Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Malabar Chemmeen Biriyani (Malabar Prawn Biriyani)

Do you know what's the best thing in preparing a Malabar Biriyani?The taste always gets better the next day and you can prepare it in bulk so you can take a break from any major cooking the next day..:)...I made this Biriyani last week and again this week, so thought I would share this fabulous recipe here with you all. The aroma of the seafood Biryani itself is very appetising, unlike the raw fish smell, that makes you run away. My favorite Biriyani would be Malabar style prawn and fish biriyani. Both are prepared almost the same way. But tastes very different. I remember my mom telling me about squid biriyani. Somebody told her that squid biriyani is the best tasting biriyani it seems. I would love to try that, but I think that's going to be very challenging. Since squid gets tough and rubbery when over-cooked, it has to be cooked gently and carefully, and don't know how they are gonna taste.
I love the prawn and fish biriyani that my mom makes, they really tastes so delicious. I always tell my dad how lucky he is to get mom as wife. He gets tasty food everyday; even the simplest of the meals tasted so yummy when it is prepared by her. When it comes to saving her recipes, it was always difficult for me to note down her recipes exactly since she uses approximate('Sumaar' as she says:)) measurements. Whenever she cooks, I will grab a pen and paper, stand by her side and start noting down the ingredients that she uses, gradually she keeps adding things in between and I won't be able to measure them out. Other day she was making my favourite Muslim paayasam called 'musara varakiyathu' or 'kaaykkari', that's made of mainly channa dal, Wheat,coconut milk and sugar. I desperately wanted that recipe, so soon I grabbed a paper and pen and stood by her side to note down the amount of ingredients she was using. Noted the amount of dal and wheat and somehow managed to get the amount of coconut milk approximately. When it came to adding sugar, she tipped the sugar directly from the large sugar tin that we had, and I am standing there with my jaw opened telling her I couldn't note down the amount of sugar....That's what happened many a time when I went to note down the recipe. So after coming back to UK, I keep trying her incomplete recipes by adding and subtracting things to get the right taste. This is my dad's favorite biriyani, and making my dad's favorite dishes always make me miss him so much that I can't express. My dad and husband loves to explore new dishes and new taste. But my mom is just opposite. She is very reluctant when it comes to new food and new taste. So we always had trouble when we go to the restaurants with her, she would hardly eat anything. She would be very happy if she is served with a bowl of steaming hot rice and a good spicy sardine curry.....Nalla choodu chorum mathi curry yum...

For making this Biriyani, you can also use shrimps or prawns of any kind. It tastes the best when served with the coconut chammanthi (at least), that I have already put in the blog.

For prawn masala:
500 gm (40-42 pieces) Peeled Jumbo King Prawns.
To marinate the prawns:
2 tsp Kashmiri Chilly powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp salt
8 tbs vegetable oil for frying prawns.
For the gravy:
2 large onions chopped(2 3/4 cups, 380 gm)
2 1/2 medium size tomatoes chopped (1 1/4 cup, 290 gm)
12 cloves of garlic, grated (3 tbs)
5 green Chillies, chopped fine
3" piece ginger, grated (60gm, 2 tbs)
1 tsp pepper powder
1 tbs lime juice
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
10 mint leaves,chopped
1 tsp salt, or as reqd
1 tsp garam masala.
For the Ghee rice:
3 cups Basmati rice
6 cups boiling water
salt-as required - (I used 3/4 Tbs salt)
3 tbs Clarified butter/ghee
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 large onion sliced
1 bay leaf
5 cardamom
7 cloves
4 small pieces of cinnamon sticks
1/2 Tbs cumin seeds
1/2 tbs lime/lemon juice
1/2 tsp extra garam masala to sprinkle while layering rice


First prepare the prawn masala:

1. Wash the prawns, drain and marinate them in kashmiri Chilli powder, Coriander powder turmeric powder and salt for half an hour.
2. Heat a large non-stick saucepan, and add the oil. When hot, shallow fry the prawns briefly, stirring then frequently for 3-4 minutes and fish them out.
3. In the same oil add the chopped onion,ginger,garlic and chillies along with salt and cook until the onions have become soft for about 15 minutes.
4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and pepper powder. Cover and cook until the tomatoes becomes soft and you get a thick gravy.
5. Add in the half fried prawns and cook on low flame for about 20 minutes so that the flavour of the prawn diffuse in the gravy and the gravy is thick.
6. At this point of time, add the chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander leaves, garam masala and lime juice. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. remove from the fire and keep them aside.

