Monday, September 28, 2009


Bahraini Prawns in Tomato Sauce with Muhammar

And yet another success!

I made these dishes on Monday, September 28 for Andy, Jennifer, Mike and me. I chose the muhammar because it is the national dish. I made the prawns in tomato sauce so that we'd have something to eat with the rice. I absolutely loved this dish. I highly recommend it to you all. It is not difficult to make, either!

I ended up using 16/20 shrimp instead of prawns. Neither Kowlaski's nor Whole Foods had any prawns. While I recognize that prawns and shrimp are technically different, the difference is very subtle. I also wasn't sure what the original recipe meant by "prawn masala powder", so I bought some garam masala powder. I think that it was this spice that made me love this dish so much: that and the fresh tomatoes that came from Andy's parents' garden. The sauce was sweet and savory at the same time. I can't even begin to explain how good it was.

The muhammar is the national dish of Bahrain. It translates to "sweet rice dish." Even though the recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of rosewater, its presence is very noticeable. At first bite, I felt like I was eating rice flavored with perfume, which I guess I was in a way. Andy thought that the rice tasted like Trix cereal. What I found, however, was that the rice was the perfect accompaniment to the prawns in tomato sauce. I would not recommend it alone though.

Prawns in Tomato Sauce
Serves: 6

The recipe as I made it, modified from the original:

- 2 lbs. fresh shrimp (as large as you can get), shelled and de-veined
- 2 c. fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 c. chopped green pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garam masala powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 3 T. tomato paste
- 3 T. oil (I used 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. of canola oil because I ran out of the former)

1) Put the shrimp, tomatoes and green pepper into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes.
2) Add the salt, garam masala, turmeric, tomato paste and oil. Decrease heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.
3) Serve with muhammar.

Serves: 6

The recipe as I made it, essentially copied from the original:

- 1/4 tsp. saffron
- 2 T. rose water
- 3 cardamom seeds, cracked
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 c. water
- 2 c. basmati rice
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1/2 c. sugar
- salt

1) Soak saffron, cardamom and cloves in rosewater; leave aside to steep.
2) Lightly salt water and bring to a boil. Add rice; boil to half-cooked, about 8 minutes. Drain.
3) Stir sugar through the hot rice.
4) Heat the butter in the same pan the rice was boiled and add the sweetened rice. Sprinkle the rosewater mixture on top.
5) Cover the rim of the pan with a clean dishcloth and place lid on tightly.
6) Cook over very low heat for 25 minutes.
7) To serve, top with melted butter.

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