Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spicy Shrimp Biriyani, Our Sunday lunch!

I learnt the art of making basic biriyani from my good friend here, Veena. She is my Guru and a brilliant Biriyani maker! I made my first chicken biriyani here in the USA and gave her Gurudakshina, which was a plate-full of that same biriyani!
Building on that basic knowledge I gained from here, I tried the Prawns/Shrimp Biryani. Since both I and my husband are prawn lovers, I just had to try this one out. Try, I did. And now this is a regular one on a lot of weekends. So here's my take on the authentic prawns biriyani. It is a simple recipe.

Serves 4
Cooking Time: About 2 hours

1/2 pound (a little more than quarter kg) of medium sized prawns (tail-off, peeled, deveined and washed)
2 1/2 cups of Basmati Rice 
2 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
1 Tbsp gingerpaste (either home-made or store-bought)
1 Tbsp garlic paste (either home-made or store-bought)
5 medium sized green chillies
1 Tbsp of raisins
1 Tbsp of cashewnuts 
2 Tbsp of oil
2 Tsp ghee

Main biriyani masala:
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp Cinnamon
Salt to taste
For Marinade:
1 Tbsp gingerpaste (either home-made or store-bought)
1 Tbsp garlic paste (either home-made or store-bought)
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
3 Tbsp of Curd
Salt to taste

Extra spices:
7 - 10 cloves
1 Tsp whole cardomom seeds
Some Bay leaves
Some Cilantro leaves for seasoning

  • Wash and soak rice in water for about 30 minutes
  • Mix ingredients mentioned under 'Marinade'. Cover the prawns with this. Let sit for about 20 - 30 minutes.
  • Cut one half of an onion into long thin slices. Cut the rest of onions, tomatoes and green chillies into fine pieces
  • Grind the cardomom seeds and cloves together to form a fine powder
  • Cook rice with two times its measure of water, some salt, half of the fine powder prepared in previous step and bay leaves until 90% done. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat about 2 tbsps of oil in a saucepan, and caramelize the long slices of onions until a deep brown. Set aside. In same oil, roast the raisins and cashewnuts. Set aside
  • In the same oil, caramelize the finely cut onions (add more oil if required). Add green chillies, ginger and garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes
  • Add the tomatoes and all spices listed under 'main biriyani masala'. Mix well and let cook till mushy.
  • Now, add the marinated prawns along with marinade to this, cover and cook for about 5 - 8 minutes, taking care not to overcook the prawns
  • Time for final 'dum' cooking - In a large baking pan (akin to a 9 X 13), add 2 teaspoons of ghee. Spread it around. Add a layer of prawns masala, then a layer of the rice, some of the fried onions, raisins and cashew, layer of prawns masala and finally the last layer of rice and remaining onions, cashew and raisins. Top with cilantro leaves
  • Seal tightly with oven-safe aluminium foil. Bake at 350 F (176 C) for about 30 minutes
  • Ready to serve

This biriyani tastes awesome with some vegetable raitha and dates chutney. Perfect for a Sunday lunch!  

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