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Shrimp Biryani: Indian Shrimp and Rice

The aromas alone are worth giving this dish a try. When you take your first bite you will be sold.

The flavors are not overpowering. They are subtle with a perfect balance of spice and sweetness from the shrimp and onions.

My friend Catherine of Fish and Veggies recommended this dish and passed on some great advice: put the whole spices in a cheesecloth sachet to avoid biting down on a whole peppercorn or clove.


  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 pound Shelled and de-veined Shrimp or crab (see Harbour House Crabs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 serrano chilis (seeds removed)
  • 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
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10 – 12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash the shrimp and drain it well. Add the salt and turmeric 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, cloves, cardamom and 1 bay leaf to a sachet of cheesecloth and tie securely. Add the sachet to the oil with the cinnamon stick and 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. Add the rice 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 and remove the spice sachet and cinnamon stick. Top it with the shrimp and serve.

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