Chemmeen Kizhi Biriyani With Restaurant Style Raita

Today I have a lip-smacking biriyani recipe to share with you all. My regular viewers might have noticed that I am posting more of seafood recipes nowadays. My husband Akhil had an ayurvedic treatment for back pain while we were in Kerala because of which he has to take ayurvedic medicines for 3 months and has to avoid poultry and meat during that time. Since he can take seafood during lunchtime, I have been experimenting on them for a while.

In this recipe, the ghee rice and prawn masala are cooked separately, assembled in a banana leaf, wrapped and cooked on dum. This biriyani has a very nice flavor from the plantain leaf. I guarantee you’ll love it..Happy cooking!

Eid Mubarak to all my readers!!

Chemmeen kizhi biriyani

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1. Prawns – 1/2 kg (Around 35 – 40 medium or large)

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Kashmiri chilly powder – 1 tsp

Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

Lemon juice – 1/2 tsp

Salt – As required

2. Coconut oil – 2 – 3 tbsp

Ghee – 2 tbsp

3. Onion – 2.5 cups, thinly sliced and halved

4. Ginger – 1 – 1.5 inch, chopped

Garlic – 5 large cloves, chopped

Green chilies, medium spicy – 5 – 6, chopped

5. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Chilly powder – 1 tsp

6. Tomato – 2 small, chopped

7. Cashews – 10, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes

Grated coconut – 1 – 1.5 tbsp

Cilantro / coriander leaves – 1/4 cup

Mint leaves – 10 – 15

Yoghurt – 2 – 3 tbsp

8. Garam masala powder – 1 – 1.5 tsp or to taste

Lemon juice – 1/2 tsp (optional)

9. Salt – To taste

For rice

10. Biriyani rice / kaima rice – 2.5 cups

11. Ghee – 2 – 3 tbsp

12. Whole spices – cardamom – 5, cloves – 8, cinnamon sticks – two 1/2 inch pieces, bay leaves – 2 , black pepper corns – 1/2 tsp

Salt – To taste

Hot water – 5 cups

Other ingredients – for assembling

13. Fried onion – 3/4 cup

Fried cashews and raisins – 3 tbsp each

Cilantro / coriander leaves – 1/4 cup, chopped

Mint leaves – 1/4 cup, chopped

Saffron – 1 pinch in 2 – 3 tbsp hot water

Rose water – 3 drops (Add 3 drops of rose water or 1/2 tsp kewra water to saffron water)


1. Marinate the prawns with the remaining ingredients numbered 1. Set aside for 30 minutes – 1 hr.

2. Grind ginger, garlic and green chilies to a coarse mixture and set aside.

3. Grind soaked cashews, grated coconut, mint, coriander leaves and yoghurt to a fine paste and set aside.

4. Heat 2 – 3 tbsp coconut oil + 2 tbsp ghee in a pan over medium high heat. Fry cashews until light golden. Add raisins and fry until plump. Fry 3/4 – 1 cup sliced onion until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel. Saute onion adding little salt until transparent. Add ginger-garlic-green chilly mixture. Saute until the onion mixture turns golden brown and their raw smell and taste disappears completely. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder and 1 tsp coriander powder. Cook for a minute over low heat. Add chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook for a few minutes tomato turns mushy and oil separates. Add cashew-yoghurt paste. Mix well and cook for a few minutes. Add marinated prawns, salt and mix well. Cook covered over low heat  for 8 – 10 minutes stirring occasionally until prawns are done and gravy is thick. Add 1 tsp garam masala powder. Mix well and switch off. Sprinkle a tbsp of chopped mint and cilantro. Set aside.

5. Meanwhile soak kaima / biriyani rice for 20 – 25  minutes in enough water. Drain well. Heat ghee in a pan/pressure cooker over medium heat. Add whole spices numbered 12 and stir until fragrant. Next add drained jeerakashala rice and fry for 2 minutes at medium-low heat. Add hot water, salt and bring to a boil. Taste-check for salt. The water should be slightly salty. Cover and cook until done (if using pressure cooker, cook until steam comes out profusely. Then lower the heat and cook for 2 – 3 minutes over low heat. Switch off. Open after 10 – 15 minutes). Switch off. Open the lid after 8 – 10 minutes. Fluff gently.

6.  Clean a few banana/plantain leaves (if the banana leaves are small, you may need 4 – 5) and wipe well. Place them over flame to make them soft and pliable (vazhayila vaattuka). Place 1/2 cup cooked rice (you can add more if the banana leaf is large) in the middle of the banana leaf. Top it with 4 – 5 pieces of shrimp masala. Top it with  1 cup of hot cooked rice followed by fried onions, cashews, raisins,  chopped mint, and cilantro. Sprinkle some saffron water. Tie it tightly like a kizhi using a vazhanaru or a thin muslin cloth. Repeat until the rice and shrimp masala are used completely. (I used small rectangular plantain leaves so I wrapped and placed them inside an aluminium foil and wrapped them again tightly.)

7. Meanwhile fill the steamer / idli cooker with enough water. Bring it to a boil. Place the vazhayila kizhis (few at a time depending on the size of the vessel) inside the steamer and steam cook the biriyani for about 8 – 10 minutes. Take it outside and serve after 10 minutes. Serve with biriyani chammathi, dates lemon pickle, raita (recipe below) and pappadam.

Restaurant style raita

Red onion – 3 tbsp, chopped

Tomato, firm – 1 medium, cut into very small pieces

Cucumber – 1/2 cup, cut into small pieces

Coriander leaves/ cilantro – 2 tbsp, chopped

Yoghurt – 1 cup or as required

Chat masala – 1/8 tsp or to taste

Sugar – 1/2 tsp or to taste

Salt – To taste

Combine all the above ingredients. Serve with biriyani.

Chemmeen kizhi biriyaniChemmeen kizhi 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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About Maya

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!

Every Recipe Since 2010