For preparing the Ghee Rice:
1.Wash rice and strain off all the excess water by placing the rice in colander.
2. Boil water in the kettle or a large cooking vessel.
3. Heat another large pan to high heat and add ghee and oil. When the ghee gets hot add onions and sauté until the onions turns soft. At this stage add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon and cumin seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes until the aroma of the spices starts coming out. Add boiling water, lemon juice and salt to this.
4. When the water starts bubbling, tip in the rice slowly and cook on high heat by keeping the lid open. At this stage, you will be able to see water an inch or two above the rice.
5. As soon as you see that water has gone below the rice, reduce the flame to low, and cook it covered until all the rice is cooked evenly. In between you may toss the bottom part of rice and bring to top once, so that the rice gets cooked evenly. Let it cool down a bit. Then do the layering.

Apart from the above method, You can also cook rice in different way. That's quite similar to the above, but a small difference....i.e.Follow the first three steps as above. Then add rice to boiling water. When bubbles start appearing on the surface again, reduce the heat to medium, cover the saucepan tightly and let it cook till done. it takes around 20 minutes, but it will depend on the rice. First time I made by the first way and second time, this second way. I think I will follow the second way from now on...that's much easier.

For layering the biryani and final cooking:
1. Divide the rice in 2 parts.
2. Take a large heavy based vessel and rub it with oil or ghee. Layer the bottom of the vessel with the first part of the rice. Sprinkle a 1/4 tsp of garam masala all over and pour prawn masala all over the rice. Tip in the second part of rice and sprinkle a good pinch of garam masala (1/4 tsp) all over again.
3. Cover the entire vessel with foil (to ensure that full steam stays in), then close the lid tightly. Place a weight (you can also use any vessel filled with water for this) over this vessels and cook on hob top for about 20-30 minutes at very low heat. This is to infuse the flavour of the biryani masala into the rice and this process of cooking is called ‘Dum’. At this point of time u can see that all rice on top has curved up.
4. You can also do the layering in an ovenproof vessel and place it in a preheated oven at a very low temperature for about 20-30 minutes for the final cooking. I never tried this, but my friends do it this way.Just before serving, garnish with fried onions, cashews and raisins. Enjoy with Cucumber Raita, tomato and onion salad, thenga chammanthi, pickle and pappadams!


Unknown said...

Yummy Shabs..i love prawns biriyani...your masala looks so tempting...

Pooja said...

Looks so delicious! Chemmeen biriyani is my favourite next to mutton biriyani. I too make in a similar way. I love the taste of Malabar biriyani :)

Yasmeen said...

Lajawaab biryani,who can resist this,yummy!

Seena said...

Ho, ella weekilum biryani! oru masam avide vannu thamasikkaan pova, kure Malabar items kazhikkalo.. :)

Rihan Farman said...

Looks yummy.. what if i use king fish instead of prawns? do i need to change something else in the recipe? b/w cooked tandoori chicken and it was delicious..thanks for that recipe.i will send you the pic of that

Parita said...

Nice click, looks very tempting!

Shabs.. said...

Aysha, thx dear.

Pooja, I think all malabar chemmen biriyani is preparaed in similar way, with slight modification.

Yasmeen, thx.

Seena, vannollu.....U r always welcome and u know that:)

Rihan, I make fish biriyani the similar way using king fish. But I use 1 kg -11/4 kg of fish and use 4 cups of rice. Masalas all are same, but u might need to increase a bit. Sometimes I add curd as well. And dont forget to wash fish in salt and lemon to get rid of the awful smell. You can do it vinegar as well and wash it off and then marinate. And ya, U can get good prawns at FARMFOODS. Go for the raw and uncooked one. They are already peeled and taste great and is very very cheap. U get 750 gms for £4.75;)...
Glad u liked the Tandoori chicken.

Pari, thx sweety.

Anonymous said...

My Gosh..How on earth did I miss this post so far ? Yum yum and you know shabs am into Malabar recipes too..rich masala..and the biriyani presentation is so elegant..!!

Bergamot said...

Looks really delicious. The pics are very tempting....

Unknown said...

Hi Shabs,
Thanks for letting me know that tried the recipe. They were too good right? Next time will try rolling in cinnamon and sugar. And chocolate sounds a great idea.
Biryani looks scrumptious. Sounds yummy.

