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We are in the final stretch of this Cooking Carnival. My theme is Cooking with Protein Rich Ingredients and the ingredient of the week is Shrimp. For the next five days, I shall post recipes with shrimp.
It is so strange how our taste and likes changes over a period of time. When growing up, I always avoided shrimp or prawns. Back home, we get prawns and I always stayed away from it until I was 18-19 years old. And now, it is one of my favorite foods. I always look forward to cooking shrimp and it cooks very fast. That is one of the reasons I always include it in my menu when I have company.
The other food I really love is biriyani and specially layered biriyani. It is time consuming but this is one of the dishes I do not mind sweating myself in the kitchen to prepare a mouthwatering biriyani!! Though biriyani preparation looks lengthy with many components to it, once you make it a few times and with some multi tasking, preparation is not that bad at all. Also, don’t be intimidated by the lengthy procedure.
I already have shrimp biriyani recipe on my blog. That is kacchi (raw) biriyani where raw meat/shrimp is cooked along with partly cooked rice in an airtight pot. Kachi shrimp biriyani recipe on the blog is cooked in a rice cooker.
Today I have a pakhi (cooked) biriyani, where meat/shrimp is first cooked, then arranged in layers with almost cooked rice in an airtight pot and cooked to finish it off.
All my non-veg biryanis are similar, I follow a basic recipe. Even this recipe is no exception but I played around with few ingredients. I used both whole and ground green chilies, ground some of the fried onion to paste and used it as a masala for the shrimp.
Rest of the recipe is similar to my other biriyanis. Since this is pakhi biriyani, I cooked shrimp and then assembled the biriyani by layering cooked shrimp and rice. I cooked biriyani in an airtight pot on a stovetop. Biryani can be cooked in the oven but I find cooking on stovetop easier. The texture of biriyani depends on how long the rice is cooked. I usually set the timer to partly cook the rice. For this biryani, I cooked for 4 ½ minutes.
- 6 Cloves
- 6 Black Peppercorns
- ⅓ – ½ tsp. Cardamom Seeds (I used ⅓ )
- ½” Cinnamon Stick
- ½ tsp. Shah jeera
- 1 ½ lbs. extra large Shrimp, peel and devein (I used 16-20 ct. Shrimp)
- 1 ½ – 1 ¾ tsp. Chili Powder
- 1 tsp. Coriander Powder
- Spice Powder
- 2 tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 ½ tsp. Salt
- 8 small Green Chilis, 4 cut into two pieces and 4 ground to paste
- ¾ cup. chopped Kotmir ~ Cilantro, loosely packed
- ¾ cup. Chopped Mint Leaves and loosely packed
- 2 cups. Basmati Rice
- 4 – 6 Cardamoms
- 3-4 Cloves
- ½” Cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Shah Jeera / Caraway Seeds
- 1-2 Bay Leaves
- ¼ – ½ tsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
- Fist Full of Salt (as you read it right)
- Marinated Shrimp
- Partly Cooked Rice
- ¾ cup. Oil
- 1 large Onion sliced
- ½ Lime, juiced
- ½ cup Milk
- ½ cup Water in which rice was cooked
- Spice Powder – Grind all the ingredients listed under spice powder. Keep aside until needed.
- Marinade – Peel and devein shrimp. Wash and squeeze shrimp to remove any excess water and place in a large bowl.
- Add rest of the ingredients listed under marinate.
- Mix everything to combine or rub it into shrimp.
- Keep aside for at least 30 minutes to one hour.
- Fry Onions – Take oil in a pan and fry onions until golden brown. Remove from oil and keep aside. I usually fry the onions in the same pot I cook the biryani. This way, one less pan/pot to wash!
- Grind ½ the fried onions to a coarse paste.
- Cook Shrimp – Keep aside half the oil in which the onions were fried. In the same pan, add shrimp, fried onion paste and cook until shrimp is cooked.
- Shrimp will release lot of juices. Do not cook until all the juices are evaporated. Leave the juices as is. Check the bottom row in the below collage.
- Squeeze lime juice, mix well.
- Turn off the heat and keep aside until ready assemble biryani.
- Cooking Rice – Meantime, wash rice and soak for 30 minutes.
- Ten minutes into marinating, put at least 8 cups of water to boil. Take at least 8 cups of water and use at least 2 – 2 ½ quart/liter pot to cook the rice.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add all the ingredients listed under rice, except rice. Give a good stir.
- Add soaked rice and cook rice until about ¾ cooked. I usually set a timer and on my stove, it is about 4 ½ minutes.
- Keep aside ½ cup of water and pour the rice into a colander.
- Assemble Biriyani – In the same pot in which shrimp was cooked, arrange a layer a cooked rice, ½ the rice.
- Sprinkle ½ the saffron soaked milk and ½ fried onion on the rice.
- On top of this, spread remaining cooked rice, followed by fried onions.
- Pour remaining saffron milk, water in which rice was cooked and the oil that was kept aside in which onions were fried.
- Cover the the pot with aluminum foil to seal it properly. To retain as much steam as possible, I use two foils.
- Cover the pot with the lid.
- Cover the sides of the pan with more aluminum foil to seal the cover pot.
- Place a heavy object on the pot. I usually put cast iron pans on top but any heavy object will do, some exercise dumbbell weights, perhaps!
- Cook on high flame for 4 minutes or until steam begins to escape from the sides of the pot/pan. Reduce the flame to low and cook for another 13 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and let the rice rest for at least 15 – 30 minutes.
- Mix and serve with raitha or some curry.