Friday, June 2, 2017

Prawn Biryani

Perhaps the best way to enjoy tastes of both the seafood and the Biryani frontier is to indulge yourself in a sea food Biryani. And by seafood I mostly mean the Jumbo Prawns or the Langoustine. This time, the local fish seller had this large jumbo prawns and I could not resist but buy a good amount of them. With half of them I made the evergreen Bengali Chingri Macher Malaikari, since without that husband man will go dauntingly confused and mad as for him any other curry except the malaikari is a sheer waste of the beautiful prawns. So yeah...had to make the malaikari.

Now with the remaining prawns I decided to make Prawn Biryani. Since prawns just take a few minutes to get cooked and overcooking make them taste like rubber, I decided to make the Biryani in the kachi Biryani method. The points that needed to be stressed were the amount of yogurt and the rice. Yogurt will release water and we cannot put the Biryani on dum for more than 15-20 minutes, so considering all these facts I did not cook the rice for too long and added a little amount of yogurt, which will be enough to cook the prawns but not enough to make the rice soggy.

Prawn Biryani
Serves 4

2 cups of fine Basmati rice
½ kg king prawns / Bagda Chingri
2 medium onions – sliced and fried until golden brown
4 green chillies – finely chopped
4 garlic cloves – minced
1 inch ginger – minced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 and ½ tsp cumin powder
1 and ½ tsp coriander powder
2 tsp Biryani Masala
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp rose water
¼ tsp kewra / screwpine water
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
A handful of fresh mint leaves
4 tbsp ghee
¼ cup of thick yogurt
Juice of 1 lime  
6-8 strands of saffron
2 tbsp warm milk
1 tsp sha zeera / caraway seeds
2 medium cinnamon sticks
3 green cardamoms
3 cloves
2-3 bay leaves
8-10 green chillies – slit

Ingredients for Biryani Masala:
1 cinnamon stick
3 green cardamoms
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
8-10 black peppercorns
8-10 white peppercorns
1 star anise
1 black cardamom
1 mace
1/4 of a nutmeg 
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dry red chillies 


Prepare the Biryani Masala:
Dry roast the whole spices on low to medium flame on a skillet for a minute or until the spices start emit their aroma.
Put them inside a grinder and grind until you have a smooth powder.
Keep this masala in an airtight container and use when required.

Marinate the prawns:
In a bowl take the curd and whisk until smooth. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, 1 tsp biryani masala, lime juice, salt and 1 tbsp ghee.
Mix the masalas well with the yogurt.
Add half of the fried golden-brown onions.
Add half of the chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves.
Add the cleaned and de-veined prawns.
Rub the marinade generously over the prawns and cover the bowl with a cling film.
Leave the prawns to marinade for 30 minutes.

Prepare the rice:
Wash the rice until clear water runs through.
Then soak it in water for half an hour.
After half an hour, place a pot on the stove top with 6 cups of water.
Add 2-3 tbsp salt in it with 1 tsp sha zeera, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves and 1 bay leaf.
As soon as the water comes to a boil add the soaked rice to it and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the rice is 70% cooked.
As soon as the rice is 70% cooked, switch off the flame and drain the water. Collect the rice in a colander and keep aside.

Prepare the Biryani:
Add the saffron strands to the warm milk and stir to mix. Keep it aside until required.
Take the pot in which you will prepare Biryani.
Brush the bottom surface with ghee and layer the marinated prawns there. Each of the prawns should touch the surface and none of them should be on top of another.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of the biryani masala over it.
Layer the rice on top of the prawns.
Drizzle the ghee over the rice.
Drizzle the rose water, kewra water and the saffron infused warm milk.
Finally cover it with the remaining fried onions, rest of the coriander leaves and mint leaves and slit green chillies.
Cover the pot tightly with lid. You can seal it with a dough or you can cover it with an aluminium foil or plastic film or a cotton cloth and them put the lid on it. Place something heavy over the lid so that it sits tightly.
Switch the flame to the lowest and put a tawa over it.
When the tawa is hot place the pot of Biryani on that tawa and cook it on dum for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, switch off the flame and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Open the seal only when you are ready to serve.
Serve hot with the raita of your choice.

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