Are there dishes or certain foods you would love to eat all the time but can’t? In my home, I would eat more pork, salty goodies and of course, chocolate. Then there’s my husband who would gladly eat shellfish regularly (me too) but there is a small problem. It seems that all he has to do is catch a whiff of crab or shrimp and his cholesterol level skyrockets. My husband is one of the fittest people I know; sadly he has been dealt with a genetic card that requires us to be mindful of his cholesterol intake. It’s at a healthy level mind you (no medication required), what with his strict excercise regimen and the fact that I rarely serve beef or shellfish at home, but it does encourage me to be a responsible cook.
But some days just call for throwing caution to the wind, especially when much of our diet consists of rice, vegetables, tofu and salad. Never mind the fact that I am baking more since the start of this blog; much of the sweets I make are given away to neighbors or office mates. We taste and pass the rest on.
I’m glad that when it comes to savory dishes, I can exercise a bit more portion control when planning a meal. As a treat, I bought some prawns and marinated them in sumac, lemon, chives, chili flakes and garlic. After grilling them then taking the first bite, we were delighted by how flavorful the prawns were. The sumac is bright and lemony; its mildly grainy texture also acts as a coating to the juicy, just-cooked meat.
I served the prawns with simple grilled tomatoes that I tossed in the marinade (set aside before using on the prawns) and a large portion of bulgur pilaf. I have taken rice off my diet temporarily and I admit that after a few weeks, I’m missing it a lot. I was inspired to prepare my simple rice pilaf dish with bulgur wheat instead and wouldn’t you know, I thought I was being quite the creative cook for thinking of this. A quick Google search bursts my bubble as the pages-long search results mock my lack of originality. Still, this was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. We treated ourselves to a simple, balanced meal anchored by the rare treat in our home that is called prawn.
Marinated Grilled Prawns, Bulgur Pilaf and Grilled Whole Tomatoes
* Prawn portion will serve two and Pilaf will serve 4
For the Prawns:
- 3/4 lb prawns, peeled and deveined, about 16 medium-sized
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or fresh minced garlic
- A few tablespoons of olive oil
- Chili flakes, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
Marinate the prawns for 10-15 minutes. Don’t leave them in the marinade too long or the acidity from the lemon will “cook” the meat.
Note: You may want to start the pilaf before you marinate the prawns. You should also preheat your grill at this time.
To grill, place the marinated prawns on skewers, about four in each, and grill on each side for 2 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on what type of grill you use–I used a cast iron stovetop version and I took them off the heat as soon as the meat started to change color. It’s very important that you do not overcook the prawns or they will be dry and rubbery.
I grilled the whole tomatoes alongside the prawns. You want them to just long enough to heat through–when the skin starts to tear, they’re done.
For the Bulgur Pilaf
- 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat (I used a medium grain which takes a bit longer to cook)
- 1/2 cup pasta, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used Barilla multi-grain pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable, your choice)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- For garnish, chopped fresh chives, toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted cashews
Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pasta pieces and toast for about a minute. Next, add the bulgur wheat. Just cook them in the oil/butter for a couple of minutes total until they get some color.
Add the stock, bring to a boil, cover the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Depending on the size bulgur you use, yours may take less or more time than mine. I purchased mine in the bulk food aisle at Whole Foods and it took about 20-24 minutes to cook.
Once the pilaf is ready, add the lemon juice and toss in some chives and/or pumpkin seeds if you decide to use.