Prawn Biryani or Shrimp Biryani or Jhinga Biryani is a rich, aromatic and intense dish that’s flavored with an array of spices. Biryani is traditionally made with chicken or mutton, but the use of jumbo prawns in this dish adds that unique and irresistible seafood flavor
At home, I make Chicken or Mutton Biryani at least a couple of times in a month. We are a big fan of Hyderabadi Biryani. And what not to like about it? It’s a one pot dish and you don’t really need a lot of side dishes to go with it. My family happily consumes Biryani and also it tastes way better as left over.
I went to India to visit family in June. Like any other vacation, all you want to do is eat, eat and eat. I did exactly that. I ate to my heart’s content and without any restraint. Everything tastes so good when it’s prepared fresh with local ingredients. I tried Prawn Biryani at my aunt’s house. I still remember the taste. The best part about that Prawn Biryani was – it was made so simply. There was not a lot of zing bang to it. I had made a mental note to myself to try it as soon as I’m back home.
- 16 ounce or 500 grams’ or around 16/20 large prawns, shelled and deveined and washed
- 2 TBSP finely crushed garlic
- 1 TBSP finely crushed ginger
- 3 large red onion chopped finely
- 1 TBSP cumin powder
- 1 TBSP coriander powder
- 2 TBSP Curry Powder (Available in Indian Groceries)
- 2 to 3 TBSP chili powder (we like it spicy)
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 TBSP Garam Masala
- 2 lemons juiced
- 5 to 6 dried plum (optional)
- Salt as per taste
- 2 TSP turmeric
- 1 TSP freshly ground black pepper
- Crispy browned onions to serve (optional)
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- 3 TBSP ghee or butter
- Handful of chopped mint
- Handful of freshly chopped coriander or cilantro
- Few cubes of butter
- Long grain Basmati Rice 4 cups
- 3 TBSP ghee or butter
- 1 small onion, very finely sliced
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A pinch of saffron dissolved in 1/4th cup milk
- Rose essence (Available in Indian or Middle Eastern stores)
- Marinate the prawns in turmeric powder, salt, black pepper and half of the chili powder
Cooking the Rice –
- Wash the rice really well until the water runs clear. Leave it to soak.
- Heat 3 TBSP ghee in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid.
- Add the finely chopped 1 onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat up and cook until golden.
- Drain the rice and add it into the golden onions.
- Stir well over a high heat to dry off any excess water and coat the rice in ghee for about 2-3 minutes. Add your water to the pan, taste and season well. Bring to the boil, then cover it and turn the heat right down.
- Cook undisturbed for 7-8 minutes then tests a grain. If it is done, take off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
Cooking the Prawn –
- Heat oil and ghee in a pan and add the chopped onions
- cook the onions until very soft and golden. Add the ginger, and garlic and sauté over a gentle flame, for about a minute, until the garlic is cooked through.
- Add in cumin powder, coriander powder, yogurt, turmeric, chili powder and salt, curry powder and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add a splash of hot water and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes
- Add your prawns with a good splash of hot water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through.
- The Prawns should very well coated with the onion masala
- Either brush the bottom of the pot with some ghee or place a few pieces of butter cubes.
- Layer over half of the rice, sprinkle over garam masala and fried onions, chopped mint, and chopped cilantro
- Then spoon over all the prawn mixture and finally top it with the remaining rice and splash of ghee or butter, gram masala, chopped mint and chopped cilantro.
- Splash with some rose water and a bit of saffron milk
- Tightly cover the pot with silver foil or a lid.
- When you are ready to cook, place it over a really low heat for 20-30 minutes, or until it steams when you take the lid off.
- Leave it off the heat for 10-20 minutes before serving.
- If you are going to finish it in the oven, then place the pot in the oven at 250-degree F for 30 -45 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the crispy onions, lemon juice and serve.
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