In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the chopped shrimp and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions, garlic and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rice powder, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the brandy and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add the clam broth, heavy cream and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.