Shrimp Machboos

The prawn heads are really where all the flavour of the prawn is hidden so use them to make a stock to cook the rice in for this excellent machboos recipe from Al Fanar
Shrimp Machboos
ITP Images
Shrimp Machboos
April 29, 2020
Preparation Time 20-25 minutes
Cooking Time 50 minutes
Serves Rice serves: 12-15; Shrimps serve: 2 (multiply the recipe by the number of people for whom you’re cooking)
PHOTO BY Aasiya Jagadeesh & Nikhil Sridhar
RECIPE BY Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe


For the machboos

5L spinneysFOOD Bottled Drinking Water
500g shrimp heads
3kg spinneysFOOD Long-Grain Basmati Rice
200ml spinneysFOOD Pure Corn Oil
400g red onions, cubed
100g green capsicums, cubed
100g garlic, finely chopped
50g spinneysFOOD Fresh Coriander, chopped
30g spinneysFOOD Bay Leaves
25g Baharat spice mix
5g spinneysFOOD Chilli Powder
12g spinneysFOOD Fine Turmeric
10g spinneysFOOD Fine Cumin
250ml tamarind pulp
30g dried lemons, plus extra for garnishing
30g butter, melted
500g tomatoes
40g spinneysFOOD Salt

For the marinated shrimps

600g shrimps (30-40 size), peeled
5g spinneysFOOD Fine Turmeric
5g Baharat spice mix
5g spinneysFOOD Salt
spinneysFOOD Pure Corn Oil, for frying


  • 1

    To make the machboos, boil the water in a stock pot and add the shrimp heads. Cook for 15 minutes and strain. Reserve the water.

  • 2

    Wash and soak the rice in cool water.

  • 3

    In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onions and capsicums. Add the garlic and coriander and mix well, followed by half the bay leaves. Then add the Baharat, chilli powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder.

  • 4

    Add the shrimp heads stock and stir. Add the tamarind pulp and mix. Add the dried lemons.

  • 5

    Once it comes to a boil, add the rice and cook over a medium heat till the rice absorbs the stock. Once almost all the stock has been absorbed, pour the butter on top and mix slightly. Cover with a sheet of aluminium foil and cook for another 15 minutes over a low heat. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.

  • 6

    To prepare the shrimps, marinate them with turmeric powder, Baharat and salt. Deep fry the shrimps till cooked.

  • 7

    To serve, arrange 350-400g rice on a plate and place the fried shrimps along with one piece of dried lemon on top.


Kingfish Biryani
The recipe for this impressive centrepiece comes from Al Fanar, an Emirati restaurant group. Unlike a regular biryani, here the fish and rice are cooked separately
This comforting recipe is from Al Fanar, a restaurant that specialises in traditional Emirati dishes. Ladle this curry over rice or serve with piping hot naan bread
Celebrate the bounty of the sea with this spicy Mediterranean seafood stew from Al Fanar - a restaurant that serves traditional Emirati dishes
This is a great option for an iftar gathering. Ready in under an hour and a half, we've chosen to make ours with prawns - but the beauty of this dish is its versatility, so feel free to opt for any protein of your choice!