tellicherry biryani

Tellicherry Prawn Biryani

tellicherry prawn biryani recipe

Have you watched Salt Fat Acid Heat yet? I loved the book and couldn’t wait for the Netflix show. Now that I have watched the show, I’m listening to the audiobook because is it really love unless you’ve OD’ed on it until you’re sick of it and can’t bear to hear anyone mention the name ever again?

Until that happens, I like listening to Samin’s calm, soothing voice explaining the merits of non-iodised salt versus iodised, while I’m working, or in the kitchen making coffee. I find audiobooks and podcasts especially fun to listen to while cooking because it forces me to be present, and is a lot like having a friend in the kitchen, but a friend who doesn’t silently judge when you don’t wash your coriander before chopping it.

Anyway, all this is just to say that I have a biryani recipe for you. It is a biryani recipe That Works Very Nicely. It is not the definitive Tellicherry Biryani recipe, because in my ripe old age, I have come to the realisation that there really is no such thing as a definitive recipe. But here’s how my mother makes it. And it makes her family very happy. And we’re sharing it with you hoping we can pass some of that happiness along <3

PS: If you do make it, you’d make us terribly happy by using the hashtag #malabartearoom on Instagram so that we can see your biryani masterpieces.

tellicherry prawn biryani recipe
easy tellicherry biryani recipe

Tellicherry Prawn Biryani Recipe

(serves 4)


For the prawn marinade:
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
Salt to taste

For the biryani masala
1/2 kg shrimp
2 large onions, finely sliced
10 green chilies, crushed to a paste
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tomato, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander powder
1/3 cup coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp ghee
Juice of 1 lime

For the rice
3 cups jeera shaala rice, washed well and drained
1 small onion, sliced finely
6 cups boiling water
3 levelled tbsp ghee

To assemble:
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp saffron ground in 1 tbsp hot water


Marinate the shrimp for at least half an hour, fry lightly (about 2 minutes on either side) on a medium-high flame and set aside.

To make the biryani masala
Heat 2 tbsp ghee on medium flame and fry the onions till very soft and almost brown.

Add the green chilli paste and ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell disappears.

Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder and tomatoes. Add salt as required and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Now, add the shrimp, stir well and close the vessel for 5-7 minutes.

Next, squeeze in the lime juice, add the coriander leaves, and adjust seasoning as required.

Remove from heat when it reaches a thickish consistency and coats the back of your spoon.

To make the rice
To prepare the rice, heat the ghee in a medium sized pot and fry the onions till soft and translucent.

Add rice and mix well until it is coated with the ghee.

Add the boiling water and salt to taste.

Cover and cook until the water reaches the same level as the rice.

Now reduce the heat, cover the pot and cook for 13-14 minutes, stirring gently once in between.

To assemble
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

In an oven-proof dish, layer the dish alternately with the shrimp masala and the rice, with the masala forming the bottom layer. Three layers is ideal.

In between each layer, sprinkle garam masala and saffron.

Cover with foil and keep in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Serve hot.