Prawn Biryani

[singlepic id=1897 w=120 h=40 float=left]One of my favorite prawn recipes, Mamma usually cooked this only for Sunday lunch. I would gobble up the fragrant rice and save the prawns for the end of the meal. Then picking up each prawn I would savor each one slowly… but of course I don’t do that any more…

For the rice you will need

  • 2 cups of rice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • Oil and Salt to taste

For the prawn masala you will need

  • ½ kilo of shelled and de-veined prawns
  • 250 gms of shallots ( they are also known as Madras onions and may be found in South Indian shops) If these are unavailable use
  • 2 large onions instead.
  • 1 large pod of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp of Cuminseeds
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder (or as much as you can stand)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsps of Vinegar
  • Oil and Salt as required

For the garnish you will need

  • 2 onions sliced fine and deep fried until golden brown
  • ½ cup of chopped coriander leaves and sliced green chilies
  • Fried cashewnuts (optional)


  1. Grind the garlic coarsely with the ginger and shallots.
  2. Powder the cumminseeds without roasting.
  3. Mix the garlic, shallots, cumminseed powder, turmeric and chili powder with the vinegar and marinate the prawns in this mixture for 1 hour.
  4. Heat oil in a wok and fry the marinated prawns with the marinade until the prawns are cooked and the masala does not smell raw. If it turns dry add a little water (about 1/2 cup) at the end of cooking and boil once.
  5. Heat the oil and add the whole spices.
  6. Add the washed rice and salt and sauté for a minute.
  7. Now cook the rice using only 3 cups of water. The rice will be 3/4ths cooked.
  8. Take an oven proof dish and layer the bottom with half the rice.
  9. Cover with the entire prawn mixture and top with the rest of the rice.
  10. Garnish with the chopped fried onions and the coriander leaves (chilies and cashewnuts are optional)
  11. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for 30 mins. If using a microwave, microwave on 60-40 power for 10 mins. Alternately you can first bake the biryani and use the garnish afterwards.
  12. Serve with cucumber and tomato raita and Pappad. Mamma used to make a wonderful Date Chutney with it, the recipe for which is given below.

Date Chutney

  • 12 deseeded and chopped dates (use raisins if you don’t have dates)
  • 1 large pod of garlic peeled
  • 1 tbsp of red chili powder
  • ¼ cup vinegar.
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Put all the ingredients into your grinder and grind to a fine paste. Your chutney is ready.


a trained singer and an excellent cook. She has been cooking at home for the last 32 years and is now a restauranteur. An Army officer's wife, she has travelled the length and breadth of India and has been exposed to many of the numerous variations of Indian cuisine. She likes to experiment and is particularly fond of breakfast food and meats.