Prawn pilaf

For this recipe you’ll need to prepare a cartouche out of greaseproof paper/baking parchment. Nothing to be scared about, a cartouche is essentially a paper lid. Using no lid allows too much steam to escape during cooking and browning where you might not want browning. Using a lid will only allow a little steam to escape, leaving too much moisture at the end of cooking. A cartouche gives you something between the two. A cartouche can also be used for lining baking tins or for lining pastry before blind-baking.

A cartouche is easy to make, all you need are a few folds and a pair of scissors. You can watch a video of someone making a cartouche here.

Serves 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes


2 tbsp olive oil

2 inch cinnamon stick

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped

zest of one lemon, finely chopped

1/6 ring picante chorizo, thinly sliced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 dried chillies

salt and pepper

110g Basmati rice

chicken stock (double the volume of the rice – for example, if the rice measures 1/2 cup in volume, you’ll need 1 cup of stock)

1 pack cooked peeled prawns (approx. 200g)

handful each of frozen peas and green beans or thinly sliced runner beans

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley leaves (optional)

1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Heat the oil in a shallow ovenproof casserole or pan, pop in the cinnamon stick before gently cooking the onion until it is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and lemon zest and continue to cook gently until the smell of the garlic mellows.
  3. Tip in the chorizo and cook for a few minutes to release the oils.
  4. Add the spices, salt and pepper then the rice. Coat the rice in the onion and spice mixture before pouring in the stock.
  5. As you wait for the stock to come to the boil, pour a drizzle of oil onto one side of your cartouche and rub all over.
  6. Add the beans then place the cartouche, oil side down, carefully on top of the contents of your pan and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and lift off the cartouche. Add the prawns and peas then gently stir through using a fork.
  8. Replace the cartouche and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Check that the rice is cooked. You can always return the pan to the oven with a drop of extra water if needed.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Remove the cartouche, stir through the rice with a fork, squeeze on a little lemon juice and sprinkle with the herbs and almonds (if using) before serving.