Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

By • November 26, 2009 57 Comments

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Author Notes: As a kid I loved seafood and hated Indian food. Over the years somehow that got switched up to loving Indian food and becoming vegetarian. About a year ago I decided to make the move to pescatarianism which has opened a whole new culinary world for me. For my 30th birthday my dad made this amazing Shrimp Biryani dish for me marrying my two favorite things, seafood and Indian food. Send thanks to him for the flavors you are about to indulge in. - amreenamreen

Food52 Review: This biryani has the distinction of being both delicate and full of flavor. A bowl of this fragrant rice and shrimp would be equally suited to lunch or dinner, either enjoyed alone in private bliss or served for a dinner party. We love that the same mixture of garlic, ginger, cilantro and chilies gets incorporated into both the rice and shrimp, the two parts of the dish mirroring each other aromatically. And amreen reminded us of the beauty and ease of baked rice! - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 serrano chilis
  • 1 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 1 1/2 inches
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10 - 12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the rice and soak it in cold water until needed.
  2. Wash the shrimp and drain it well. Add the salt and tumeric and mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Peel the ginger and garlic and use a food processor to blend it to a paste with the cilantro and chilis. You can use a little water if it is too dry.
  4. Chop the onion and mint and leave to the side until needed.
  5. Heat the oil on medium in an oven safe dish. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and 1 bay leaf. Saute until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped onion and saute until light brown, stirring constantly.
  7. Add 1/2 of the paste and saute for another minute or two.
  8. Add water and salt (1-2 teaspoons depending on taste) and bring to this to a boil.
  9. Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water and add the butter and mint. Bring this to a boil, cover and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. When the rice has been in the oven for about 10 minutes heat some oil in a saute pan and add the remainder of the paste along with the other bay leaf. Saute this for a minute or two and add the shrimp. Saute the shrimp until done (they should be light pink) about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the rice from the oven. Top it with the shrimp and serve with kachumber (recipe can be found on my profile :P)

More Great Recipes: Shrimp|Fish & Seafood|Entrees|Fish

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Comments (57) Questions (6)


6 months ago Sarah

This recipe was really tasty, and has changed the way I approach making basmati rice!


11 months ago Lisa mellick

Confused. Do you leave the peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom in the dish and cook with the rice? Makes sense to remove.


11 months ago Mary Elizabeth Fernandez

This looks incredible! Any advice on how to turn the ginger, garlic, cilantro, and chilies into a paste without a food processor/mortar and pestle? Also, can salted butter be used if the 1 tsp of salt is omitted?


12 months ago Kaede Sullivan

I made this last night for dinner. It is outstanding. Spicy, savory and delightfully light. I added some peas as suggested by others and this worked well. I like how there are lots of leftovers for lunch today!


almost 2 years ago Debora Morgan

I love this recipe. I actually work with mostly Indian and Nepali women who raved about it when I brought some in- the ultimate compliment! I make half the recipe but used ½ teaspoon turmeric, 8 cloves of garlic, 2 yellow onions, and omitted the mint. The flavor after my alterations I'm sure was less delicate, but that's just what I prefer. Bravo!


over 2 years ago amreen

I made this again for the first time in a long time ... it was a hit with all my friends! glad you all liked it too! I like the addition of peas idea ... I did a chana masala and salad on the side but might do a palak paneer next time to get my greens in :)


almost 3 years ago mdmelindam

This looks divine!! I will be making this over the weekend :)


almost 3 years ago darksideofthespoon

I halved this recipe last night for me and my husband and after tasting it, immediately regretted not making the whole thing so I could have left overs. Also, I replaced the cilantro with parsley (I'm a hater), and it worked so well!


over 3 years ago IORA83

I loved it but unfortunately the boyfriend thought there was too much going on with the spices. Guess I will just have to cook it when he is out of town.


over 3 years ago fuhsi

Just made this tonight; it's definitely going in the roster, but will tone down the oil and butter (used the good-fake stuff), and add boiling water to speed up the process.

