finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing
Cook the presoaked rice with twice the amount of water and salt (1/4 tsp) till it is 3/4th done. [ Note: I make my rice in the microwave. Normally I keep it for 16 minutes but when I am making rice for pulao I keep it for around 14 minutes]. Then I let it cool.
In a medium-sized kadhai or wok kept over medium heat, add 1/4 cup oil. Add peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves, cinnamon stick and when they sizzle (after 10-15 seconds) add onions and garlic. Fry them till the onions turn translucent.
Add tomatoes and continue frying till they turn mushy. Add the green chilies, red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, and shrimp/prawns and mix well.
Whisk the yogurt well and mix it with the coconut milk (if you are using it) and add it to the kadhai/wok. Continue to keep it on medium heat till the shrimp/prawns are done.
At this point, the gravy should run thick and shouldn't be runny at all. Add garam masala, along with lime juice and mix well.
Add the rice and ghee to the kadhai and carefully fold it in and simmer it for 5 minutes covering the kadhai before taking it off heat.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with raita.
Instant Pot method
Add oil to the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function. Press the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait till the display reads “Hot.”
Add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and when they sizzle (after 10-15 seconds) add onions. Fry the onions till they turn soft and translucent (approximately 5 minutes).
Add garlic and saute it with the onions for a minute or so. Add tomatoes and continue frying till they turn mushy. Add the green chilies, red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, and shrimp/prawns and mix well.
Whisk the yogurt well, add garam masala and coconut milk (if you are using it) and give it a good stir. Add this mixture to the Instant Pot. Add lime juice and stir it in. Do a taste test - the salt should slightly be on the higher side [see tips above].
Drain the water from the soaked rice and add the rice on top of the shrimp and add just enough water (approximately 1-1/4 cup) to completely submerge the rice.
Press “Warm / Cancel” button and then select “Pressure Cook.” Adjust the time to 5 minutes and set the pressure selection at low. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position.
Once the cooking cycle completes, the Instant Pot will switch to the Warm cycle. Press the Warm/Cancel button and carefully release pressure.
Open the lid and let the steam escape. Add a tablespoon of ghee and wait for 5 minutes before fluffing the rice and mixing in the ghee. Garnish with coriander leaves and gently mix before serving.