Prawns / Shrimp / Chemmeen Biryani

Its been long since I made biriyani, wait there is some correction in the sentence.. its been a long time since I made biriyani in Bahrain. When I went to India a few months back for my hols, I made chicken biriyani (actually WE made, my sis in law was also there) and the reason.. my bro was bugging me so much saying that am an internet cooking fraud :) He never had food cooked by me, so his conclusion is that all the posts in my blog are a result of some fraudulent activities :)

He cannot be blamed, I never used to do any cooking before my wedding and for that part I never even dared to hold raw meat or fish, I used to stand 10 ft away from those things. Now when I think about it, though am embarrassed to say, I must admit I was such a fussy pot, hhmmm….If my husband reads this sentence, he will say some correction is there in this sentence too..”not was a fussy pot”, he will correct it as “is a fussy pot” ;)

Anyways, I made biriyani here (Bahrain) for last xmas, so its almost a year. That's a long gap right? Recently when I was chatting with my cousin sis, she said she makes biriyani almost like once in 2 weeks, so that ignited the craving for biriyani…

I've bookmarked this recipe long time back….again, this recipe comes from my friend Divya. If you are a regular reader of my blog, am sure you know her well through my posts :) I think I will have to create a new category called Div's recipes :) She emailed me this recipe saying this is her mom's all time hit prawns biriyani. I tried it and it was a hit here too…so guys go ahead and try it.

Hey, one more thing…I've published a prawns biriyani before and if you asks me what's new in this… the main difference is that this is prepared in a typical biriyani style and the other more in a pulav style. Anyways you can see it for yourself:)

Here is the recipe:

Prawns Biriyani
  • Save

Prawns / Shrimp / Chemeen Biriyani

Print Pin
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Author: Maria Jose Martin


For the rice:

  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 5 cups Water
  • 6 each Cardamom & clove
  • 1 medium size stick Cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • 3-4 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt

For the masala:

  • 1/2 kg Prawns (cleaned & deviened)
  • 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  • 3 med – big Onions (chopped finely)
  • 5-6 Green chilli
  • 2-3 medium Tomato (chopped finely)
  • 1/3 cup Grated Coconut
  • 2-3 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 6-8 Cashews (soaked in 2 tbsp water, optional (refer notes))
  • 1 tsp Garam masala

For garnishing:

  • Cashews & raisins – 1 handful each
  • 1 medium Onion (sliced finely)
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp Ghee – 1 tbsp


  • Rice preparation:
  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 25 minutes. Drain the water completely. Boil 6 cups water with half the quantity of whole masala & keep it aside. Heat ghee in a vessel/pan, splutter the remaining whole masala and add the rice. Fry the rice for around 5-7 minutes or until the rice starts cracking. Add the boiled water, lemon juice & salt. Cook till the rice is done and water is completely dried. Spread the rice in a tray & keep aside.
  • Masala preparation:
  • Marinate the prawns with 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, pepper powder and salt and keep it for 2-3 hours in the fridge. Meanwhile grind together a handful of coconut & coriander leaves with a little water & keep it aside. Also grind the soaked cashews into a smooth paste.
  • Shallow fry the marinated prawns after the specified time. Once the prawns are fried, keep it aside and use the same oil to cook onions, remaining ginger garlic paste (1 tbsp) and green chilli. Once onions are fried well, add chopped tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add curd, coconut, coriander leaves paste. Once it boils add fried prawns and cook in low flame for 5-6 minutes. Add the cashew paste & 1 tsp of garam masala. Mix well. Cook for 2 more minutes & remove from fire.
  • Garnishing:
  • Heat ghee in a pan and fry the cashews & raisins. Remove them from the pan & in the remaining ghee fry the onions till it becomes golden brown. Drain the excess ghee in a paper towel & keep it aside.
  • Layering the Biriyani:
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree 10 minutes before baking the biriyani. Apply some ghee to a baking dish. Put one layer of masala in the dish. On top of that spread some rice and make another layer. Again spread another layer of masala on top of the rice. Repeat the process until the masala and rice is finished. The top layer should be of rice. You can drizzle ghee & sprinkle coriander leaves in between the layers. Cover the dish with a wet cloth. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.Refer notes for Stove top method.
  • Garnish the baked biriyani with fried cashew, raisins, onions & coriander leaves. Serve hot with pickle, raita & pappad.


