Prawn Biriyani

Recipe Courtesy : Mrs Thressiamma Purathookaran

Wash your Hands & Say your Prayers ,

Because God & Germs are Everywhere !

— Anon

This recipe was due to be uploaded for a Christmas Special, 2 years back. But for some reason, it has taken procrastination to the next level. Finally, I have tackled all the mind blocks and have set my mind to upload it at the earliest. Its a very simple recipe, no fancy ingredients or methods but mind-blowing results. I literally couldn’t stop eating it and saying to myself, I am not a bad cook after all!

The credit for this recipe is definitely not my cooking skills but more to the person who shared this recipe. Thressiamma Aunty is my uncle’s sister and I know very little about her. Amma says that her interest for cooking was there from her school days and recipe will talk for itself. The initial recipe was for half the quantity but my gut told me that I should double it. That was one of the best decisions I made that day as there was hardly a teeny weeny portion left, by the time we finished!


Prawn Masala

Prawns – 1/2 kg

Onion – 1 cup or 1 big one

Shallots – 1/2 cup

crushed Ginger – 4 tsp

Crushed Garlic – 4 tsp

Green Chillies – 8 no

Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

Pepper – 1-2 tsp

Curd/ Yoghurt – 1/2 cup

Coconut Milk – 1/2 cup

Mint & Coriander Leaves – handful (chopped)


Ghee Rice

Ghee /Clarified Butter -2 dsp

Crushed Garlic – 2 Cloves

Crushed Ginger – small piece (1/4 inch)

Cloves – 2

Cardmom – 2

Cinnamon – 1 small piece

Basmati / Kaima Rice – 2 cups

Boiling Water – 3.5 cups

Salt to taste (A little above your normal taste)

Lime – 1

For Garnish

Cashew Nuts – handful

Golden Fried Onions

Coriander Leaves

Mint Leaves


For Video Tutorial

Prawns Base

Sauté the onion, shallots and green chillies . At this stage you will be able judge the spice levels. If the green chillies are not spicy enough , you could add more. In the same way, you think they are of the more spicy variety, you could add little by little and decide the required amount.

Add the crushed ginger – garlic and continue to sauté till fragrant.

Let onions become soft and translucent. Now add the powdered spices (coriander, turmeric and pepper). Add salt to taste. Sauté.

Add the prawns and sauté .

Add the chopped mint & coriander leaves .Mint is optional.

When the prawns starts to partially cook, add the curd and coconut milk mix to the prawns. There would a be a lot of liquid at this stage.

At this stage, take the prawns out and keep it aside. Reduce the liquids on a medium flame. This would avoid the prawns from getting overcooked.

When the liquids are reduced well, add the prawns back to the masala.

Alternatively, you could add the yoghurt mix first. Let it form a thick gravy by reducing it and then add the prawns.

Ghee Rice

Wash, soak and drain the rice. Boil the water separately.

In a deep wok, heat the ghee and sauté the crushed ginger garlic and the whole spices. (This is optional). But I always find the rice is more flavoured when I make it this way. There is no need for it to brown. We are just releasing the flavour to the ghee.

Sauté the drained rice in this for a couple of minutes. This will help the rice from getting too sticky after being cooked. Add salt to taste.

Add the 3.5 cups of boiling water . The rice would only be 3/4 th cooked with this amount of water. The rest of the cooking would happen, when we cook the layered Biriyani.

Check the salt levels in the water. This is very important for a Biriyani as if the salt level is not enough, there would be no flavour to bind it together. The salt should be a little more than your normal level. This will be absorbed into the cooked rice and will balance.

Squeeze the juice of lime and add it to the water. This helps in keeping the rice from sticking too.

Bring it to a boil on high flame. At this stage you would notice, the rice starts moving to the top and holes form. Cover the wok and cook on low flame for another 5 minutes till it’s done.

Once done. Turn off the flame , stir and fluff up the rice. The rice should be 3/4 cooked.


This biriyani can be cooked in the oven or right on the stove top.

If you are cooking on the stove top, use a deep non stick wok with a lid. The assembly steps are the same for both methods.

Apply a little ghee on the inside of the dish being used for making the Biriyani (optional).

Divide the rice in 3 portions and prawns masala into 2.

Add a layer of rice on the bottom. Top that with a layer of prawns.

Sprinkle some fried onions and chopped mint & coriander leaves.

Repeat the same for the next layer. Top this with the last layer of rice

Now cover this layer and cook on a low flame for 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you could seal the dish using an aluminium foil and stick the edges using a flour based dough. Sealing for Dum -style cooking.

Place it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees and let it bake for 20-25 minutes.

Garnish with fried onions, cashews, and chopped mint & coriander leaves.

Serve with Raita , Pappad & Pickle!

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