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This Sprightly, Whole-Meal Biryani Changed How We Make Rice

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Every so often, we scour the site for recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This one from amreen is one of the most popular recipes on the site—it's so good, Amanda and Merrill riffed on it in their book.

Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)
Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

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. Some years 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.

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I recommend serving the biryani with kachumber, an Indian pico de gallo made with cucumber, onion, tomato, cilantro, chilis, and vinegar. It goes well with any Indian rice dish.

Kachumber
Kachumber

Not sold on the recipe yet? Here's more:

When Amanda and Merrill, Food52's co-founders, first tried the Shrimp Biryani back in 2009, they wrote:

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"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!"

Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)
Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

Merrill used the biryani as a starting point for a recipe in A New Way to Dinner—here's what she wrote about it in the book:

"In the early days of Food52, one of our community members, Amreen Karmali, posted a recipe for shrimp biryani. I’ve made her bright, aromatic dish many times. First, you whir up a vibrant paste of chiles, garlic, and herbs that serves as a base for an amped-up pilaf. The same paste does double duty as a marinade for the shrimp that rest on top of the rice. Try experimenting with the flavors—I change up the herbs and spices to suit the meal I'm making: Dill and mint would be a nice alternative, and you could add a few cardamom pods or coriander seeds in place of the bay leaf."

the recipes

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Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

3bca8d26 f8d2 4bea 8c83 0e26699e550f  jc img 3140 1 amreen
1,815 Save Recipe
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
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Acb94a1b 64f0 4093 80b9 907ac4627475  2017 0509 kachumber indian condiment james ransom 057

Kachumber

3bca8d26 f8d2 4bea 8c83 0e26699e550f  jc img 3140 1 amreen
35 Save Recipe
Serves 6
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 peeled cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Salt to taste
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Got an heirloom recipe with a story you'd like to share? Email [email protected]