Indian-Style Skinny Paella with Prawns (Instant Pot)

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A paella that looks Spanish but tastes Indian? This (very) skinny paella with prawns is fusion food at its best.

indian style paella

I call this recipe a paella fully knowing it is not a real paella, so any Spanish readers please excuse my boldness. But still, it’s one of the most frequent recipes I do in the pressure cooker and is a favourite in our home.

I first made this “paella” with Indian flavours back in 2012 or so, initially following Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Seafood Paella recipe. But soon I became dissatisfied with the amount of time it took to make it, and I started to eliminate ingredients from it, starting with the pancetta, chorizo and then the chicken and mussels.

All that was left were the veggies and prawns, which also made the paella an excellent choice for those moments I wanted something light and low-calorie. But removing everything from that paella took a lot of the taste away, so one day I counteracted that with some Indian spices. I liked the result so much that I only do it like that now.

You can do this on the stove as well, as I used to, but since I got a pressure cooker, I couldn’t be bothered to do it the old way and adapted the recipe for the pressure cooker. I don’t actually have an Instant Pot, but a Sage the Fast Slow Cooker Pro instead, but somehow I still call it an Instant Pot, maybe because of all the recipes I read featuring that famous pressure cooker, so bear with me.

What do you need to make this skinny paella with prawns?

Since I cut so many things from what regular paella should contain, the list of ingredients is not too long, but the one for spices is a mighty one.

You will need:

  • Brown onions – about four small ones or two large ones
  • Peppers – the color doesn’t matter, but I like red and green best
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetable stock
  • Garden peas – I also like to make it with petit pois. Fresh peas are best if you can find them, but if not, use frozen.
  • King prawns – you’ll need about 400 grams of prawns for this. I have made it with all types of prawns, including the value ones from Lidl, and it was OKish, but king prawns are really delicious in this paella. You can also add some squid rings or mussels if you like.
  • Paella rice – it works well with risotto rice, but use the paella specific one if possible.
  • Lemon to serve – the juice of half a lemon freshly squeezed on the paella right before serving changes the game completely and I can say I never have a serving of this dish if there’s no lemon in the house.

Now for the spices:

  • Ground cinnamon
  • Black pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Cardamom
  • Bay leaves
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cloves
  • Fennel seed

I told you it was long. But don’t worry, you will only need a bit of each.

How do you make the paella?

  1. Set your pressure cooker to “Saute” and add the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the chopped onions and peppers. Cook for five minutes until soft.
  2. In the meantime, bring 1.25 l water to boil and add it to a bowl or jug. Add the vegetable stock and all the spices. Leave it aside.
  3. In a pan, cook the prawns until there is no more liquid. You can add some salt on them if you want. Take them out of the pan and leave aside.
  4. Back to the pressure cooker, add the rice and stir for a minute.
  5. Add the peas and stir.
  6. Add the liquid you set aside and stir.
  7. Seal the pressure cooker and use the risotto setting and a quick release.
  8. When it’s ready, add the prawns and stir.
  9. Serve immediately with lemon.
Yield: 4

Indian-Style Skinny Paella with Prawns (Instant Pot)

Indian-Style Skinny Paella with Prawns (Instant Pot)

A paella that looks Spanish but tastes Indian? This (very) skinny paella with prawns is fusion food at its best.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 small large onions
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cubes vegetable stock
  • 200 g garden peas, or petit pois
  • 400 g king prawns
  • 350 g paella rice
  • 1 large lemon, to serve
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves

Instructions

  1. Set your pressure cooker to “Saute” and add the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the chopped onions and peppers. Cook for five minutes until soft.
  2. In the meantime, bring 1.25 l water to boil and add it to a bowl or jug. Add the vegetable stock and all the spices. Leave it aside.
  3. In a pan, cook the prawns until there is no more liquid. You can add some salt on them if you want. Take them out of the pan and leave aside.
  4. Back to the pressure cooker, add the rice and stir for a minute.
  5. Add the peas and stir.
  6. Add the liquid you set aside and stir.
  7. Seal the pressure cooker and use the risotto setting and a quick release.
  8. When it’s ready, add the prawns and stir.
  9. Serve immediately with lemon.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 331Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 1057mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 25g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.