Prawn Biryani

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Prawn Biryani
Rice and Prawns cooked with green pesto and coconut milk

 The origin of Biryani dates back to Mughal reign but over the years it has been adapted to suit personal taste. The flavours of the dish are highly dependent on the happy marriage of the spices and other ingredients used in the dish so it is important for one to know the spice combinations that work well. This recipe for Prawn biryani is from my mother-in-law’s collection and is highly recommended for seafood lovers.


King Prawns – 300 gm
Basmati Rice – 300 gm
Onions – 1 large
Yoghurt – 1 tbsp
Salt – 4 tsp or to taste
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp or to taste
Garam Masala – 1tsp
Coconut Milk – 1 can/400 ml
Water – ½ cup

Green Pesto Marinade:

Fresh Coriander Leaves – 30 gm
Green Chillies – 4 medium or to taste
Garlic – 3 cloves medium
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Lemon juice – half a lemon

Whole Spices:

Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Green Cardamom – 2 cracked
Cloves – 4
Bay Leaves – 2
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp


  •  Blend all marinade ingredients to a fine puree using 10-20 ml of water.
  • Try to keep the amount of water used to puree the marinade as little as possible.
  • Chop the onions in thin long slices.
  • De-vein, wash and dry the prawns.


  • Heat oil and clarified butter together.
  • Heating them together avoid burning of the clarified butter.
  • Add all whole spices and stir for 10 seconds until you can smell the aroma.
  • Add sliced onions and stir-fry on medium heat until golden brown.
  • Increase the heat and add green marinade.
  • Cook while stirring constantly until water dries and oil starts to seeps through the mix.
  • Add yoghurt and stir-fry for another minute.
  • Add prawns and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add drained rice and stir gently without breaking the rice grains.
  • Add coconut milk and half a cup of water.
  • Add salt, red chilli powder and garam masala at this stage and give a good gentle stir.
  • Allow it to boil and reduce the heat to minimum.
  • Cover with a lid while rice is cooking at this stage.
  • The coconut milk slows down the cooking of rice grains. So it is important that you cook at the lowest heat possible.
  • Stir a couple of times in between without allowing the grains to break.
  • Switch off the heat once the water dries.
  • Cover the cooking pan and let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the rice core to cook evenly.
  • Serve hot with raita of your choice.

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