January 29, 2023

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Prawn Biryani (Shrimp Biryani): Easy Step-by-Step Recipe

Layers of flavorful rice, marinated prawns, spiced gravy, and cooling raita make this Prawn Biryani the perfect lunch or dinner for a special occasion or any time! 

Biryani is a traditional Indian dish that’s often made with chicken, goat, beef, lamb, or prawns. The intriguing flavor comes from an array of warm indian spices infused into layers of rice, gravy, marinated prawns, and topped with a cooling raita. 

Caramelized onions can take any dish from so-so to exceptional. Just try my Lamb Burgers with Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onions or French Onion Soup if you don’t believe the hype. Adding this extra step for the biryani is worth the time as the savory caramelized flavor adds an extra complexity without a lot of extra ingredients. 

Everything pulls together with the creamy raita, a traditional Indian condiment that adds a touch of coolness to this warmly spiced dish. 

Ingredients for biryani laid out on tray and labeled.

🥗 Prawn Biryani ingredients

  • Rice – Basmati rice is the perfect rice for this dish. If you don’t have Basmati, you can substitute long-grain white rice or long-grain jasmine rice. 
  • Prawns – While this recipe uses prawns, you can easily substitute shrimp if you need to. While they are two different species, the taste is similar, with prawns being slightly sweeter, often more expensive, and bigger than most shrimp. 
  • Yogurt – Used to marinade the prawns and as the creamy and tangy base of the quick raita. 
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes – A can of petite diced tomatoes help add texture and flavorful liquid to the sauce in which the prawns are cooked. 
  • Oil – Any vegetable oil including canola or light olive oil will work well to caramelize the onions. 
  • Onion – Yellow or white onions work best. 
  • Cucumber – Used to add a fresh crunch to the raita.  
  • Cashews – A garnish to sprinkle on at the end. Optional but recommended! 
  • Garlic – Fresh cloves of garlic add the best flavor to this recipe. You’ll use garlic in the prawn marinade and the gravy.  
  • Ginger – Freshly grated ginger adds a spicy warm flavor to the marinade and gravy. 
  • Cilantro – This herb is often found in traditional Indian dishes and is used in the raita and gravy. If you’re someone who doesn’t prefer the taste of cilantro, feel free to leave this one out. 
  • Mint – Fresh mint adds a splash of bright and slightly sweet flavor to the gravy. 
  • Whole Spices –  Bay leaf, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, cumin powder. 
  • Spice Powders – Ground turmeric, garam masala, smoked paprika (or Kashmiri red chili powder), ground cinnamon, kosher salt. 

👩‍🍳 How to make it 

While there are a few steps to making prawn biryani, the flavor is unbeatable and will have you making this dish over and over! 

Make the Rice

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot, then add the bay leaf and cardamom pods. Rinse and drain the rice, then add it to the pot of boiling water. Return the rice to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Once done, set aside. 

Marinate the Shrimp

While the rice is cooking, In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, garam masala, paprika and salt. Add the prawns and toss to coat. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Mix the Raita 

Combine yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, cumin, garam marsala, and salt in a small bowl then set aside in the refrigerator. 

Make the Gravy and Prawns

Add vegetable oil to a large skillet or dutch oven and turn the heat on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re golden and caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the onions from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Add additional oil to the pan and saute the cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic, and saute for another 30 seconds or so.

Then, add the tomatoes, cilantro, mint, cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. 

Add the caramelized onions (reserving two tablespoons and setting aside) and marinated prawns to the skillet, and cook for 5-6 minutes, over medium heat, until the prawns are just cooked through. 

Assemble the Prawn Biryani

Lightly coat the bottom of a large pot with oil, then add half of the cooked rice. Add the prawn gravy, followed by the remaining rice. 

Pro Tip: 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 the sauce color to it, then sprinkle it on top of the second layer of rice.

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, or a tight layer of aluminum foil, then cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Uncover and serve hot with remaining caramelized onions and cashews sprinkled on top. Serve raita on the side.

Prepared biryani in skillet.

🥣 How to meal prep, store, and reheat recipe 

To make mealtime easier, there are a few key parts of this recipe you can meal prep. Cook the rice up to 2 days before and make the raita 1-2 days prior to making the rest of the recipe. To store leftovers, just place in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

To reheat, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. With the biryani in an oven-safe dish, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the dish, stir well and cover tightly with foil. Bake for up to 10 minutes or until the dish is warmed through. 

🍽 Recipe FAQs

What is biryani sauce made of?

The biryani gravy is made of caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro and mint, garlic, ginger, and aromatic spices like cloves, cardamom, cumin, ginger, garam marsala, and kashmiri red chili powder. 

Why do we add yogurt to biryani? 

Yogurt helps tenderize and marinate the proteins used in biryani. 

Prepared prawn biryani in serving bowl topped with raita.

Did you try this recipe? 

If you loved this prawn biryani recipe, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a ⭐️star review⭐️! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on  Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.

More Delicious Shrimp Recipes

If you loved this shrimp biryani recipe, you’ll love these shrimp recipes:

Prepared biryani in skillet.

Rice:

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

Prawn Marinade:

  • 1 pound large prawn (peeled, tails left on (or shrimp))
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely grated)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Gravy:

  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (divided, plus more to coat pan)
  • 1 large yellow onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely grated)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or kashmiri red chili powder is more authentic)
  • 1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)

Quick Raita:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup English cucumber (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Rice:

  • Rinse and drain the rice.

  • Bring 3 cups water to a boil, and add the bay leaf and cardamom pods. Add the drained rice, return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside.

  • While the rice is cooking, In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, garam masala, paprika and salt. Add the prawns and toss to coat. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Gravy:

  • Add 2 TBSP vegetable oil to a large skillet or dutch oven and heat on medium high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and set aside on paper towels to drain

  • Add the remaining 1 TBSP oil to the pan, then fry the cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic, and fry for another 30 seconds or so.

  • Add the tomatoes, the cilantro and mint, along with the cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  • Add the ALL BUT 2 TBSP of the caramelized onions and marinated prawns to the skillet, and cook for 5-6 minutes, over medium heat, until the prawns are just cooked through.

To assemble:

  • Lightly coat the bottom of a large pot with oil, then add half of the cooked rice. Add the prawn gravy, followed by the remaining 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 pot with a tight fitting lid, or a tight layer of aluminum foil, then cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside for another 15 minutes, then uncover and serve hot with remaining caramelized onions and cashews sprinkled on top. Serve raita on the side.

Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 863mg | Potassium: 382mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 542IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 2mg

Prawn biryani in dish with raita sauce.