There’s a new food blogging event that is perfect for me, since I love to read and to cook: A cook’s book club, hosted by Meena of Hooked on Heat, where everyone reads the same book, then cooks a dish inspired by the story. “Serving Crazy with Curry,” by Amulya Malladi, is the first book.
I really enjoyed the book, although it was sad and intense in parts. But there was also humor and, for me, interesting descriptions of a culture that I was not real familiar with. In all, I found it absorbing and a great read.
The next task was to select a recipe inspired by the book. I decided to make the Cajun Prawn Biriyani with spiced rice that Devi, the main character, creates after an intense episode in her life (I don’t want to give away too much, in case any readers want to read the book). I had chicken biryani at a local Indian restaurant once and really enjoyed it, so I decided to try this one.
The main problem was that Devi didn’t give any measurements or proportions in the recipe printed in the book, so I had to improvise. I know that Indian cooking is often intensely flavored, but I didn’t want to overdo it, so I was probably a bit more conservative than necessary. It turned out well, but it didn’t taste as good as it smelled 🙂 I will probably make it again, but I will adjust the amounts of herbs and spices to provide more flavor. She also didn’t say what the marinade consisted of, other than the herbs and spices, so I added some canola oil.
I was going to buy some cardamom, but it was very expensive and I wasn’t sure I would use it again, so I decided to use garam masala, which I already had and which has most of the spices mentioned in the recipe for rice in the book. I also served garlic naan bread from Trader Joe’s.
Cajun Prawn Biriyani
1 lb. large raw prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp. each granulated garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, paprika, white pepper and black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne powder
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
Whisk together herbs, spices, Worcestershire sauce and oil. Add prawns and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 30 minutes.
2 tbsp. ghee or canola oil
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
Heat ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garam masala and bay leaf; stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add onion and stir till softened, 4-5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with ghee or oil. Add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until done.
In a saute pan, saute marinated prawns in butter with marinade, 3-4 minutes or until prawns are pink and opaque. Serve with rice and cucumber raita.