Varsha Vipins said...

kidilolkidilam Shabna kuttiss..I was planning to make this biriyani coming weekend..coincidence alle..I make it almost similar..but njan gravy-lum lil masala cherkkum..onnu spicy aakkan..athrellu difference..appo post more of ur mom's dishes dear..all malabar specials..:)

saffronapron.blogspot.com said...

I love love biryani and I feel muslims make it the best.So when shall I drop by at your place??? :)

Sushma Mallya said...

Looks very nice and inviting.....I am sure must be tasting very nice

Shabs.. said...

smitha....anytime u r welcome dear....:)

they tasred too good sushma.thx 4 stopping by.

Faiza Ali said...

The biryani looks so yummy dear. Oh, how much I miss all these kerala food :(

Shabs.. said...

faiza, thx for stopping by...i always make kerala food, since my hubby loves em!!thx for stopping by.

Faiza Ali said...

Are you guys from Kerala? Actually My dad is from Kerala. So, we always used to go there in summer holidays from bangalore, where I lived. But now I am in UK. So, I miss the Kerala food very much.

Faiza Ali said...

Hahaha:) I know my blog doesn't have any kerala cuisines..Actually I know only few kerala recipes, which i will post inshallah.
My Mom is from Bangalore,So...I learnt many Bangalorean dishes and also my Husband is a Banglorean. So, didn't get much opportunity to learn More Kerala recipes. But, I love Kerala cuisine :)
And yeah, even I have a 2 year old Son :)

Faiza Ali said...

Sorry dear, couldn't reply last night, went to sleep that time.
My Dad is from Palakkad. Which part of Kerala are you from?
And yeah, the kids at this age always give us a good time running behind them ;) But no matter what they are our best companions in this country, where we are home alone throughout the day :)Are you working?

Shehna said...


The biryani looks so tempting & inviting. Lucky Sajid & Rishan!!!

Anonymous said...

i am fasting and looking at these pics n drooling!!! nothing beats biriyani!! its the first time i am hearing abt squid biriyani...


DhanyaJiji said...

wow! it came excellent! thanks a lot for the wonderful recipe. My hubby ate it a lot! Congratulations!!!!!

Shabs.. said...

Shehna, oh, ya, they get to eat quite good food, but sometimes they have to face extremes of my experimentation....

Fais..:)...try them out...they ar etoo good...

Dhanya, it was so sweet of u to get back to me....Im so glad u liked it.....we love it much!come again..

Asmitha said...

I'm also from Malabar..now missing my mummy's cooking a lot..should we added grated coconut to this masala?

Shabs.. said...

Hi ashmita,welcome to my humble space....u dont need to add coconut in the masala. If u r trying it let me know how u liked it.Dont forget to make the coconut chammanthi featured on this blog along with this biriyani....that completes the typical malabari biriyani and some qachambar as well....or curd..:)Hope u will like it..

Nitha said...

Looks great.. yummy too...

Jhonny walker said...

Thanks! and I did check your blog for rice recipes.Indeed the malabar biriyani has to be done. I once did a post about stories related to biriyanu making


Unknown said...

Hey Shabs.. I really liked ur chemmen biriyani and the aana pathiri... i'm gonna make them tomorrow.. me and my mom never get tired of reading ur blog, in fact, ur blog page is always open in one of the tabs on my desktop. u blog actually inspires me. thanks a lot.

Shibu jacob said...

Shabs,ur prawn biriyani was absolutely scrumptious!My wife just loved it. It tasted even better after 3-4 days. Keep up the good work!



Noor Nazar said...

I had made this biriyani a while ago with long basmati rice and it was awesome...but today i made this again with jeeraka shala rice or kunnari and it was double...no...triple awesome :) i think the masala blends so so well with jeerakashala rice... it was yummmmmmm to the core... thanks a lot for the wonderful recipe...

Manju Samuel said...

Hi Shabs, I made your Chemmeen biriyani few times now..came out very well. The whole family enjoyed it..Superb..Thank you. Manju

Deepthi Kumar said...

I made this biriyani for lunch today and it came out really well.... its delicious...thank you sooo much for this wonderful recipe...
I've also tried your fish biriyani as well as chicken biriyani.. but shrimp biriyani is the best.....!!!

Deepa A said...

i made this biriyani today , it was awesome my husband could not stop praising me !!!!
awesome , i added a 2 tsp of biriyani masala in the gravy though - turned out very spicy but finger licking delicious ... thank you very much

Riyaz said...

Hi Shabs, I have used your chemeen briyani masala to make Chameen Thari (Rava) chor (rice) and it has turned out to be superhit.. Thanks for your recipe.. Next time I shall share some pics

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