The good old shrimp and rice recipe made with a Persian twist. Learn how to make this shrimp recipe watching the video and step-by-step tutorial. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner made in a short time with fresh ingredients. This dish is packed with delicious and warm middle eastern spices!
You’ve been raving about our Persian recipes and we are here with a few more! If you love mixed rice dishes such as Persian green bean rice (Lubia polo), Lentil rice (adas polo), you’re going to love today’s recipe. Meygoo polo aka Persian style shrimp and rice is an easy recipe that you can make at home for a simple dinner or turn it into a Persian feast alongside eggplant dip (kashke bademjan) and maybe a side salad.
Easy shrimp and rice recipe with an Iranian twist!
Shrimp is a common seafood in the southern region of Iran and you can find beautiful and plump shrimp in Persian gulf. One of the most popular dishes made with shrimp in Iran is meygoo polo which translates to shrimp pilaf. It’s a delicious rice and shrimp dish flavored with warm spices. This Persian shrimp recipe is an easy one and comes together pretty quickly since you don’t need to steam the rice.
I love this easy shrimp recipe because of the addition of herbs and spices that makes this dish different from every other shrimp dishes you’ve had. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend meal enjoyed with family and friends.
How is this different from fried rice?
Persian shrimp and rice is different from fried rice for a few reasons:
- Fried rice calls for soy sauce whereas the only salty ingredient in this shrimp recipe is salt.
- This shrimp and rice recipe doesn’t use vegetables such as carrots or corn which are common in Asian fried rice recipes.
- Fried rice recipes usually use scrambled eggs in them but Iranian shrimp and rice has no eggs.
Ingredients to make shrimp and rice
To make this delicious shrimp and rice recipe, you need just a few ingredients:
- Tomato paste
- Spices: Turmeric, salt, cayenne pepper
As you can see, this easy shrimp recipe doesn’t call for exotic ingredients and you can find all these ingredients at any supermarket. The key to a tasty meygoo polo is to use a lot of onion, that’s how you get the ice flavor and color on the rice as well.
What kind of shrimp to use
First of all, make sure you’re using raw shrimp and not pre-cooked. Secondly, I advise you to use frozen shrimp and thaw it right before cooking if you’re not living in a coastal town. The fresh shrimp you see at supermarkets are most definitely frozen shrimp thawed and then placed in the refrigeration cases. You can’t really tell how long the shrimp has been sitting in the case so the best bet is to simply get frozen shrimp and thaw them as needed.
How to make shrimp and rice Persian style
It’s very easy to make this shrimp and rice recipe. Please make sure to also watch the step-by-step video to learn how to make this recipe.
- Prepare the rice:
- Place the rice and water in a sauce pan or a pot and add oil and salt.
- Bring it to simmer and let it cook until the water is almost fully evaporated.
- Place the lid on and lower the heat. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
- Prepare the shrimp:
- As the rice is cooking, start making the shrimp. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Saute onion until golden. Add in minced garlic and saute for another minute.
- Add in chopped cilantro and cook for a minute. Stir in minced ginger.
- Now add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the onion mixture and cook for just a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, turmeric, salt and cayenne. Cook for another couple of minutes until the shrimp is completely cooked through.
- Mix and serve:
- In a large serving plate, add a layer of rice and top with a layer of shrimp and onion. Continue until all the rice and shrimp is in the platter.
- Lightly mix the rice and shrimp using two forks. Serve immediately.
- A small note: You can also mix the rice and shrimp in the same pan that you cooked the shrimp, as shown in the video.
What to serve this dish with
Can I use cauliflower rice?
Traditionally, you are supposed to serve this shrimp recipe with rice and I wouldn’t do it any other way. You can switch to brown rice if that’s what you prefer. However, if you are on a low-carb diet or just prefer to use cauliflower rice, you can do so, however, the texture and flavor won’t be exactly the same.
Looking for more shrimp recipes?
- Baked shrimp in chermoula sauce
- Spicy shrimp marinara linguine
- Garlic lemon shrimp recipe
- Shrimp kabobs with creamy avocado sauce
- Easy Shrimp cakes
- Shrimp pasta salad
Notes and tips to make easy shrimp and rice recipe
- The steps to make the rice is completely mentioned in the recipe card and in the article. You can also use our instant pot white rice recipe, it’s an easy way to make rice in a short time and it comes out perfectly every time.
- One common issue with cooking shrimp is that sometimes it turns out tough and rubbery. Make sure not to over cook the shrimp if you want to avoid rubbery and tough shrimp. Shrimp usually needs between 4 to 6 minutes to cook completely.
- This shrimp and rice dish is supposed to be spicy so if you’re not a spicy food fan, please use half of the cayenne pepper mentioned in the recipe or leave it out.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pan.
- This recipe calls for tomato paste which gives it a subtle flavor and a nice color. Please don’t substitute tomato paste with tomato paste, canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes.
Persian Style Shrimp and Rice (Meygoo Polo)
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil divided
- 2 yellow onion finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger grated
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt more if needed
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper see notes
Prepare the rice
- In a sauce pan, add the rice, water, one tablespoon vegetable oil and salt.
- Bring to simmer and cook until the water is almost evaporated.
- Place the lid on and cook the rice for another 5 minutes on low heat.
- Turn the heat off and leave the rice covered and untouched for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, lightly fluff the rice using a fork.
Prepare the shrimp
- Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a pan and saute onion until golden brown.
- Stir in garlic and cook for a minute.
- Stir in ginger and add the shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add in tomato paste, turmeric, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir well to mix the ingredients.
- Cook for a few more minutes until the shrimp is fully cooked.
- In a platter, add a layer of rice and top with the shrimp and onion mix. Repeat until all the shrimp and rice is in the platter. (You can also add the rice to the shrimp and onion in the pan if the pan is large enough)
- Using two forks, mix the rice and shrimp lightly.
- Serve immediately.
- You can use 1 tsp garlic powder instead of fresh garlic and 1/2 tsp dried ginger powder instead of fresh ginger.
- This dish has a spicy kick so if you don't like spicy food, please use less cayenne pepper or leave it out. If you like the dish to be spicier, add more cayenne pepper.