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Khuzestani Spicy Shrimp & Rice

Khuzestani Spicy Shrimp & Rice

This Khuzestani dish for spicy shrimp and rice has become part of Iranian cuisine in general, more cosmopolitan versions have the shrimp sauteed with onions as well as the marinade and have walnuts added to the rice. But I was curious to make this basic version as it required me using cooking techniques I was unfamiliar with. Truth be told, I thought that after soaking the rice in salted water for two hours and cooking it for well over an hour, it would be mush - but it was very tender while still holding its shape. It also wasn't very salty. The raw shrimp steamed nicely encased by the rice, and they weren't overcooked, as I feared they could be. I did use jumbo shrimp instead of the small ones this recipe calls for as that's what I had at home.

In all, my husband liked this recipe very much. I don't eat shrimp myself, but I enjoyed the rice.


Khuzestani Spicy Shrimp & Rice


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 lb small shrimp, without shells and tails
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground dried lime or sumac
  • 1/4 tsp ground dried fenugreek
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp powdered saffron
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided


Rinse the rice under cold water. In a large bowl, dissolve 1/4 cup of salt in 8 cups (1/2 gallon) of water. Add the rinsed rice and let soak for 2 hours. Drain.

Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp under cold water, drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the minced garlic, turmeric, dried lime or sumac, fenugreek, black and red peppers and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well and allow to marinate for at least one hour.

Dissolve the saffron in 3 Tbsp of hot water and set aside

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a pot. Add the drained rice, cover and bring to a boil. Boil on medium heat for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.

Heat 4 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add half the rice and spread throughout the bottom of the pan. Top with the shrimp and cover with the rest of the rice. Try to shape the rice into a pyramid and make a few holes on the rice for the steam to come through. Steam for 7 minutes. Pour the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, the saffron water and an additional 3 tablespoons of water over the rice. Cover, bring heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe at Turmeric & Saffron

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