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Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

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Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)

Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice)
Sarah Shatz
Provided by:
total prep
Recipe courtesy of The Food 52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs/William Morrow Cookbooks, 2011.

A&M: This biryani has the distinction of being both delicate and full of flavor. A bowl of this fragrant rice and shrimp would be equally suited to lunch or dinner, either enjoyed alone in private bliss or served for a dinner party. We love that the same mixture of garlic, ginger, cilantro, and chiles gets incorporated into both the rice and shrimp, the two parts of the dish mirroring each other aromatically. And amreen reminded us of the beauty and ease of baked rice!


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 mint sprigs, chopped


  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Wash the rice and soak it in cold water until needed.
  • Wash the shrimp and drain it well. Add the salt and turmeric and mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Peel the ginger and garlic and use a food processor to blend it to a paste with the cilantro and chiles. You can add a little water if it’s too dry.
  • In a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, and 1 of the bay leaves. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the onion and sauté until light brown, stirring constantly.
  • Add half the ginger paste and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Add 3 cups water and salt (1 to 2 teaspoons, depending on taste) and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water along with the butter and mint. Bring to a boil, cover, and put it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • When the rice has been in the oven for about 10 minutes, heat some oil in a sauté pan and add the remainder of the ginger paste along with the remaining bay leaf. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes and add the shrimp. Sauté the shrimp until done (they should be light pink), 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from the oven. Top it with the shrimp and serve.