Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Malabar Style Prawns Biriyani ~ Malabar Chemmeen Biriyani

Summer Time!!!! Kids are having Summer vacation and I'm having hard time running behind them :-) I've let my son play and have fun this summer without putting him for any summer camps and study classes. These days he comes to me saying 'Amma enikku pa(di)kkanam' meaning Amma I want to study. He is learning to write Malayalam little by little these days though he makes a lot of mistakes, I love the excitement in his face, joy in his eyes and the 'hurray' scream when he get the letters right. His little sister is really happy to have her 'Ettan'(big Bro) around whole day to play, fight, act and have fun. I'm sometimes amazed to watch the little one learning things so fast from her big bro.

Though kids love to enjoy summer outside, the sun is so very hot here which don't let us stay out for long at daytime. We wait till eve to go out for any outdoor activities. To keep kids engaged in some physical activities we took membership in YMCA, elder one is enrolled for swimming classes while my little one get to play in the play area for more than an hour. As usual I'm doing my Chauffeur job taking them in and out everywhere :-)  We took a beak from all these and had a nice weekend last week in Edison, NJ with my little sister and BIL. It was fun, especially for kids, they were well pampered by Elemma/Chachi and Elayachan/Chachu. It was totally an unplanned trip just for two days but it ended up being so good, relaxed a bit, went for a small beach trip, ate out, watched a reasonably good action movie 'Singham' online and reached back home by yesterday evening. 

I feel terribly bad sing my empty space without much posts these days, I'm getting hardly anytime to reach out to my fellow blogger's space as well. I know many of my blogger friends have passed on many awards to me as well, thanks dear friends, I will definitely try to post them asap. Today's recipe is yet another Malabar delicacy, the delicious Malabar Chemmeen/Prawns biriyani. As I have mentioned before, we prefer fish over meat, seafood like Prawns and Crab being the favorite. When ever we have unexpected or sudden guest I make this Prawns Biriyani or my Prawns Masala or this Prawns Roast as I know, no matter what Prawns will never go wrong in the making even if I'm in hurry. Prawns are really a great rescuer as they get cooked so fast and tastes just fantastic. I use homemade Garam Masala which my MIL made, which do not have fennel seeds. So I add some crushed fennel seeds and this fennel powder add an extra aroma for the prawns. So here comes the Malabar Chemmeen(Prawn/Shrimp) Biriyani, do definitely give it a try and Enjoy this Malabar delicacy :-)


To Marinate Prawns:-
  1. Big Prawns(or Shrimp) - 1lbs( ~ 500 gms)
  2. Turmeric powder ~ ¾ tsp
  3. Chilly powder - 1 tsp
  4. Pepper powder ~  ½ tsp
  5. Salt to taste (~ ¾ tsp)
For shrimp Masala:-
  1. Onion Very Finely Sliced - 4 Med(~ 3½ cups)
  2. Tomato - 2 Big(~ 2 Cups)
  3. Ginger - Garlic paste, crushed or finely chopped ~ 2 tbsp each
  4. Green Chilies crushed or finely chopped - 5
  5. Turmeric powder -  ½ tsp
  6. Fennel seeds crushed and coarse ground to powder ~ ¾ tsp
  7. Garam Masala - 1 ½ tsp
  8. Fresh Lime Juice ~ 1 tbsp
  9. Curry leaves a sprig or more
  10. Chopped coriander leaves/Cilantro ~ ¼ cups
  11. Chopped mint leaves ~ 2 tbsp 
  12. Oil ~ 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp(to shallow fry + to saute and make Shrimp Masala)
  13. Salt to taste
For Ghee Rice/Flavorful Rice:-
  • Basmathi Rice/Jeera Rice - 3 Cups
  • Water - 5 Cups
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Sticks - 2 nos
  • Cardamom pods - 4
  • Cloves - 6
  • Salt to taste (~ 1tbsp)
  • Ghee ~ 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp(for layering and doing dum)
  • Oil ~ 1 tbsp
  • Garam Masala ~  ½ tsp(used while layering the rice)
  • Curry leaves a sprig
  • Onion very thinly sliced - 1 
  • Cashews few (optional)
  • Raisins few (optional)
  • Chopped coriander leaves ~ 1 tbsp

