Sunday, October 18, 2009

Prawns Biryani

Biryani can easily be crowned as the most popular dish to add grandeur to any occasion. It is a preparation of rice with vegetables or meat and some of the most flavorful spices slowly cooked to perfection. The etymology of the word Biryani speaks for its great importance within so many cuisines and the various adaptions made of the recipe with every new region it has entered. From Hyderabadi to Lucknowi to Bangladeshi to Malabari, there are different styles in making Biryani and we are here giving you a simple recipe of our home style Biryani.


Prawns/Shrimp (Deveined& cleaned): 3/4 cup
Chili Powder: 2 tablespoons
Turmeric Powder: 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: one whole sprig
Basmati Rice: 1 cup
Onions (finely sliced):1 cup
(kept in 3 portions - one for the rice, one for the prawns mixture and the rest for garnishing)
Green Chilies (slit): 3-4
Ginger-Garlic paste or whole ginger/garlic finely sliced: 1 tablespoon
Tomatoes (finely sliced): 3/4 cup
Coriander leaves: 1/2 a bunch
Mint leaves: 1/2 a bunch
Biryani Masala: 1 tablespoon
Cloves: 1/2 teaspoon
Pepper corns: 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon Stick: 1-2
Bay leaves: 3-4
Cardamom pods: 3-4
Fennel seeds/Saunf/Perinjeerakam: 1 teaspoon
Khas khas (optional): 1 teaspoon
Ghee: 2 tablespoons
Oil as required

* We have used the pressure cooker to make the rice, however you can also make the rice in the rice cooker to suit your convenience.
* For one cup of rice use one and half cup of water
* Note that the below procedures needs to be done simultaneously.

Wash the rice and drain well. Heat some ghee in a pressure cooker, add some of the whole garam masala mix, sliced onions and saute well. Add the rice and fry about 5 mins. Sprinkle salt and add one and half times boiling hot water and mix well into the rice. Check the salt level as the prawns mixture will also have salt in it. Cover it with the pressure cooker's lid without the whistle until steam starts to come. Now keep the whistle on and cook at medium heat for about 10-15 mins. Turn off the heat and keep aside. Once cooled a little, take the rice out.

Marinate the prawns with chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and keep it aside overnight or a minimum of 2 hours. Heat some oil and fry the prawns. Once soft, take it off from the heat and keep aside. Don't let it overcook as the meat gets rubbery. Also note that all the water coming out from the prawns does not need to completely dry up. Now with the rest of the oil, add in the whole garam masala (bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves) and saute. Stir in the ginger garlic paste, green chillies and half of the sliced onions and saute until the onions start to turn golden. Grind the fennel seeds and the khas khas with a little water and add to the onions. Add the Biryani masala and saute well. Adjust the salt and spiciness by adding more chilli powder if needed. Add the sliced tomatoes and mix well. Also add in the chopped coriander and mint leaves. Cover and let it cook until all the spices have mixed well. Add the fried prawns and keep stirring until all the masala is well coated on the prawns. Turn off the heat and keep aside. Now layer this prawns masala with the cooked rice.

Fry the raisins and cashews in ghee. Also fry some of the sliced onions until caramelized. Chop some coriander and mint leaves. Garnish the topmost layer with these. Cover tight and keep on low heat or bake for 10 mins in the oven at 350 F.

Serve hot. The best accompaniment would be a bowl of Raita and Pappad.


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