Majboos Rubyan | Emirati Prawns (Shrimp) Machboos

An Emirati rice dish with prawns…




I wish I could just get back to how life was normally – waking up lazily, watering and talking to my plants, just going by my life at home and just taking life as it goes. When life just goes on, we wish there was something more to it, when Allah decides to just let you know that things were fine as it was. Mentally, it has been a little overwhelming for me, because I am so used to being busy and having something or the other to do, that being on the bed most of the time isn’t taking well on my thoughts. I am just trying to stay as positive as possible, since I have no other option. This current situation is going to take around a month to get back to normal, or close to it, so I have to gear myself for it. In between, yesterday Rasha turned 15. I sometimes can’t believe that my girls are no longer little. All I pray for them is that Allah keeps them steadfast and levelheaded to face the challenges of the world ahead of them… This time I couldn’t bake anything but since she isn’t a cake fan, I don’t feel guilty about it. 😀


It has been quite some time since I have posted any Emirati recipes on the blog. I can’t believe that the last recipe was the Thareed Lahm, that I posted as the National Day special post, which was a good six months ago. It has been mainly because I haven’t been trying much. The past couple of years have been a limbo as far as trying new recipes are concerned, and that explains the slow down in the posting as well, compared to the initial years. But I guess, that is a general transition when you blog for a long time – the circumstances change, so does the taste buds of the family as they grow into their stages. I don’t want to keep promises to myself but of course, want to explore at least some new recipes as soon as I am able to get out of bed… Hehe…




This is likely to be the last leg of the majboos recipes on the blog. I have already posted the chicken – the most tried and tested, Alhamdulillah! -, mutton and fish versions, which I realized I had posted exactly a year before. Even though prawns aka shrimps are technically in the fish category, the coking style is different and hence a totally different recipe. The prawns are marinated and cooked in the beginning and then added back to the rice just before the steaming process. I used medium sized prawns in this recipe. Try to use these or the jumbo ones, since they seem to go well with the recipe and would hold shape.


Since I can’t eat prawns, the family, especially my majboos crazy HD really devoured it. But if you ask me which is his favorite, it is always the chicken one. 😀 Always have a small bottle of the bezaar spice blend handy, so that you can make any of the Emirati delicacies at a whim. I usually make half the batch and it stays for at least 3-4 majboos cooking. Do you know that Emiratis use a lot of prawns and fish in their cooking, due to the proximity of the sea to the desert? Do check out the Arseeyeh Rubyan, Marrag Samak and the Emirati style baked fish, just among the limited recipes on the blog. Off to this delicious recipe…





Majboos Rubyan | Emirati Prawns (Shrimp) Machboos

Course Main Course
Cuisine Emirati
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda AR



  • 500 gm shrimps/ prawns, cleaned and deviened medium sized/ jumbo
  • 2 garlic pounded
  • 1 heaped tbsp bezaar spice blend
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • Salt to taste


  • 2 1/2 cups basmati rice washed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil as needed
  • 2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 loomi slightly crushed
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 4-6 black peppercorn
  • 1 veg stock cube optional but recommended
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves


  • Marinate the prawns with all the ingredients and keep aside for at least fifteen minutes.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the prawns and cook both sides till slightly browned and almost cooked. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add more oil if needed and add the onions. Fry till nicely browned and crisp. Drain half of it out and set aside.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, loomi and whole spices and cook till the tomato is completely mashed and cooked.
  • Add the water and stock cube and bring the mixture to boil. Adjust the seasoning.
  • Add the rice and allow it to boil till the rice absorbs most of the water.
  • Keep the flame at the lowest. Sprinkle the reserved fried onion and coriander on top. Layer the fried shrimps as well.
  • Cover the top tightly with aluminum foil, close the lid. You may keep something heavy on the top of the lid as well.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes on the steam. Switch off and allow the rice to rest till the time of serving.
  • While serving, toss up the rice to mix with the prawns. Serve hot with yogurt and salat on the side.





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