prawns pothi biryani

Prawns pothi biryani

Are you guys in for yet another biryani recipe? Who will not be, right?! So, this time it is prawns pothi biryani, a traditional Kerala delicacy which is very flavorful and tasty because of its unique method of preparation. So, let’s dig in!

It’s been a while since I posted any prawn recipe. I remember the first and the last one being prawns pickle. Not to forget, the pickle was also a Kerala style recipe. So, this biryani was prepared along with the pickle to be served together. I know it has taken a lot of time for me to post the recipe. But, hey, it is also not too late for biryani, right?

Also, known as kizhi biryani, this prawns pothi biryani has a very unique style of preparation. So, why the name pothi / kizhi? Basically, it is actually a biryani parcel. You would have to unwrap it to eat the biryani. But between making the parcel and unwrapping it, there is quite an interesting process involved.

So, first we cook the meat and the rice for biryani separately. The rice is flavored with a few spices along with coriander leaves and mint leaves. We use jeeraga samba / jeerakasala / jeera rice to make this biryani. This is because, jeera rice gives the authentic South Indian taste to the prawns pothi biryani.

You are free to use even basmati rice. But traditionally, jeera rice is only used in Kerala. So, I would suggest you to use it to bring out the best taste in the biryani. I have used garam masala powder to make the rice for biryani. You can sue whole garam masala or simply prepare ghee rice without anything else. Ghee rice tastes really good but, using garam masala will give a biryani taste to the plain rice too.

About the meat, as I told earlier, we cook it separately. You can use any meat – chicken, mutton, prawn or even beef. The only thing that changes is the time required to marinate the meat and also the time required to cook it.

In case of any meat except prawn, it is better if you marinate the meat for a longer time so that the meat is tender and juicy. In case of prawns, the time required to marinate is comparatively low. It is enough if you marinate for even half an hour, which is just sometime before you start cooking.

The main ingredient which enhances the flavor of the biryani is banana leaves. Make sure you choose green leaves and not the ripe pone. The flavor of steamed banana leaves will take this prawns pothi biryani up a notch.

prawns pothi biryani

Slow cooking is always the key for a flavorful and tasty biryani. So, make sure you cook each ingredient well before adding the next one. Apart from all these, coconut oil is the next ingredient that adds so much of depth and flavor to the biryani. Frying the prawns in coconut oil will tempt you so much that you would want to taste one right from the pan. Lol! I ain’t kidding people!

Never skip coconut oil. But, if you are very hesitant in using it, then replace it with your normal cooking oil. But, make sure you use coconut oil to marinate at the least. And, another thing is that, instead of ginger garlic paste, I have used crushed ginger garlic and green chili. Oh my good God! This is actually perfect. The taste that crushed ginger, garlic and green chili lends to the masala or the rice is out of the world.

Once I used ginger, garlic and green chili like this, I have now switched to using it in this form instead of the paste because of the taste that it gives. You would definitely switch like me, if you try it once. Also, while using crushed gionger, garlic and green chili, I would highly suggest you to fry it first in the oil instead of onions or anything else. The smell alone is enough for you to love it.

This prawns pothi biryani tastes awesome with some cool onion, cucumber or plain raita. However, I guess biryani in Kerala is usually served with pickle by the side. I have served it with some Kerala style prawns pickle and with some leftover prawns masala from the biryani.

So, unwrap the parcel and dig right into this prawns pothi biryani for a weekend brunch or lunch at any day of the week. Celebrate every day you get to spend with your family or loved ones. Stay safe; stay healthy! Happy cooking and eating!

While you are here, do checkout my chicken biryani, mutton biryani and egg biryani recipes to prepare for a weekend brunch! Try out my other Kerala style recipes too! Also do checkout the Kerala prawn pickle for an awesome side dish!

Has meal planning been a little bit difficult during this lockdown? Look through my No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown Series for ideas on what to cook during this lockdown.

