Shrimp Biryani is a quick and easy way to satisfy Biryani cravings. Tender and aromatic Indian spiced shrimp (Prawns) cooked with rice makes a perfect weekday dinner and a great leftover lunch for my small family.
We are huge fans of Biryani. We love chicken biryani, mutton biryani, vegetable biryani, and seafood biryani. If you love biryani but do not have the patience to cook it, then try this simple and quick recipe.
What's in this Shrimp Biryani?
I have used just a handful of ingredients for this recipe. If you love cooking Indian food, you probably own all the ingredients in your pantry to cook the biryani tonight :).
Seafood, Dairy & Produce
- Shrimp (prawns): I am using 1 pound of peeled, deveined, and tails removed, raw shrimp for this recipe. I like the texture of large shrimp for biryani but any size shrimp would work fine.
- Fried Onion: I like using store-bought non-coated fried onions bilista to cut down the prep time.
- Onion & Tomato: one small thinly sliced onion and one medium diced tomato gives a great texture and taste to the shrimp (prawn) curry base for biryani.
- Ginger & Garlic: grated fresh ginger with grated garlic gives a great aroma to any Indian biryani and curry. Ginger and garlic are must-have ingredients for South Asian recipes. Please go to your local grocery store and purchase fresh ginger and garlic, powdered ginger and garlic do not taste the same.
- Yogurt: I am using ½ cup whipped plain yogurt to marinate the shrimp.
- Cilantro/Mint: a handful of fresh chopped cilantro & mint gives a great aroma to Biryani.
Grain & Spices
- Basmati Rice: biryani is cooked with long-grain basmati rice. The beautiful and aromatic long grains of basmati rice with tender seafood or meat are great together. Aged or Sella basmati would work great for this recipe.
- Biryani Masala: using homemade or boxed biryani masala is great. Use the below measurements for boxed biryani masala:
- 1 tablespoon for mildly spicy
- 2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder for moderately spicy
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder for spicy.
- Saffron: completely optional. If you love the beautiful fragrance and color of saffron in rice for rich flavors and have the means to use it, I recommend soaking it in 2 tablespoons of hot water for shrimp masala for the biryani.
What to Serve with It?
I like serving Onion Raita, Chutney Raita, and/or cucumber salad. I am also including a quick yogurt raita recipe in this post. Jump to the yogurt raita recipe using a table of content link at the top of this post.
Storing and Reheating the Leftovers
I like to store the leftovers in a microwave-friendly glass container with a lid. Biryani can be reheated in a microwave for a minute or two with a spray of water to keep the rice moist. Biryani stays great in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tips for a Great Shrimp Biryani
- Use long grain-aged basmati rice for the best-tasting fluffy biryani.
- Drizzle crushed saffron soaked in hot water and warm ghee on the top layer before heating or baking the biryani. This gives great color, richness, and aromatic flavors to the biryani.
- Use a skillet to diffuse the direct heat to the pan. Direct heat can overcook or burn the shrimp at the bottom.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil or use a Dutch oven with a heavy lid. This will help lock the steam inside the pan to cook. Biryani is best cooked while the steam is locked in the pan.
Quick Yogurt Raita Recipe
- 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- Whip yogurt and water in a medium prep bowl until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients to the whipped yogurt and mix well.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve with Biryani.
Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani
- Marinade the shrimp with all the listed ingredients in a prep bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
- Heat oil in an Instant Pot on sauté setting on high heat. Add thinly sliced onion to the oil and cook until golden. Takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Once the onion is golden, add diced tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes soften. Takes about a minute to two. Now add marinated shrimp for a minute.
- Add fried onion, saffron, cilantro, and mint. Stir gently to combine.
- Add rinsed basmati rice and 2 cups of hot water to the Instant Pot.
- Stir everything well. Follow the Instant Pot guide to lock the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Make sure to cancel "warm-up" setting.
- Natural pressure release for 10-15 minutes.
More Biryani Recipes
More Seafood Recipes
Shrimp Biryani Recipe ( Indian Prawn and Rice)
- 1 pound shrimp , peeled, deveined, and tail removed
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon grated garlic
- 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons biryani masala , (see ingredient notes for mild to moderate spiciness)
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder , (see ingredient notes for mild to moderate spiciness)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 5-8 strings of saffron , crushed and soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 2 cups basmati rice , thoroughly washed, and soak in water for 15 minutes
- 6 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon
- 1 green chili (split lengthwise into half) , optional
- 1 Tablespoon salt
For Curry & Garnish
- 4 Tablespoons oil
- 1 small thinly sliced onion
- 1 medium diced tomato
- ¼ cup fried onions , non-coated fried onion (bilista)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- Salt to taste , (boxed spices contain salt, keep in mind)
Marinade The Shrimp
- Combine all the listed ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl to marinate the shrimp. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
Prepare Shrimp Curry
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (Dutch oven) on medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced onion to the oil and cook until golden. Takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Once the onion is golden, add diced tomatoes and sauté on high heat until tomatoes soften. Takes about a minute to two on high heat. Now add marinated shrimp and cook on high heat for a minute then turn the heat to low.
Parboil The Rice
- Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Once the water is boiling add 1 tablespoon of salt, and washed and soaked basmati rice, lemon juice, and green chili. Cook on medium-high heat until rice is about 70% cooked. It takes about 6-8 minutes. (see Biryani recipe for detailed instructions on how to parboil basmati rice)
- Transfer the rice into a colander and set it aside.
Layer Shrimp Biryani
- To Bake in the oven (Dum), layer Curry and Rice in an oven safe Pot like a Dutch oven or disposable Aluminum tray. Cover the pot and Bake the Biryani at 365 F for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle fried onions, cilantro, and mint into the shrimp curry. Stir everything gently to combine.
- Layer the parboiled rice over shrimp curry and spread it evenly to cover the curry. Drizzle the saffron water on top of the rice layer. Cover the pot with a lid. If you do not have a fitted lid, use aluminum foil to seal all the steam then top it with any lid you may have.
Cook the Biryani
- Heat a large Cast Iron Skillet or Tava on medium heat. Place the Pot on a hot Skillet to diffuse the heat. Turn the heat down to low. Steam on low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the biryani rest for 5 minutes.
- To serve, gently slide the spatula on one side of the pot and gently bring the rice and shrimp to the top. Remove the Biryani gently on a platter. Serve hot with whipped Yogurt or Raita.