Prawn / Chemmeen Biriyani

Prawn / Chemmeen Biriyani

Ingredients ( Serves 4 – 5)


  1. Large prawns – 30 – 35 ( Around 400 – 500 gm)
  2. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  3. Chilly powder – 1 tsp
  4. Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  5. Salt – As required

For the masala

  1. Onion – 1 large, thinly sliced
  2. Tomato – 1 medium, chopped
  3. Fresh ginger-garlic paste – 2 – 3  tsp
  4. Green chilies – 7 – 8, seeded
  5. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  6. Chilly powder – 1/4 tsp
  7. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  8. Garam masala powder – 1.5 tsp
  9. Mint leaves – 1/4 cup, chopped
  10. Cilantro – 1/4 cup, chopped
  11. Salt – To taste
  12. Oil – As required


1. Clean and wash the prawns. Marinate the prawns with the ingredients under marinade for at least 2 hrs in a refrigerator. Shallow fry the marinated prawns in about 2 – 3 tbsp oil until done. It won’t take more than 2 – 3 minutes on each side, at medium-high heat. Drain on to a paper towel.

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2. In the same pan, add thinly sliced onions. Stir-fry until they turn light brown at medium heat. Now add ginger-garlic paste and green chilies. Stir fry for a few more minutes until the raw smell of ginger-garlic paste disappears. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Stir-fry for a few seconds and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes get mashed up. Now add 1/2 cup hot water and mix well. Bring to a boil and add the fried prawns. Cook for a minute or two and add the chopped cilantro and mint. Taste check for salt. Switch off.

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Cooking Rice

Basmati rice – 2 cups

    To cook rice, I usually follow the draining method. Soak the basmati rice for around 25 – 30 mts. Drain and keep aside. Boil water in a deep vessel. To the boiling water add ghee – 2 tsp, whole spices (peppercorns – 10, cloves – 6, cardamom – 2, bay leaves – 2, cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece, fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp, star anise- 2). Add enough salt. The water should be slightly salty. Now add the soaked rice and cook it to the perfect consistency. It will take around 15 – 20 mts at medium heat.  Drain the water and set aside.

To Garnish

Onion – 1 medium, sliced thinly and deep fried in oil/ghee until golden brown

Cashews and raisins – 1/4 cup deep-fried in oil / ghee

Cilantro – 1/2 cup, chopped

Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, chopped


For layering, you need a cookware which can be put on stove or which is oven-safe.

Smear the base of the cookware with ghee. Then sprinkle the fried onions, cilantro, cashews, raisins, mint leaves and then add the prawn masala. Next add the cooked rice and repeat the process. You can sprinkle some garam masala powder or biriyani masala and a little ghee on each layer. The topmost layer should be that of rice with the items under garnish.  Now seal the cookware with an aluminium foil (so that moisture won’t escape), cover with its lid and bake it at 350 F for around 15 – 20 mts (depending on the cookware you use). If you are planning to keep it for long, cook the rice only till it is 95% done or so. If you are using stovetop keep it at low flame for around 5 – 10 mts. Serve hot with boiled eggs, biriyani chammanthi, raita, pappadam and lemon pickle. This recipe serves around 4 – 5 people.

Prawn / Chemmeen Biriyani

Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

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