Take 3 cups of long grained rice (basmati), wash and keep it soaked in water for 30 minutes.
Boil 6 cups of water with whole spices - 2 cardomoms, 2 cloves and 1 piece of cinnamon.
Cut 3 tomatoes and 3 onions into very small thin pieces. Keep 5 green chillies split in the middle handy.
For garnishing, add some ghee and fry one handful each of onions, cashews and raisins one after the other and keep them aside.
To this same pan, add rice after draining out the water (add some more ghee if you like). Fry the rice for about 10 minutes and add the boiled water to it. Add a good amount of salt. Close and keep till the rice is cooked and all the water has dried up.
Add saffron to hot milk to give some colour to rice. It is optional. I had some at home - something (apart from olive oil, Tang and Nido milk powder) everyone with family in UAE is likely to have at home. And that's your trivia for the day.
Heat some oil in a nonstick pan. When the oil is hot, shallow fry the prawns for about 5 minutes and take it out. To the same oil, add the remaining onions, when the onions turn transparent, add cut tomatoes to it. Add salt, green chillies and 5 cloves of crushed garlic. Add about one tablespoon of chilli powder (more if you like it hot), one tablespoon of garam/mutton masala. Once the tomatoes are done, add a spoon of curd and put in the fried prawns and cook for 10 minutes.
We are done with rice and masala. Now comes the crucial step of layering. I loved doing this, it made me feel like a professional chef.
Take a nonstick vessel and grease it well with ghee, I reused the same vessel I used to cook the rice as it already had some remnants of ghee, healthy cooking you see. First put a layer of prawns masala. Then a layer of rice. Keep layering the same way till rice and masala are over. The final layer should be of rice. Add some corainder leaves between layers. You may also put some ghee for that extra rich taste. At each layer of rice, strain a bit of saffron-milk mixture on top to give it colour. You may also add a dash of lemon juice. Spread a large pinch of garam masala on the top most layer of rice. I added Shakti mutton masala as I prefer that to garam masala.
Now heat a flat pan on the stove. When it is hot lower the flame, keep the rice-masala vessel on top of it. Ensure that you have covered the vessel with an airtight lid. (Instead you could also microwave for 5 minutes, I haven't tried so cannot guarantee the end result).
Take it out after about 1 hour, garnish with fried onions, cashews, raisins and some corainder leaves. Serve hot.
Time for something sweet, don't you think?