Shrimp Biryani

shrimp biryani, prawn biryani

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Biryani is one of the most popular dishes in India. Mutton and Chicken Biryani are the most popular Biryanis, but these days Kheema, Fish and Shrimp Biryani are also gaining popularity. However, for me, even today, when someone mentions Biryani, I still expect it to be either Mutton or Chicken Biryani. To make this item, the meat and the rice are cooked in an air tight pot on very low flame, so that the rice is cooked in the flavors of meat and gets the aroma of the meat. The meat gets the direct heat from the flame and the rice is cook with steam generated by the air tight method of cooking, also known as Dum method. Biryani is the only item for which I don’t mind spending 1 ½ – 2 hours in the kitchen preparing it. Taste of it is worth the time spent in the kitchen.

The first time I tasted Shrimp Biryani was 3 years ago in Eluru, at my brothers wedding. After that I cooked Shrimp Biryani a few times at home, but not in recent months. I was thinking of posting the recipe of the Biryani on my blog, but I never thought it would be Shrimp Biryani, at least not before posting the recipes of Mutton and Chicken Biryani. I made Shrimp Biryani for dinner today and decided to post it on the blog right away.

shrimp biryani, prawn biryani

Total Time: 1 ½ hours
Preparation Time: 1 hour (includes marination)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4


  • Marinade
    • 2 lbs Shrimp raw and shell on
    • ¾ cup Yogurt
    • 1 1/2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
    • 1 ½ tsp Chili Powder
    • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
    • 12 small Chilies split into two
    • 1 cup chopped Mint Leaves
    • 1 cup chopped Cilantro
    • ½ tsp Turmeric
    • Garam Masala Powder
      • 10 Pepper Corns
      • 10 Coves
      • ½ tsp Cardamom Seeds
      • ½ tsp Sahajeera or Black Cumin
      • 1” Cinnamon Stick
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Salt to Taste
  • 1 Large Onion sliced
  • 1 cup Oil
  • ½ tsp of saffron strands
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 cups Rice soaked for 30 minutes
  • Spices for boiling riceo 6 Cardamoms
    • 3 Cloves
    • 2 Bay Leaves
    • 1 Bay Fower or Biryani Flower
    • 1 tsp Sahajeera
    • ½ tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
    • 1 tbsp of Oil
    • First Full of Salt


  • Peel the Shrimp, wash and squeeze all the water from the shrimp.
  • Grind all the ingredients listed under garam masala to a fine powder.
  • Mix all the ingredients of the marinade and marinate of 1 hour.
  • In pan heat oil and fry the onions until light golden brown.
  • In a big pot bring water to a boil, add all the spices for boiling rice and mix well.
  • Add rice and cook for 2 ½ minutes, one good boil, I.e rice should roll over with boiling water. Drain the rice and keep aside.
  • Soak saffron in hot milk.
  • Now its time to arrange shrimp and rice in layers, one layer of shrimp and two layers of rice. In rice cooker container, pour ½ the oil at the bottom, arrange shrimp and sprinkle some oil on top of the shrimp.
  • Arrange ½ the boiled rice on shrimp, sprinkle some oil, ½ the fried onions and ½ saffron milk.
  • Repeat the above step for the last layer, I.e arrange the spread the remaining rice, sprinkle all the oil, fried onions and the saffron milk.
  • Cover the cooker and switch on the rice cooker.
  • Put a heavy container on the top of the cooker lid so that steam doesn’t escape.
  • When the rice is cooked and the cooker turns of , let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes before opening the cooker.
  • Mix the rice and serve hot with raita or chicken/goat curry


  • If using frozen shrimp, make sure it is completely thawed before marinating it.
  • You can use store bought Biryani mixes to substitute for the spices. I have used Shan Biryani mixes before and it tastes good. You can substitute 3-4 tsp Shaan mix for the garam masala and adjust the chili powder and the chillies to your taste.
  • The same recipe can be followed to prepare Chicken Biryani. In this recipe, I cooked the raw shrimp and rice together. There is another way of cooking Biryani, cook the meat first and then arrange the meat and rice in layers and then use the Dum process to finish it. I will use that method for Mutton Biryani, which I intend to post it on the blog very soon. Please be patient till then.

5 thoughts on “Shrimp Biryani

  1. Thnx for this recipe..i always wondered if Biryani could be cooked in the rice cooker. I follow the oven method…but this makes my job easier

    1. Such a nice recipe, today was my first time making biryani in a rice cooker. I didn’t have enough shrimp and used anchovies with shrimp instead. I also fried curry leaves with the onions. Was very pleased. Thank you for your site, I have really loved trying out some of your recipes.

  2. Hi ,how much time on stove top for this recipe. I was searching for this type of biryani with raw prawns and i found urs. Thank u

    1. Deepika, I have not cooked prawn biryani on stove. This is my suggestion, cook on high for 8-10 minutes until steam escapes from the vessel and then reduce to low and cook for another 20 minutes. Turn off the fire & let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Do remember to use an air tight lid. Check this biryani post steps 11 & 12…

      I am copy pasting the steps here –

      Now, we need to seal the the container and make it air tight so that the steam doesn’t escape when we cook. In India, flour dough or a big cloth is used to seal the container and the cover together. Here, I use an aluminum sheet. take 2 sheets of aluminum foil (the sheets should be bigger than the diameter of the sauce pan) and place it on top of the sauce pan and then cover it with the lid. We will have aluminum sheets between the pan and its lid. Since we took the sheets bigger than the diameter of the pan, we will use that to seal the pan and the lid.
      Put a heavy object (motor pesto or heavy pan or skillet) on the top of the container, so that the steam doesn’t escape easily.

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