If you have tried any of my recipes, then tag @the_busy_apron and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #thebusyapron. Also tag @TheBusyApron and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #thebusyapron

prawns pothi biryani

Prawns pothi biryani

Abhipriya Raghav
A flavorful biryani recipe with a unique method of preparation involving steaming in banana leaves.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients
  

To marinate the prawns

  • 300 grams prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • salt, as required

For the barista

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup oil

To prepare the rice

  • 1 cup jeeraga samba/ jeerakasala/ jeera rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • handful of chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp crushed ginger-garlic-green chili
  • salt, as required

To prepare the prawns masala

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • tbsp crushed ginger-garlic-green chili
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 medium tomato, pureed
  • handful of fried onions
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt, as required

To layer the biryani (for one parcel)

  • 1-2 banana leaves
  • few fried cashews, optional
  • few fried raisins, optional
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves

Instructions
 

Marinate the prawns

  • In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients (except the prawns), listed under 'To marinate the prawns' Mix well to form a paste.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add the cleaned prawns to the bowl and mix well with the paste. Marinate the prawns for 2 hours or atleast 30 minutes.
    prawns pothi biryani

Preparing the barista

  • To a pan on medium heat, add the oil. Add the sliced onions when the oil is hot and fry the onions until golden brown on low heat.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Transfer the fried onions onto a plate and set aside.
    prawns pothi biryani

Preparing the rice

  • Wash and soak the jeera rice for 30 minutes.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pan, add the ghee and oil and let it heat on medium.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add garam masala, coriander leaves and mint leaves to the hot oil and fry briefly.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add the crushed ginger-garlic-green chili and fry in the oil until it cooks.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Drain the rice and add it to the pressure cooker. Mix well with the masala.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add 2 cups water, mix well and add salt appropriately. Close the lid and let it cook for 4 whistles or until done, on medium heat. Once the pressure has settled, open the lid and fluff the rice.
    prawns pothi biryani

Preparing the prawns masala

  • To a kadai on medium heat, add the leftover oil from making barista. Add the marinated prawns into the oil and fry until golden on both sides.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Transfer the fried prawns onto a plate and set aside.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • To the same kadai, add ghee along with the crushed ginger-garlic-green chili. Fry until the raw smell disappears.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add sliced onions and cook until onions are transparent.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add the crushed or pureed tomato and mix well.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add fried onions and chopped coriander leaves along with the required salt and let it cook until oil separates.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Add all the spice powders to the masala, mix well and cook for less than a minutes.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Mix the fried prawns along with the onion tomato masala.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Let it cook for a minute. Switch off the heat and set aside.
    prawns pothi biryani

Layering the biryani

  • To a tadka pan on medium heat, add some ghee. Fry the cashews until golden on all sides and fry the raisins briefly in hot oil.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Wash the banana leaves and place it directly on heat or on a tava to wilt it. Gently move the leaf up and down (on both sides) to make sure the entire leaf is soft and pliable
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Place one or two of the wilted banana leaves on a flat surface. Spread half of the required rice (for one parcel) and spread some prawns masala too on the rice.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Top it with another layer of rice and garnish it with coriander leaves, fried onions, cashews and raisins.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Fold the banana leaf from all sides to make a parcel and secure it with a string. Place the parcel on a steamer or an idli pan and steam for 10 minutes. Let it rest for another 10 minutes before opening.
    prawns pothi biryani
  • Serve hot with any raita of your choice or with any pickle too.
    prawns pothi biryani

Notes

  • Marinate the prawns atleast for an hour.
  • Instead of ghee and oil, you can also use coconut oil.
  • You can also use basmati rice instead of jeera rice. Although, the flavor is the most in jeera rice.
  • I used rice to water ratio as 1:2. 
  • Do not cook the prawns for a longer time as they become hard.
  • Let the prawns masala be thick to make sure that it does not run outside the parcel.
  • Using raisins and cashews are completely optional.
  • While wilting the leaf, make sure you do not tear it. Gently flip and move the leaf up and down too.
  • Steam the parcel for 10 minutes and let it rest for sometime before opening it.
Keyword biryani, kerala biryani, kerala food, pothi biryani, prawn, prawn biryani, prawn masala

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating