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Prawn Biryani

A delicious step by step take on a delicious prawn biryani, with exotic warming flavors packed into one delicious rice dish. Easier than you might think, and absolutely show stopping!
5 from 5 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: biryani, Indian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 358kcal
Author: Farah Abumaizar


For the rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cardamom pods

For the prawn marination:

  • 300 g prawns, cleaned (weight is without shell and after cleaning), can use shrimp
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste *See notes
  • big pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp biryani masala spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • pinch salt

For the biryani gravy:

  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp biryani masala spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (400g or 15 oz)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the rice:

  • Wash the rice, then soak for 30 minutes. Drain, and rinse again.
  • Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil, and add the bay leaf and cardamom pods. Add the drained rice, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid. The water should cover the rice by an inch or so, add a little more if you need to. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed, then set aside.

For the prawns:

  • In a bowl, mix together the prawns with the yogurt, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, biryani masala, red chili powder and salt and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes (you can do this while the rice is cooking).

To make the biryani gravy and assemble:

  • Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet or pot and heat on medium high heat. Once oil has heated up, add the onion slices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized. This might take around 7-8 minutes. Once onions have browned, remove from the skillet onto paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
  • If you need to, add a little more oil to the skillet, then fry the bay leave, cardamom pods, and cloves for 10 seconds or so. Add the ginger garlic paste, and fry for 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, the chopped coriander and mint, along with the cumin, cinnamon powder, biryani masala, red chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes, and add the caramelized onions back in.
  • Add the marinated prawns to the skillet, and cook for 3 minutes or so, until prawns have curled up into a c and are cooked through. Dont' overcook so they don't turn rubbery, they won't take much time at all. Set this prawn gravy aside.
  • Lightly grease the bottom of a large pot with oil, then layer half the cooked rice. Add the full amount of the prawn gravy, followed by the second half of the rice. If you'd like a little of the rice to be colorful, you can stir a scoop of rice into the pot that the prawns were cooked in to add some of that sauce color to it, then sprinkle it on top of the second layer of rice.
  • Cover the rice pot with a very tight fitting lid, or a tight layer of aluminum foil, then steam on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Set aside for another 15 minutes, then uncover and serve hot.


To make the ginger garlic paste, check this recipe out.
Alternately, you can buy ready made paste from a supermarket, usually in the Asian food aisle.
Recipe adapted from Indian Healthy Recipes.
Tried this recipe?Mention @everylittlecrumb or tag #everylittlecrumb!


Calories: 358kcal