Prawn Polao cooked in coconut milk and nutmeg : traditional Bengali polao recipe

"Prawn Polao cooked in coconut milk and nutmeg : traditional Bengali polao recipe"

"Prawn Polao cooked in coconut milk and nutmeg : traditional Bengali polao recipe"

This dish can create the ideal feast. You'll need aromatic rice, shrimp, and nutmeg for this simple but delectable meal. Nutmeg is required for a true Bengali polao dish.

With prawn polao and creamy lentil sauce, steamed lemon bekti, nutty stuffed parwal and mango raita will help you to spread a traditional Indian platter on the table for any occasion. (see Recipe Index).

By Barnali Dutta
Published: May 1, 2014

Bengali chingri polao - prasadam prawn polao.

(150 reviews)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients : Serves 2

1. Long grain basmati rice (old rice is preferable), 1 cup

2.  Jumbo prawn, 250g.

3.  Salt and turmeric for seasoning , 1 teaspoon.

4.  Hot boiled water , 1 cup.

5.  Lukewarm coconut milk , 1/4 cup

6.  Saffron, 1 pinch, toasted and powdered.

7.  Clarified butter , 4 teaspoon. [or vegetable oil of your choice]

7.  Curry leaves , 1 swirl

8.  Thinly sliced red onion , 50g

9.  Ginger paste , 1 teaspoon

10.  Silted green chili , 2

11.  1pc Star anise and a pinch of nutmeg, 

12.  Cashew nuts , 1 tablespoon

13.  Vegetable oil , 3 teaspoon.

14.  Salt and granulated sugar to taste.



1.  Bengali garam masala, whole spices

2.  Cinnamon or dalchini 1 inch, 1

3.  Clove or lavang, 2 to 3

4.  Cardamom or green elaichi, 2 to 2.  Black peppercorn, 1 teaspoon

5.  Bay leaves, 1

6  Whole dried red chili, 1


My intention is to identify the food items that are free from any religious and communal bias and refer to the food habits of the people in all parts of India, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Read "How to Cook up a storm in the kitchen with some bitter vegetables, 'Bengali shukto' a Must Try dish at Least Once in Your lifetime." here.


1. Wash, clean and soak the rice in water for 10 minutes, keep aside.

2. After half an hour drain the soaked rice, scatter the rice on a platter to dry in open air for another 15 minutes.

3. In the meantime clean prawn, wash with salted lukewarm water, season with salt and turmeric, keep aside.

4.  Take a pan, toast one pinch saffron on low fire, powder it with your finger and add to the lukewarm coconut milk, keep aside.

4. Heat a pan, turn simmer, add 4 teaspoon clarified butter or vegetable oil of your choice, add Bengali garam masala whole spices and 1 teaspoon salt, let the spices slightly burn , take out the spices, but do not throw away. Keep the spiced infused clarified butter in another bowl.

5. Take 2 teaspoon spice-infused clarified butter or oil add to the dried rice, add ginger paste, mix carefully, keep aside for another 15 minutes.

6. In a pan take measured water for cooking rice, add those fried whole spices, add another teaspoon salt, turn fire on and keep simmer, let it boil slowly first , strain the spiced boiling water, keep aside.

7. Take a wide-mouth deep pan, heat oil,  add sliced onion, slightly broken cashew nuts, star anise, nutmeg, curry leaves, silted green chili and the seasoned prawn. Fry until it becomes translucent in color. Add spiced rice, fry well carefully. Add hot spiced water and lukewarm saffron milk. Stir and cover with pan-lid.

8. After it starts boiling turn into simmer.  If you can, add some boiling water carefully on the pan-lid, it will make the moisture from the top also.

9.  It will take approximately 10 minutes to soak all the water and make the best flavored  polao rice you ever had. Open the lid carefully, add rest of the infused oil or clarified butter, stir gently and turn the heat off. Give a standing time for not more than 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Serving options

* I did set the hot cooked polao rice in a panna cotta ring mold for 5 minutes.  First I took the prawns from the rice and aligned by the side of the ring and then covered the empty area with cooked polao rice. It was so tempting in all the ways like eyes, nose as well as our tastes buds.

** Polao can be served with any semi-gravy preparation and raita for a full course meal.