If you’re using fresh prawns remove the shell and the intestinal tract (the black vein along the back). You can do that by making a shallow cut along the back and then carefully pulling it out.
Finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot and coriander/cilantro.
Fry the onions in 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and fry both together for another 2 minutes.
Now add the prawns, tomato paste, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Combine everything well.
Cover the ingredients with 1 cup / 240ml freshly boiled water and add the carrots, sweetcorn, peas, coriander and saffron to it.
Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes over medium heat.
Wash the rice until the water almost runs clear.
Bring 5 cups/1.2l of water together with 1 tbsp of salt to boil in a pan. Once boiling, add the rice to it and keep the temperature high to bring it back to boiling again.
Let the rice parboil for 3 to 7 minutes. The exact time varies from brand to brand. I recommend removing a rice corn every minute or so to see if it is half cooked. Split it in half with your fingernail. The outside should be cooked and soft, while the centre should still be firm.
Once the rice is parboiled to this stage, drain it in a strainer and rinse it thoroughly with cool water. This will interrupt the cooking process and wash off any excess salt.
Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp of the sauce to a coated pan. Give it a quick shake.
Now add a thin layer of rice to the pan, then add a little sauce. Continue layering this way, finishing with a layer of sauce that covers all the rice.
Poke three holes in it with the back of a wooden spoon. This helps the moisture evaporate and allows the rice to cook evenly. Place the pan over medium heat. Once you see steam rising from the rice, cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel, press it firmly on the pan and reduce the heat to low.
Let the rice steam for 45 min over low heat.
Wet the tip of a kitchen towel and hold it against the side of the rice pan. If it makes a sound like ‘tssss’, your rice is ready.
Remove the lid and replace it with an upside down plate. Carefully flip the pan over. If the tahdig doesn’t come out of the pan easily, you can submerge it in a sink filled with a little cool water. This usually does the trick.
Transfer the tahdig onto a separate plate.
Serve the prawn rice with pickles (I recommend mango). Enjoy!