Prawns Pulao with Coconut Milk

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Prawns Pulao with Coconut Milk Recipe is a delicious, one-pot rice recipe that is made with tender, juicy prawns, and creamy coconut milk, all cooked with aromatic spices. A wholesome dish!

prawns pulao recipe pin

About the Recipe

The Prawns Pulao with Coconut Milk Recipe is a delicious one-pot rice dish featuring tender, juicy prawns, and creamy coconut milk. This flavorful rice recipe is prepared with aromatic spices, creating a satisfying meal!

Let me just start by saying I just love Prawns! 😍

Prawns, known as ‘jhinga’ in Hindi, are commonly referred to as ‘jhinga pulao’. There are various ways to prepare this simple prawn pulao. Some might cook this with green herby paste, or cook it in a pressure cooker.

This is a recipe from my mom, who has been cooking it for years. The mildly sweet and meaty prawns are cooked in creamy coconut milk, flavored with aromatic whole spices. Everything just works!

The only difference between prawns biryani and prawns pulao is that it is not layered like biryani instead it is cooked in a pot.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This prawns pulao (shrimp pilaf)

  • Is quick and easy to prepare
  • A versatile and customizable recipe
  • Flavorful one-pot meal
  • Perfect for seafood enthusiasts
  • A great dish for parties, pot-luck, & family gatherings
  • Is gluten-free

Prawns Pulao Ingredients

Rice – I have used long-grain basmati rice in this recipe. Choose long-grain basmati if you prefer fluffy and separate rice grains, or opt for any short-grain rice of your choice if you like a soft, mushy prawn pilaf.

Prawns – Medium-sized prawns work best in this recipe, but you can opt for large or jumbo-sized prawns if you prefer. The choice is yours. Just avoid using small-sized prawns as they might get lost in the pulao.

Whole Spices – You will need a mix of whole spices such as cinnamon stick, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and black and green cardamom. These spices are sautéed in the oil to add a lovely aroma to the rice.

Note – If you don’t have all the spices, it’s okay. Just use whichever ones are available.

Powdered Spices – Along with the whole spices, you will also need some basic powdered spices such as turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala powder.

Aromatics & Herbs – Sliced onions, ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilies, and freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Lemon / Lime juice – for a little bit of zesty flavor at the end!

Watch the Recipe Video!

How to Make Prawns Pulao

Step 1 – Marinate the Prawns and Soak the Rice

To marinate the prawns, combine cleaned and deveined prawns with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a bowl. Set them aside for 15 minutes.

Rinse the rice thoroughly twice with water or until the water runs clear. Then, soak it in 2 cups of water. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the onions, chop the green chilies, and chop fresh coriander leaves.

Step 2 – Sauté the Whole Spices

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or pan on medium heat. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and black, and green cardamom. Sauté for a few seconds.

Add the black peppercorns, cloves, and half a teaspoon of cumin seeds. Saute for about 30 seconds.

Step 3 – Cook the Aromatics

Next, add paste or coarsely crushed ginger-garlic and chopped green chilies. Saute until fragrant.

Once the raw aroma disappears, add the thinly sliced onions. Saute until the onions turn golden brown or translucent.

Step 4 – Add Rice and Prawns

Add the marinated prawns and freshly chopped coriander leaves. Mix everything well and cook for a few seconds. Let the prawns absorb the flavors.

Next, add the soaked and drained rice to the pan.

Step 5 – Flavor the Pulao

Now, add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Mix it well, so that the grains get coated evenly with the masala. Be gentle while mixing the rice, so that the rice grains do not break.

Step 6 – Cook the Rice

Pour in the coconut milk and warm water. Stir it gently, mixing everything well.

Cover the pan and let it simmer on low heat until all the water is absorbed, and the rice is fully cooked. This will take around 15 minutes.

Step 7 – Garnish & Serve

Turn off the heat and let it sit undisturbed for another 10 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork. Garnish with more freshly chopped coriander leaves. Serve it hot!

step 8

Serving Suggestions

Basically, it is absolutely delicious as a standalone meal without any side dishes. But if you like, you can serve a creamy yogurt raita or refreshing green salad.

Check out the recipe for beetroot yogurt raita.

You can also serve it along with papad, pickle, or chutney.

Check out the recipe for sweet mango chutney and kacche aam ki launji (sweet spicy mango pickle).

Variations for Prawns Pulao

  1. Substitute the prawns with shrimp.
  2. You can make this recipe even with cooked leftover rice. Instead of using coconut milk, you can use ¼ cup of coconut cream.
  3. Make it more nutritious by adding vegetables such as diced potatoes, carrots, chopped bell peppers, green peas, cauliflower, or green beans.
  4. Along with coriander leaves, you can also use mint leaves, green onions, etc. Feel free to customize it to your liking.
  5. You can substitute coconut milk with chicken stock or vegetable stock or just prawns (shrimp) stock. If using better than bouillon or vegetable bouillon cube (Maggi stock cube), reduce the salt in the recipe accordingly.
prawns pulao

Storage & Reheating

To store leftovers, let the pulao cool down completely before storing it. Store it in an airtight container within 2 hours of cooking. It will stay fresh for up to 2 days.

To freeze, portion the rice in individual servings and store it in a freezer-safe airtight container or ziplock bag. You can freeze for up to 1 month and then thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

For reheating, on a stovetop, heat a pan on medium heat and transfer the pulao to the pan. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, stirring frequently,  and heat for about 6-8 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave.

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prawns pulao

Prawns Pulao in Coconut Milk Recipe

Prawns Pulao with Coconut Milk Recipe is a delicious, one-pot rice recipe that is made with tender, juicy prawns, and creamy coconut milk, all cooked with aromatic spices. A wholesome dish!
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinate & Soak 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people


  • 1 1/2 cup rice washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup prawns cleaned and de-veined
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 no cinnamon stick
  • 1 no black cardamom
  • 1 no green cardamom
  • 3 nos bay leaves
  • 3-4 nos cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 nos green chilies chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3/4 cup onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • salt to taste



  • Marinate the deveined prawns with a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Keep it aside for 15-20 minutes.
    1/2 cup prawns, 1 tsp turmeric powder, salt
  • Wash the rice twice, drain the water, and soak it in water for 15-20 minutes.
    1 1/2 cup rice


  • Heat ghee in a pan on low flame. Add cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, black peppercorns, black cardamom, green cardamom, and cumin seeds. Sauté for few seconds.
    3 tbsp oil, 1 no cinnamon stick, 1 no black cardamom, 1 no green cardamom, 3 nos bay leaves, 3-4 nos cloves, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Add chopped green chilies and ginger-garlic paste, sauté until fragrant.
    2 nos green chilies, 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • Next, add the sliced onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Cook until golden brow.
    3/4 cup onion
  • Now, chopped coriander leaves, soaked rice (without water), and marinated prawns. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
    1/2 cup prawns, 1/2 cup coriander leaves, 1 1/2 cup rice
  • Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Gently mix without breaking the rice strands.
    1/4 tsp garam masala, 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Next, add the warm water and coconut milk. Adjust salt according to taste.
    2 cup coconut milk, 3/4 cup warm water, salt
  • Cover and cook on low heat until rice is tender and has absorbed the coconut milk. It will take around 15 minutes.
  • Once the pulao is done, fluff it with a fork. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
    1/2 cup coriander leaves

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