Kolambi Bhath (Shrimp Rice) is a typical Konkani dish. The Konkan region follows the western coastline of Maharashtra State. This famous stretch of land is well known for both its lovely scenic beaches & freshly prepared seafood dishes.
Traditionally, this recipe is usually prepared as a one-pot meal but I find that actually cooking the components separately & then assembling them just before serving results in a tastier final dish. Any extra time & effort needed is totally worth it.
KOLAMBI BHATH (Konkani Shrimp Rice)
1 lb large shrimp (peeled, de-veined & tail-on)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise – to taste
1 bay leaf
2 cups Basmati rice (rinsed & drained well)
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1½ tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp kala/goda masala (or you can use garam masala or even pulao masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup green peas (thaw if frozen)
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely minced
4+ tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly grated coconut for garnish
fresh lemon or lime wedges for garnish
In a medium size mixing bowl, add the shrimp along with the following: 1 tbsp oil, ¼ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp ground coriander powder, salt & pepper. Mix well to combine, cover & let marinate for up to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
In a large deep skillet or pot on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of oil. When hot, add the onions & sauté lightly until translucent. Then add the ginger, green chilies & bay leaf. Let cook until the onion starts to brown & add in the remaining spices (turmeric, ground coriander powder, kala masala, salt & pepper). Now add in the rice & mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Let cook for 4-5 minutes before adding the coconut milk along with 1 cup of water. Stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover & let cook for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork & add in the green peas & cilantro leaves. Gently mix well & transfer to a serving platter.
While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cast iron skillets are absolutely perfect for this recipe, so if you have one, by all means, use it. When hot, add a tbsp or so of the oil and swirl it around so the bottom of the skillet is evenly coated. Carefully add a few of the shrimp in a single layer. This may need to be done in batches. Cook each shrimp for just a few minutes on one side, then carefully turn the shrimp and let it brown on the other side for just 30-45 seconds. Do not overcook. You can add a little oil if needed. The outside of the shrimp should be golden brown and slightly crispy while the inside should be fully cooked yet still succulent. Remove the shrimps from the skillet, drain well on a paper towel.
Lastly, arrange the shrimps on top of the rice. Garnish with the grated coconut & lemon wedges, serve hot with some yogurt & papads (crisp lentil wafers) on the side.