2cupslong- or extra-long-grain white rice or jasmine rice
1poundripe tomatoes, quartered
1/3cuproughly chopped white onion
1teaspoonkosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
3cupschicken or vegetable broth, or enough to make 4total liquid including the strained tomato puree, see step 2 below
2sprigs fresh parsley
3/4cuppeeled and diced carrots, optional
1/2cupshelled green peas, fresh or frozen (optional)
1/2cupcorn kernels, fresh or frozen (optional)
1whole jalapeño or serrano chile, optional
6to 8 head-on prawns
Half a lime, optional
Place rice in a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for about 5 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well. If you don’t have time to soak and drain the rice, you can skip this step…
In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes along with the onion, garlic and salt until thoroughly smooth. Pass through a strainer into a measuring cup and reserve. In another measuring cup, add enough chicken broth to make altogether 4 cups of liquid, but keep the 2 measuring cups separate.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or casserole, over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the drained rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice becomes milky white and feels heavy in the pan as you stir, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour in the strained tomato puree, mix gently and cook until the color of the puree darkens, thickens, and is mostly absorbed, about 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir in the pre-measured chicken broth and add the parsley, carrots, peas, corn and whole chile, if using.
Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, add the prawns, squeeze the juice of half a lime all over if using, cover, and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, yet there is still some moisture in the pan. The rice should be cooked and tender; if not, but the liquid is totally absorbed, add a couple tablespoons of water, cover again, and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for at least 5 minutes before you fluff with a fork and serve.