From Shiraz, actually. Those Shirazis sure know how to have a good time, right? I’ll spare you the nostalgia blah blah about how my mum used to make this dish with prawns my dad brought from Bandar Abbas, and jump right to the heart of the matter.
Raisins (the black ones, “currants” you can get from the bakery section of the supermarket- Canadians put them in muffins and cookies, Iranians on, or in rice. Of course. )
Spices: Turmeric and cinnamon (and also salt and pepper)
Chop onion. Let brown gently in melted butter. At some point, when the onions are not quite golden-brown, add the raisins (which you have previously washed and de-stalked). Sprinkle about the spices. Continue stirring- raisins burn easily and turmeric goes bitter if fried too long. Add prawns (which you have deveined and deshelled already). Continue pushing around.
Meanwhile, let rice come to a boil with about a finger of water standing over it. As the water of the rice has almost evaporated, add the rice to the prawn mixture, or the prawn mixture to the rice, whichver. It’s better if you add the rice to the prawns, because you don’t lose the delicious buttery burnt bits sticking to the frying pan.
Add some water to the prawn-rice mixture, continue stirring with a wooden spoon, taking care not mash up the rice or crush the prawns. Turn heat even lower, make sure there is enough water in the pan, put on the lid and let “settle”. The rice should be a rich browny-yellow colour. You may cheat and add a teaspoonful of tomato paste if you like more of a reddish colour, but personally, I think the rice-cinnamon-butter smell is beautiful and needs no improvement.
When the rice is well-cooked (none of your al-dente, “nutty” texture crap for us, thank you), your dish is ready. Enjoy, crying with pleasure.
This is a really, really delicious dish. It’s good for dinner parties and guests, with a nice salad. etc.