Inspiration from Youtube

Ever since I saw it on Youtube (and that was a few months ago!) I had been dreaming of making the Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat…and finally, this past week, my dream became a reality! One night in the middle of the week, I made Maharashtrian-style spicy shrimp pilaf for dinner and devoured it.  If you’re a fan of spicy food, rice, or shrimp/prawn dishes like me, you’re going to LOVE this rice pilaf! Give my recipe a try and treat yourself to this insanely delicious Kolambi Bhaat.

Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat

Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat 

It’s a quick and easy, one-pot concoction that can be made with simple ingredients that are staples in my kitchen. I always have a bag of shrimp in my freezer. Frozen shrimp come in handy for last-minute weeknight cooking, provide a low-fat source of protein, and the best part is that they are loved by every single person in my family! But if for some reason I don’t have shrimp, I could use potatoes or canned chickpeas from the pantry, frozen artichoke hearts or jackfruit chunks, or even paneer, mushrooms, or chicken that I may have in the refrigerator.

Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat

My pantry is usually stocked with staples like basmati rice, chicken stock, canned coconut milk, etc., and my kitchen counter usually has a basket filled with onions, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. Aside from these few basic ingredients, the recipe does require a special ingredient – Maharashtrian kala/goda masala. However, if your spice cabinet doesn’t have it, the recipe can be made by substituting it with the more commonly used garam masala, which will make the dish equally aromatic and flavorful!

Origin of Kolambi Bhaat

Since my mom is a vegetarian, I obviously never had this rice dish at home while growing up. She would often prepare classic rice dishes like masale bhaat or khichadi. Whenever we dined out with my dad and enjoyed non-vegetarian dishes, this particular rice preparation wasn’t a common item on the menus of the restaurants we frequented. I also don’t recall encountering it during our family trip to Malvan, a historic town in the western coastal region of Konkan in Maharashtra, where the dish originates. You’ll find a couple different recipe variations – one that is made with a ground paste of fried coconut and onion and one that is made without the paste. To keep things simple for  weeknight cooking, my recipe doesn’t include the gound paste as one of the ingredients. 

Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat

Instant Pot Kolambi Bhaat

When I was ready to dive into the recipe, I decided to use my Instant Pot so that I didn’t have to constantly monitor the pot over the stove. However, if you don’t have one, you can absolutely use my recipe and make it in a regular pot with a lid or a stovetop pressure cooker as well. I prefer to use my electric pressure cooker for making rice dishes because it consistently cooks the rice to a perfect, fluffy texture every single time. Additionally, cooking fish and seafood on the stove can be tricky, as they can overcook in the blink of an eye! I find the Instant Pot to be more consistent and reliable when it comes to cooking fish or seafood to perfection. Just look at these photos of the Kolambi Bhaat…every grain of rice is nicely separated, and the shrimp are perfectly plump!

Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat

I’ve linked a short video below that I put together for you that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

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Maharashtrian Kolambi Bhaat

  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


Quick and easy recipe for making the Maharashtrian-style spicy shrimp/prawn rice pilaf in the Instant Pot.



For the Marinade

  • 1 lb (approx. 1/2 kg.) medium sized shrimp (about 3040) peeled, deveined and tails off (See Variations below)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt, to taste

For the Rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 -inch (1.3 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 23 green chilies, optional
  • 2 tsp Maharashtrian Kala/ Goda masala (homemade or store-bought)or garam masala
  • regular Indian red chili powder, to taste
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water (see Notes)
  • 45 sprigs of cilantro, leaves chopped, for garnish,
  • raita or plain Greek/regular yogurt, for serving


Marinating the Shrimp

  • Sprinkle the turmeric and salt over the shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

Making the Pilaf

  • Rinse the rice under cold tap water and set aside.
  • Place the inner pot in the Instant Pot and press the Sauté button. When the display shows “Hot” add in the oil along with the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida. When the curry leaves splutter, add in the onion. Sprinkle some salt to help the onions soften and sauté for about 5 minutes till they turn translucent, stirring frequently.
  • Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the kala/goda masala and the red chili powder and sauté for 30 seconds to let the spices bloom.
  • Add in the chopped tomato and stir to combine. Deglaze the bottom of the pot by scraping with the cooking spoon. This is an important step. If the bottom of the pot is not deglazed well, the “Burn” error might appear during the pressure-cooking stage. 
  • Continue cooking for another 5 minutes till the tomatoes are soft and lose most of their moisture.
  • Press the Cancel button to turn the Instant Pot off.
  • Stir in the rinsed rice along with the marinated shrimp and toss gently to combine well.
  • Pour in the stock/water and coconut milk if using, over the rice and shrimp mixture and stir gently, ensuring its fully immersed.
  • Close the lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Press the Rice button and use the default settings for time and pressure with 12 minutes on low pressure. When cooking is complete, open the lid after the pressure has released naturally. It will take about 10-12 minutes to depressurize.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl or a deep platter. Garnish with cilantro.  Serve warm along with raita or yogurt on the side.

Keywords: Weeknight Cooking, Maharashtrian Recipes, Comfort Foods, Instant Pot Recipes

Step-by-Step Details

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Feel free to use Canned Coconut Milk

Typically watered down coconut milk is used to cook the rice for Kolambi Bhaat. I didn’t have it on hand when I developed the recipe but if you have a can of coconut milk handy, you can use a mixture of 1 cup of coconut milk and 1 cup of chicken stock/water in the recipe.

Recipe Variations

Replace shrimp with jackfruit chunks, mushrooms, baby potatoes, artichoke hearts, canned chickpeas, cubed paneer or thinly sliced chicken for variations. Use the same settings for time and pressure.

Happy cooking

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.


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