Apr 052022
LOKI’S Prawn Masala with Saffron Rice and Raita

Loki’s Prawn Masala with Saffron Rice and Raita

Full disclaimer: NOT my recipe. It's from Loki who participated in Masterchef AU Season 10
I have made some changes but generally it IS the same.
My reason for publishing it here, is it is too valuable a recipe, if it were to ever get removed from the Masterchef website
Print Recipe



  • 1 cup basmati rice rinsed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 pinch saffron strands


  • 2 pinches saffron strands Infusion used throughout recipe
  • 10-12 drops lemon juice
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika plus more to sprinkle for garnish
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds toasted and crushed
  • 12 borage flowers Okay to leave out
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Prawn Masala

  • 16 large Prawns
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 4 cardamom pods no need to grind to powder – just tell your guests.
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 red onion finely diced
  • 2 birds eye chilli finely chopped
  • 5 cm piece ginger can use from a jar
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 ripe roma tomatoes chopped – can use tinned
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • saffron water *reserved from making Raita
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 tsp uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • finely sliced coriander leaves
  • finely sliced ginger


  • DO THIS STEP 1st – Place saffron and 100ml of hot water into a small bowl and set aside to infuse. This infusion will be used throughout the recipe.

For the Roti

  • I use THIS recipe for the Roti.
  • Heat a large frypan over medium heat. Add roti and cook on each side until golden, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from pan, cover roti with a warm tea towel to keep warm and set aside.

For the Rice

  • You can use a rice cooker.
    If using a pot: place the rice in a medium saucepan. Add 4 cups of water, salt and saffron and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for 12-14 minutes or according to packaging instructions. Drain then return rice to saucepan, cover with lid and set aside, keeping warm.

For the Raita

  • Can be done the day before.
  • Place saffron and 100ml of hot water into a small bowl and set aside to infuse.
  • Place yoghurt in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons water. Add smoked paprika, toasted cumin, borage flowers, salt, and pepper and mix well.
  • Drizzle with 1 tablespoon saffron water, reserving remaining saffron water for the Prawn Masala. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

For the Prawn Masala

  • Clean prawns, slice in half lengthwise and set aside. Reserve 2 – 3 heads, lightly crush and set aside.
  • Place oil in a large frypan and set over medium heat. Add cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, bay leaves and curry leaves and cook until curry leaves blister. Reduce heat to low, add onions and birds eye chilli and fry gently until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile place ginger and 4 garlic cloves into a mortar and pestle and pound to a paste. Add the paste to the frying onion and chilli mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, chilli powder and salt and stir well.
  • Add reserved, bruised prawn heads, and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is reduced, well caramelised and a dark colour. Remove prawn heads.
  • Add reserved (from Raita) saffron water and stir through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place a small pan on a low to medium heat. Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, remaining cinnamon stick, remaining 4 cloves, and dried chilli to the pan and toast until fragrant. Transfer spices to a mortar and pestle.
  • Place uncooked rice in the hot pan and toast until fragrant. Transfer rice to the spices in the mortar and pestle and crush to a fine powder.
  • Add the remaining 4 garlic cloves to the powder and pound to a paste. Set aside.
  • Return pan of sauce to a medium high heat. Add prawns and stir until prawns are cooked through. Add the reserved spice and garlic paste and stir through. Add lemon juice and stir.
  • To serve, place the Prawn Masala in a serving bowl and garnish with slices of ginger and coriander.
  • Place the Raita in small ramekin and sprinkle with paprika and borage flowers.
  • Place the rice in a bowl and serve with Roti on the side.

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