Stove Top Method:
If you dont have an oven to bake the biriyani, do the following method.
1. Layer the rice and masala in a greased heavy bottomed vessel/non stick pan & cover it with a tight lid.
2. Heat a thava/dosa kallu, when it is really hot, place the biriyani vessel on top of that. Reduce the heat to the lowest flame & cook for 20-25 mins. Keep the heat at the lowest flame throughout, otherwise it might get burnt.
3. Also place a pan of boiling water on top of the biriyani vessel at the same time.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
  • Save

78 thoughts on “Prawns / Shrimp / Chemmeen Biryani”

  1. Hi Maria, I have a doubt, the coconut used along with coriander leaves is wet or dry coconut n does it need to be finely pasted or how exactly. I guess one big spoon of coconut will be enough for 1 kg of prawns.

  2. You mentioned about coconut n coriander leaves paste. So The coconut will be wet or dry coconut n it has to be fine pasted or how exactly…

  3. Hi Maria, Tried your shrimp biriyani. Was lovely despite my shortcuts and modifications . I guess a satisfied husband is a sign of success isn’t it hehe :)

  4. Hi, I don’t understand “cover with a wet cloth” won’t the cloth get burnt? Halfway thro’ the prep and confused about whether to use a cloth or not….

    • Hi Granty,

      The wet cloth is tucked inside the vessel and it’s used to prevent the rice from becoming dry. The cloth doesnt get burnt.

      However if you are using a gas oven, I recommend you to skip the wet cloth part.


  5. Oh Maria … it super duper hit in our family… I must say the recipe is running in our family now…

  6. Oh Maria … it super duper hit in our family… I must say the recipe is running in our family now…

  7. Hi,

    Sorry I didnt understand your query completely. Do you want to increase the masala, because you are using more qty of rice or you prefer more masala in the biriyani?

  8. Another super duper hit i should say .. tried this recipe last week n we all loved it a lot.. it was so yummy .. thnx a lot for this ..

    Do u ve any good recipe for karimeen pollichathu ?? i tried many recipes .. but ddnt like anything much .. if u happen to get any good recipe, please share it ..


    • Thanks Jesna dear :)

      I havent tried a karimeen pollichathu yet. I’ve posted a prawns pollichathu recipe long time ago. Please have a look at it and see whether you use it for karimeen.


  9. Another hit.My husband passes on his compliments and says thank you too.I caught him licking his fingers with this one . ;)
    I’ll definitely have to make this again when I host a meal next. I have a feeling the gravy that goes in will suit chicken as well…cos the flavour of prawns didn’t come through as much and we didn’t miss it as the gravy turned out so yum.

  10. I love this recipe of yours. I cooked the biriyani without coconut n it ws quite delicious! The only biryani of mine that my hubby enjoys whole heartedly is prawns biriyani (he loves anything made of prawns ;) ) Will be trying ur Chilli prawns in a short while :)

      • Sorry …chilli prawns wr not a success…the prawns didn’t get fried well enough! Do you have any suggestions for the same?

        • Hi Saf,

          Sorry to hear that :( Btw, I didnt understand clearly.. what do you mean it didnt get fried enough? it didnt turn golden brown?


  11. my wife prepared this dish. It was beyond my expectations. Very tasty. Thanks for sharing such a good recipe. 

  12. The prawns should be 1/2 kg before cleaning or after. As its weight decreases after cleaning? and also the ingredients will vary according to the weight. I love you website and have tried many dishes from the same. It really came out well. Thanks alot!!!

    • Hi Suby,

      Nice to know that you like this blog. Thank you very much for trying the recipes from here :)

      You can use 1/2 kg prawns after cleaning.

      Hope you like the biriyani, happy cooking!


  13. We tried Chemmeen Biriyani yesterday. Understood one thing. It is really the masala which makes biriyani tasty. When we tried the prawns after frying, it didn’t have any taste at all. It was because the prawns were not good. That got us wondering whether this would end up as a flop. But…… finally the whole thing tasted so good. Wonder what would have been the result if the prawns too were good! 
    One more thing, I prefer to go by the book because of my inexperience in cooking. When it came to masala preparation, you haven’t mentioned about adding salt. My wife was sure that salt was to be added and I refused. We almost came to a row. But I admitted defeat as she looked quite intimidating with the “thavi” in her hand. After all kitchen is her kingdom….

