Cookbook Profile

Seafood Pilaf with Saffron

Goan Pulao
6 servings


In Goa, influences of Portuguese rule still linger. Aromas of vinegar, coconut milk, cashews, chilies and garlic emanate from Goan kitchens and permeate many a seafood preparation.

1 cup uncooked basmati or regular long-grain rice
1/2 pound mussels in shells
1/2 pound uncooked extra-jumbo shrimp,
    (8 to 10), peeled and deveined
1/2 pound sea or bay scallops
1 cup shredded fresh coconut
    or 1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 medium cloves garlic
4 or 5 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chilies
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup raw whole cashews
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 dried bay leaves
2 three-inch sticks cinnamon
2 medium red onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-1/2 cups cold water
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Place rice in medium bowl, add enough cold water to cover rice. Rub rice gently between fingers, drain. Repeat 4 or 5 times until water is clear; drain. Cover rice with cold water; soak 30 minutes. Drain, set aside.

2. While rice is soaking, discard any broken-shell or open (dead) mussels. Scrub remaining mussels in cold water, removing any barnacles with a dull paring knife. Remove beards. Place mussels in large container. Cover with cool water. Agitate water with hand, then drain and discard water. Repeat several times until water runs clear, drain.

3. Rinse and drain shrimp and scallops. Place shrimp, scallops and mussels in medium bowl.

4. Place coconut, vinegar, salt, garlic and chilies in blender. Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth. Pour over seafood mixture, mix well. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.

5. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add cashews, stir-fry 15 to 30 seconds or until cashews are golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

6. Add cumin seed, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks to oil, sizzle 15 to 30 seconds. Mix in onions; stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are golden brown. Stir in green beans and 1/4 cup of the cold water, reduce heat. Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until beans are partially cooked.

7. Add rice, gently stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, taking care not to break tender rice grains. Stir in remaining 2-1/4 cups cold water, the saffron and salt. Heat to boiling, stirring once, reduce heat to medium-high. Cook uncovered 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all the water has evaporated.

8. Drain seafood, discard marinade. Arrange mussels, shrimp and scallops evenly over top of rice, push mussels in the rice. Cover and cook 10 minutes; remove from heat. Let stand covered 4 to 6 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.

9. Fluff pilaf with fork or spoon to release steam. Serve sprinkled with roasted cashews. Serve with bay leaves and cinnamon sticks left in, but do not eat them.


From the Chef

The resemblance to the Spanish shellfish paella is uncanny in this rice pilaf that includes succulent shrimp, scallops and mussels in a saffron-perfumed bed of basmati rice. This version, though, is quite soft in texture. I like to use fresh green beans, but when they aren't at their peak, crisp and tender, I use a 9-ounce box of frozen cut green beans instead."

1 Serving: Calories 310 (Calories from Fat 15); Fat 13g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 500mg; Carbohydrate 39g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 13g. % Daily Value: Vitamin A 6%; Vitamin C 10%; Calcium 8%; Iron 26% Diet Exchanges: 2 Starch, 1/2 Lean Meat, 2 Vegetable, 2 Fat.

Buy the Book!


Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking
Recipes by Raghavan Iyer
Hungry Minds, Inc., May 2001
Hardcover, $23.95
Full-color photographs throughout
ISBN: 0-7645-6315-7
Recipe reprinted by permission.


Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking



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This page created September 2001