Indian Shrimp Biryani

This comforting, one-pot Indian rice dish is layered with basmati rice, spices and herbs, and juicy shrimp.

Shrimp Biryani

"My mom makes this comforting, one-pot Indian rice dish by cooking fragrant spices—like saffron, cloves and cardamom—and herbs, and layering it with long-grain basmati rice and juicy shrimp, and baking it in the oven until all the flavors come together. It's total comfort food for me and my family," says Sonal Dutt, PEOPLE's food and lifestyle director.

Shrimp Biryani

Serves 6 to 8

1½ cups white basmati rice

2½ cups water

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

9 to 10 strands saffron, crushed

3 Tbsp. whole milk

4 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced

1 (1-in.) piece fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 dried bay leaves

2 (1-in.) dried cinnamon sticks

4 whole cloves

3 green cardamom pods

10 black peppercorns

2 medium onions, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch fresh mint, chopped

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

4 green chilis, finely chopped (optional)

½ to 1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. ground garam masala

1½ tsp. kosher salt

12-15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (with tails on)

¼ cup chopped cashews, toasted

½ cup packaged crispy fried onions

2 large hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place basmati rice, water, butter and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked and fluffy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Mix together crushed saffron and milk in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Mix together grated garlic and ginger in a small bowl, using the back of a spoon to crush and mix them until it forms a paste.

4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns to hot oil; stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until spices are toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic-ginger mixture, stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn a light brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and 1½ teaspoons salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Add turmeric and garam masala, and stir to combine; cook for 1 minute. Add chopped mint, cilantro and green chiles; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, toss to combine. Cook, uncovered, until shrimp turn a light pink, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Remove and discard bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.

6. Spread about 1/3 of the cooked basmati rice evenly on the bottom of a medium baking dish. Top rice evenly with about ½ of the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle rice with 1/3 of the toasted cashews and 1/3 of the crispy fried onions. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the reserved saffron-milk mixture. Repeat with another even layer of rice, followed by the shrimp mixture, cashews, fried onions and saffron-milk. Top with a final layer of rice, the remaining cashews, fried onions and saffron-milk.

7. Arrange sliced hard cooked eggs on top of biryani in a decorative pattern. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated oven until the biryani is fragrant and flavors combine, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; serve immediately.

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