Thalassery Chemmeen Biriyani/ Thalassery Style Prawn Biriyani

Ingredients (Serves 6 – 8)

1. Shrmip / Prawns (medium or large-sized)  – 1/2 kg, cleaned

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Chilli powder – 3/4 tsp (optional)

Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

Lemon juice – 2 tsp

Salt – To taste

2. Oil – 1/3 cup

Onion – 1 cup, thinly sliced

Cashews and raisins – 1/4 cup each

3. Ginger and garlic, crushed – 1.5 tbsp

Green chilies – 7 – 8, crushed

4. Onion – 3 – 4 small, thinly sliced (Makes about 2 cups)

5. Tomato – 3 small, finely chopped

Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

6. Biriyani masala powder –1.5 – 2 tsp (Recipe below)

Yoghurt – 1.5 tbsp

7.   Cilantro – 1/4 cup, chopped

Mint leaves – 1/4 cup, chopped

8. Salt – To taste

To prepare ghee rice

9.  Biriyani rice / jeerakashala rice / kaima rice – 2.5 cups (Soaked in enough water for 25 minutes and then drained well)

10. Ghee – 3 tbsp

11. Whole spices – Bay leaves – 2, Cardamom – 5, cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece broken, cloves – 6, star anise – 1

Salt – To taste

Hot water – 3 3/4 cup (Use 1.5 cup of water for 1 cup rice. Some varieties of kaima rice may need 2 cups of water)

To garnish

12. Fried onion

Fried cashews and raisins

Saffron – 1 pinch (Soaked in 2 tbsp hot water and set aside for 10 minutes)

Rose water – 1/2 tsp

For biriyani masala powder

13. Fennel seeds – 1.5 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Shahi jeera / kala jeera – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch

Cloves – 6

Green cardamom – 4

Jathi pathri – 1

Star anise – 1 small

Grind all the above ingredients to a fine powder.

Method

1. Heat 1/3 – 1/2 cup oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add thinly sliced onion and fry till crisp and golden. Remove to a paper towel. Fry cashews until light golden. Add raisins and fry till they get puffed up. Remove them to a paper towel.

2. Marinate shrimp with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 3/4 tsp chilli powder (optional), 2 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp pepper powder. Set aside for 15 minutes.

3. Heat the remaining oil (need only around 3 – 4 tbsp oil) over medium heat. Add ginger – garlic paste, crushed green chilies and cook for a minute. Add sliced onion, salt and saute for 7 – 8 minutes until the onion turns light golden. Add chopped tomatoes and pepper powder. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes until tomato is completely mashed up. Add yoghurt and ground biriyani masala powder. Stir for a minute. Add marinated shrimp (you can fry shrimp and add to the gravy, for extra taste), chopped mint and cilantro. Mix well. Cook for 5 – 6 minutes and switch off. Sprinkle 1 tbsp chopped mint and cilantro. Set aside to use later.

4. To cook rice – Heat a large pressure cooker or any heavy-bottomed vessel with 3 – 4 tbsp ghee. Add the whole spices numbered 11. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add drained rice. Stir for a minute. Add 3 3/4 cups of hot water, enough salt and bring to a boil. Taste-check for salt, the water should be slightly salty. Cover with lid and cook until steam starts to come out profusely. Put on the whistle(if you are using pressure cooker). Bring  down the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes. Switch off. Open the lid after 10 – 15 minutes. Fluff the cooked rice gently using a fork.

5. To layer –  In a heavy-bottomed vessel (you can use the one in which you cooked shrimp if it is oven-proof), spread shrimp masala in the bottom. Top it with the cooked rice. Sprinkle fried onion, cashews, raisins, saffron water, rose water and little ghee.  If there is any extra gravy, pour on top. Cover tightly with aluminium foil. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. OR Heat a large tawa over high  heat. Once hot, bring down the heat to medium-high flame. Place the biriyani pot and cook for 3 minutes on medium-high heat and 8 – 10 minutes on the lowest heat possible. Switch off. Let it rest unopened for another 10 – 15 minutes in the biriyani pot. Mix gently. Serve hot with raita, biriyani chammanthi, pappadam and date-lemon pickle.

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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!

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