Preparation Method:-

Making shrimp Masala:
  • Peel and devein the prawns. Wash it well two-three times and drain completely. 
  • Marinate prawns with 'To Marinate' ingredients ie Turmeric, Chilly powder, Pepper powder, Salt and set aside for at-least 30 minutes(or more if possible) 
  • Heat up a non-stick pan or kadai, pour 1 tbsp oil, spread the prawns. Reduce the heat to medium and shallow fry the prawns slightly on both sides for around five-seven minutes. Take them out and keep aside.
  • Add 1 more tbsp of oil to the same pan(in which you shallow fried prawns), add onions, ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, few curry leaves, salt and saute for a while till onion turn light brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and saute well till tomatoes are soft and mashed up to release the juices. 
  • Add mint leaves, chopped cilantro and saute. Add turmeric powder, 1 tsp garam masala and saute well to mix.
  • Add the shallow fried prawns (I kept couple of them to garnish) and saute well to mix with the gravy. Cover with a lid and let it cook for few minutes around five-seven minutes in medium heat.
  • Add fresh lime juice and saute to mix. Add remaining ½ tsp garam masala, fennel powder and saute well to mix everything. Take off the stove and set aside till Ghee rice is ready.
Preparing Ghee Rice/Flavored Rice:-
  • Pour 5 cups of water in a wide vessel and bring it to boil.
  • Mean while wash the rice two-three times till you get clear water, drain completely and keep aside.
  • Heat up a wide thick bottom pan, add 1 tbsp ghee, add cashews saute till light brown, take them out and keep aside. Add raisins, saute till they pop up, take them out and set aside.
  • Add remaining 1 tbsp ghee along with 1 tbsp oil, add cinnamon sticks, cardamom and cloves and saute till you get a nice aroma. Add sliced onions and saute till translucent. 
  • Add rice and saute for couple of minutes till rice absorbs the aroma of spices say for about five-seven  minutes. Pour the boiling water to the rice, add salt, curry leaves and bring it to boil. With a spatula give it a gentle stir till the bottom of the pan to make sure rice don't stick to the bottom.
  • Simmer the heat to medium, cover with a tight lid and let it cook till the rice is almost cooked and the water is fully absorbed. Switch off the stove and let it sit without any stir for a while till the high steam in the rice reduces.
  • Stir the rice gently and move to two-three platters to make sure rice is not sticky and remain as individual grains. Proceed for layering and Dum process.
Layering and doing Dum:-

On Stove Top:-
  • Place a thick bottom vessel on the stove, drizzle ½ tbsp of ghee in the bottom of the pan, spread half the rice, sprinkle a generous pinch(¼ tsp) of Garam masala all over the rice, followed by Shrimp masala, raisins, cashews and ½ tbsp coriander leaves.
  • Spread the next layer of rice, sprinkle the remaining Garam masala(¼ tsp) all over the rice followed by cashews, raisins,  ½ tbsp coriander leaves and remaining ghee. 
  • Cover the vessel air-tight with a clean kitchen towel or silver foil, put on the lid tight to infuse the full flavor and cook it in low-medium heat for approx 20-30 minutes or till you see steam releasing from the sides of the vessel. Take off the stove and let it sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes.
  • Now with a sauce pan(or spatula), gently stir the entire dish to mix rice and Chemmeen/Prawns masala. 
  • Scrape out a saucepan full of Shrimp Biriyani and move to the serving dish. Garnish with the set aside shallow fried Prawns and nuts. Serve warm with Onion Raita, Biriyani Chammanthi, Pickles and Pappads.

Sending this to The Kerala Kitchen Event hosted at Erivum Puliyum and linking it to EP Series ~ Basil and Cardamom started by Julie


  1. Prawn biriyani looks delicious. Always difficult to cook with kids.

  2. Very tempting, thoroughly detailed recipe!! Great clicks too

  3. looks so yummy, awesome color too.

  4. Tempting delicious biriyani with prawns..

  5. wow.. good treat to my eyes...

  6. Tempts me to have some.......

  7. Omg, cant take my eyes from this irresistible biryani.

  8. Mouth-watering biriyani.. a treat !
    I love prawns.
    Lovely presentation.

  9. wow.....yummy n awesome prawn biriyani......lovely clicks n presentation...

  10. tempting biryani.. this is husband's fav... presentation is too good..

  11. delicious and spicy biriyani....

  12. Super tempting & adipoli biriyani,Yummilicious..:-)
    Thanx a lot for linking it to The Kerala Kitchen Event dear:-)

    Ongoing Events at(Erivum Puliyum)-
    1. The Kerala Kitchen(June'12)

    2.EP Series-Basil OR Cardamom

  13. This is making me hungry,pics are superb..kothiyavunnu


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