Added peas like someone said, and served with roasted cauliflower flavored with garam masala and some leftover cabbage/kale/carrot saute with a splash of sherry vinegar.



over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this for dinner tonight and it might be the best rice dinner I've ever made. Ever. Thanks so much for this recipe! Can't wait for leftovers tomorrow :-)


over 3 years ago MaryDD

I had to visit my local Bulk Barn for a few spices but I pulled this off for dinner last night and it was delightful! The rice took a little longer than expected but it was through my own mismeasurement I believe,not the recipe. I used brown basmati rice as well. Thanks!


over 4 years ago LobsterBrieAvocadoBreath

Okay---this is just sumptuous! Pickier eat 15 year old, absolutely raved, and my daughter, the credentialed pastry chef loved it too. There is simply no beating the heavenly aromas. Rachael said she could smell it at the bottom of the driveway! I found that I really like the cardamom seeds through out the rice---kids thought it was complimentary too. I also made a brown rice version (thinking healthier, but of course it won't be if I eat the entire thing tonight, huh?)

I also must send along high-fives to my most favorite food website food52 and their insightful followers, for answering two question as I was pulling the dinner together. What a nice addition to my day this resource is. Thanks!


almost 5 years ago jifferb

made this tonight - amazing. the whole house smells like cardamom and cloves, so fragrant. and the paste for the shrimp was fantastic! i paired this with wanderash's roasted curried cauliflower - an excellent pair!


almost 5 years ago lpcooks

I made this last night and we loved it! I add cauliflower (steamed it first and then mixed it in with the onions after they were done browning) and it was wonderful. Will definitely make this again, with and without the shrimp! Thanks


about 5 years ago jazzdad

I made this for my daughter tonight. My tolerance for spicy found it to be perfect hers found it a little to much so. So next time I make it for her, one of the serranos will lose the pith and seeds. I loved the cardamom in the rice and maybe didn't put in enough cinnamon but it still had a wow factor off the charts! great recipe looking forward to fine tuning it to suit my tastes, highly recommended, will make again especially for the delicious fragrance that permeates the house when making.


about 5 years ago J-Dizzle

Made this at the cottage - and the wonderful aromas had the neighbours coming over; or casually dropping by.....! It was a huge hit - I threw in some extra veggies (only way i can sneak then in)....Thank you Amreen for the wonderul recipe - it definitey is a keeper!


over 5 years ago monkeymom

Made this tonight. It was not only amazingly delicious, it was very fun to make. We didn't happen to have serranos so I had to leave them out. But my daughter (who usually hates spices/herbs) "I like it because of the spices". Essentially, a miracle. A big huge thanks to your dad!


over 5 years ago amreen

wow thats awesome! i never thought this would be a kid friendly dish ... goes to show you how much our culture's palates are changing ... will pass the word on to my pops :D


over 5 years ago bonnie59

I just made this for the second time for my family and we all loved this dish. Even my fussy eater 13 y.o. daughter gobbled it up and didn't pick out the onions. Quite a success for our household meals. I just love your site and continue to tell all my friends at work about your site and of course I pass on my favourite recipes.


over 5 years ago amreen

I taught at a middle school for a long time and the kids would always wrinkle their noses at my lunch ... but once they tried it it was always Ms. Karmali when are you bringing meeee lunch :P There definately is something to say about the appeal of all things exotic!


over 5 years ago Daphne

Made this last night and it was not only fun to put together but tasted like nothing I've ever made before. The smells got raves and we felt like we'd been transplanted to some exotic place. Just love to make food a few hours before dinner. I can sneak bites when I'm starving at 5 pm. Just re warm and serve after sharing a glass of wine with my husband after he arrives home at 7:30. Thank you for the fantastic recipe.
P.S. loved the very few dishes to wash too!


over 5 years ago amreen

Im a big fan of the minimal dishes too!!! I love how this recipe is super simple but appears to be so fancy!