Serves a Crowd

Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

November 26, 2009
16 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
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. - amreen —amreen

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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 to 12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • 1 pinch 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)
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FamilyandForks
  • Young Mimi Lee
    Young Mimi Lee
  • Rebecca McAllister
    Rebecca McAllister
  • Vinod
  • Lune
I am one of the rare northern Cali girls who hearts LA. My family hails from India via Kenya and being a good little south asian i spent many of my young years in the kitchen. Surrounded by good food from birth (thanks mom!) i have always loved cooking, eating and learning about food. In recent years i have developed an interest in the history of food and its cultural connection particularly in how imperialism and colonization has had an influence on cuisines of the world. This blog is my way of exploring the amazing web of nourishment that sustains us.

66 Reviews

FamilyandForks October 27, 2020
This is a terrific recipe and easy to follow. Wonderfully aromatic.
Nancy May 28, 2020
Gotta say this is one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. Not hard, just requires some organization. Excellent instructionS.
NXL March 29, 2020
I am not a fan of shrimp generally, but this recipe is great! It was a lot of rice for the amount of shrimp, but leftover rice is great, right? The large pieces of whole spices rose to the top during cooking and were fairly easily picked out at the end. I did not put the butter in as 4 T of oil seemed plenty, and it was. The cucumber tomato salad was the perfect foil.
Vinod March 29, 2020
I thought there could be more shrimp too, so I added 50% more shrimp and made more of the green sauce accordingly!
Young M. November 18, 2019
The rice had such incredible flavour! If it wasn't for the calories, I could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting, and not sharing. The shrimp was a bit salty. I would skip it next time.
Rebecca M. October 29, 2019
This recipe is incredible. I rarely have seconds and I had thirds. I am honestly speechless. The flavors and heat are amazing. I couldn’t think of any way this could be better. Thank you for sharing this!
Vinod May 11, 2019
This recipe has become a standby when I have people over and want to dazzle them with the aroma and flavours. Just divine. I usually add in a little more of the ginger-garlic-cilantro-chilli paste for more flavour, but that's just a personal preference. The way this recipe is set up means you don't have to stick to shrimp. I made it with tofu (fry tofu cubes in oil, then add the green spice paste and saute), and it was a hit last night. I can't wait to make the panneer and even cauliflower versions of this dish!
Lune February 24, 2018
This was delicious! Would make a great lunch too with leftovers... next time I make it!

Sarah March 16, 2015
This recipe was really tasty, and has changed the way I approach making basmati rice!
Lisa M. October 7, 2014
Confused. Do you leave the peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom in the dish and cook with the rice? Makes sense to remove.
Nancy May 28, 2020
No need to remove. It flavors the rice.
Mary E. October 3, 2014
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?
Kaede S. September 19, 2014
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!
Debora M. December 1, 2013
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!
amreen January 18, 2013
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 :)
mdmelindam November 15, 2012
This looks divine!! I will be making this over the weekend :)
darksideofthespoon September 19, 2012
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!
IORA83 March 17, 2012
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.
fuhsi February 6, 2012
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.

TheWimpyVegetarian January 21, 2012
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 :-)
MaryDD December 6, 2011
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!
LobsterBrieAvocadoBreath February 27, 2011
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!