    • Hi Salim,

      I do agree with you… even I like biriyanis that has masala. Nice to know that prawns biriyani came out well.

      Thanks for pointing out that salt was missing in the masala part, I’ll update the recipe. I’m glad you listened to your wife :)

      Thanks for the comment!


  14. Deepthi dear,

    Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe & Its a pleasure to know that your mom liked it :) I do hope that your father & husband also will like it when you cook it for them. Thanks a lot for leaving the comment.


  15. adipoli dear …….my mom doesnt like chiken biriyani much…so i thought of trying chemmeen biriyani this time….my mom said it wont be gud if using chemmeen…bt i said let me try… this was a huge hit….my mom liked so much…… am waiting for my hubby & father to come on leave … u made me super chef…thank u so much maria

  16.  hi mariai tried ur prawn biriyani for easter….came out so well….u ve got a real good collection of recipies….thanx a lot for sharing with us

  17. hi maria,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipe…:.) i tried this recipe,it turned out great….:)

  18. Hi Maria,

    Your blog really rocks. I just tried out your chilli paneer and only one word AWESOME. Keep up the good work. Am going to try your chicken biryani this week. and the feedback I will give it tp u next week, In case there is no feedback, then it means that I have not tried out the biryani.


    • Hi Vanessa,

      Thank you so much :) Very happy to know that you liked the chilli paneer recipe.

      I really hope you get a chance to try the chicken biriyani too. Hope you will like it.

      Happy cooking :)


  19. Hey Maria,

    I really njoy reading thru & trying out ur recipes…I do make mutton & chicken biryani often….bt this was my 1st experiment with prawns…it came out really really well…gt a lot of appreciation from my family…Thanx again for the wonderful recipes….

    • Hi Jemy,

      Nice to know that you like this space and thanks a lot dear for trying the prawns biriyani. I’m really happy to know that your family enjoyed it.

      Thanks for sharing your comment here :)


  20. I think there is a chance of putting on weight just looking at the pics of ur dishes!!!! You have a wonderful site out here :)))

  21. Hello, dint know you have a food blog too! I came here from Ria’s blog and lo and behold, a familiar smiling face! You are the third college friend to be on a cooking roll :). great work, I intend trying out your prawn biriyani.

    • Hi Sunitha

      Happy to meet you here :) I started blogging 3 years ago!!

      Hope you are doing great!!

      Hope you will like the prawn biriyani :)


  22. Hello Maria,
    Enganeyo ee site kandu…I am thrilled to the core …I was reading some of your posts…Innocent aayittanu ellam ezhithiyirikkunne and that makes it all the more interesting :).
    I love cooking but I am a lazy bum :) It is 2 Am here …so gotta hit bed now :(. I would definitely comeback for more reading :)

    Seems like a perfect way to close my day :) Thank you so much for some of the wonderful recipe’s out there. I will definitely try them and let you know the results.
    Hope to stay in touch…


    • Hi Vandana

      Thanks a lot for dropping in and saying hi :)

      Very happy to know that you like my space, thanks a lot again for your sweet words.

      Btw, am also a lazy person ;), anyways please do try out the recipes when you’ve time and let me know how it comes out.

      Hope to see you again…


  23. Ligi, thanks a lot for taking time to write your feedback and really happy to know that your hubby liked it very much :), btw thanks for sharing the snap through ammu :)

  24. hi ammus frend.i saw ur blog as she recommented.. and this was the first recipe i tried.. i must say it was hubby liked it very much..

  25. Thanks mishmash…you sure can have a portion from it :)

    Thanks reena…please do try it and let me know. would love to know your feedback.

    Happy cook – I guess its the case with the majority, starting their cooking adventures after wedding :)

    Thanks tina…parentsnu saudiyil ninnu pettannu varallo, moreover its weekend too…will give your share also to them :)

  26. OOOOOOOOOOOOHHH kothipikkanalle ingane cheyunnathu….nice presentation…ente parents saudiyil undu, so enikku varan patilla avare ayachekkam…..theerkaruthu ketto…

  27. Hi hi reading your post remind me of myself, i was same before i got married.
    I have never made buruyani with chemeen. Should try it once.
    Will have to comeback as i coudn’t see the pic of the dish.

  28. maria..very nice simple ingredients..i think i have all the stuff in my pantry..i shd try this..ohh lovely picture too :)

Comments are closed.

1.1K Share
Share via
Copy link