cinnamon stick
- 4 or 5 whole cardamom pods
- 10 oz. green beans, ends trimmed
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 8 large cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
- 3 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
- 1-1/2 lb. fresh prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, left whole if small, if very large, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 potatoes, peeled chopped into ½” cubes
- Basmati rice needs to be cleaned, and also it will be fluffier if washed several times in fresh changes of cold water. Drain off the water in-between washing, refresh the cold water, stir and mix the water through the rice with each cleaning. When the water drains off clear, refill the rice filled bowl once more with more fresh clean water and let the rice soak in it for about half an hour.
- Heat the oil in a deep, large cooking pot. Sauté the onions until they are soft, translucent, and fragrant. Stir in the ginger and garlic. Continue cooking and stirring until the flavors have combined well and have taken on a rich aroma.
- Add in all the spices now and sauté for two to three minutes, making certain you don’t burn the mixture.
- Add in the prawns, stir and sauté over high heat for just 1 or 2 minutes, until they turn bright pink.
- Lower the heat and simmer for a few more minutes until cooked through.
- Remove prawns and most of the onions, and set them aside, leaving the spices and herbs in the pot.
- Add in the potato cubes and green beans, raise heat to medium high, and sauté while stirring now and then, until the potatoes are browned and cooked through and the beans are softened. Remove from the pot, and set aside.
- Add 6 cups of fresh water into the pot and bring it to a vigorous boil, then add in the rice, reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer, stir once, and then let it cook, uncovered. The rice will be almost done when you tip the pot sideways and just a little bit of water seeps down the side of the pot.
- At this point, you add the potatoes, beans, and prawns back into the pot. Stir and mix them thoroughly throughout the rice. Cover the pot with its lid. If the lid is not real tight fitting, seal the lid to the top of the pot with a sheet of aluminum foil before placing the lid down.
- Turn the heat down to its lowest temperature, and allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes before turning it off altogether.
- Serve your Prawns ya Pilau while nice and hot, with a condiment of Ugali.
Note: This recipe is just one of hundreds, taken from our African Cuisine pages.