PRAWNS BIRYANI (kerala style)

Prawns Biryani (kerala style) is simple, easy, scrumptious and a seafood lover’s delight. Fresh, succulent and juicy prawns is cooked in aromatic spices, layered with fragrant rice garnished with caramelized onions and slow cooked in dum. The aromas and effervescent flavours of kerala style prawns biryani can leave anybody drooling.

Today, am posting one of my favourite biryanis. The consistency of the biryani is light, moist and finger-licking. The aromatic spices are added to the biryani to enhance flavour and are not eaten. For the dum-pukht, I have used a moist kitchen towel taking care that the edges are safe from the heat; sealing the vessel and keeping the lid closed tightly to trap all the beautiful aromas. The recipe looks lengthy but only requires a little prep-work and planning. There is plenty of leeway to improvise with the blend of spice powders as per preference. I have used fresh mint leaves from our garden which gave a lovely sweet flavour to it. In Kerala, kaima or jeerakasala rice which is a fragrant short grain rice is used to prepare biryani. However, age-old good quality basmati rice can also be used.

Here, the rice is stir-fried along with spices, onion and cooked till the water is absorbed; it should be separated from each other and should not be over-cooked. Do not forget to add salt after adding water. The fresh prawns is marinated, lightly fried and then added to the masala. In this biryani, the rice and prawns are cooked separately and then layered. I have not prepared in an exotic way by adding rose water, cashewnuts or raisins like my easy chicken biryani. Enjoy this delicious home-made biryani with zingy pomegranate raita or refreshing cucumber, dill and raisin raita.

Simple, tasty and finger-licking prawns biryani (kerala style) with aromatic spices and effervescent flavours for any family celebration.

prep time : 1 hr, cooking time : 1hr, cuisine : kerala, serves : 4, author : gloria


500 gms fresh prawns (shelled, de-viened & cleaned)
2 onions sliced finely for frying
salt to taste
ghee and oil as per required

To garnish:
few chopped mint leaves
few fried onions
2 saffron strands (soaked in 4 tbsp lukewarm milk)**

for the biryani masala:
1 dried bay leaf
3 nos. cloves
4 nos. green cardamom
1 cassia cinnamon stick (dalchini)
1 mace
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp shahjeera
1/2 tsp fennel seeds

for the prawns masala:

3 medium sized onions (sliced or chopped finely)
1″ ginger (minced)
3-4 large garlic (minced)
7-8 bird’s eye green chillies (chopped)
3 tomatoes (chopped and crushed)
2 tsp of the above prepared biryani masala powder
1/2 cup prawn stock or plain water

Spice powders* :
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder + 2 pinch
2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp pepper powder

for the rice

2 cups basmati or kaima or jeerakasala rice
4 cups water
2 rounded tbsp ghee
spices : 1 bay leaf, 3 green cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 1 star anise
1 onion
1/2 tsp lemon juice


for biryani masala :

Dry roast the above ingredients mentioned under ‘for biryani masala’ in a small pan on a low heat until fragrant; cool and grind into powder. Cover with a lid so that the aromas stay intact. Reserve.

for preparing the barista (fried onions) :

Slice onions finely. Take a wok, add oil and when the oil heats up, tip onions and fry till golden brown in colour and crispy, taking care not to burn the onions. Drain it on a sieve, remove and spread it on a paper towel. Reserve.

for the prawns masala gravy :

Marinate prawns with salt, 2 pinch turmeric power, 1/4 tsp chilli powder and 1/4 tsp pepper powder. Keep aside for 10 mins.

Into a pre-heated oil, add the marinated prawns and shallow fry on both sides lightly. Remove the fried prawns into a bowl or plate.

Add more oil if required and tip in green chillies, ginger, garlic, onions and salt. Saute till onions turns brown in colour.

Put the spice powders* and saute till aromatic on low heat continuously for a minute or so, till raw smell leaves, without burning the masala. Add the tomatoes; increase heat to medium and saute again till it becomes mushy and soft; oil emanating at the top which will take at least 10-12 mins.

Now, add the prawns stock or plain water and allow it to cook till it is slightly thickened and reduced.

Tip in the shallow fried prawns; Stir to combine.

Finally, add 2tsp biryani masala and give a good mix to incorporate everything together. Switch off heat after 2 minutes.

for the rice preparation :

Wash rice well with water till it runs clear. Soak it for 30 minutes. Keep aside.

Add ghee in a heavy bottom pot or vessel with a lid. Now, add the spices and stir for few seconds until fragrant.

Into this, add the onion and salt; saute till it turns light brown in colour, stirring occasionally. Meantime, using a strainer or sieve, drain the rice completely.

Once the onion turn brown, add the drained rice and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes continuously, with the help of a spatula, so that the ghee is well coated, taking care not to break the rice.

Add water, lemon juice and salt; bring it to a boil. Reduce heat; cover it with a lid allowing it to cook slowly undisturbed over low heat for about 10 minutes or until you notice that the entire liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice. Switch off heat and let it sit for few minutes (the rice here is 90% cooked).

Once opened, gently spoon the rice to a wide platter. Using the prongs of the fork, carefully separate the rice to give a light and fluffy texture. The grains should not be sticky. Cool.

for the final layering/dumpukt (stove-top method) :

Take a thick deep bottom pot/handi spread the prawns masala evenly.

Add half of the rice over the prawns masala and spread gently.

Add ghee over the top.

Sprinkle caramelized onions, little chopped mint leaves, a teaspoon of saffron solution** and 1/4 tsp of biryani masala. Repeat same process with the remaining rice.

Cover with a moist kitchen towel (water completely squeezed out) and close the lid tightly.

Now, place the vessel over a flat pan/tawa, keeping the heat on low, cook slowly for 25-30 minutes or till done.

Switch off heat. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before uncovering.

Serve this delicious kerala style prawns biryani with poppadums, pickle and raita. Enjoy!

my observations/notes :
– use fresh ingredients
– never over-cook rice; keep a vigil eye
– don’t shy away from using fried onions
– can use shallots instead of onions for preparing the prawns masala
– 1 cup measurement = 250 ml

Recipe : Mangalorean style – HOT & SOUR FISH CURRY (Amshi Tikshi)

Mangalorean cuisine is diverse and hugely influenced by South Indian cuisine. One of the classic, traditional, delicious and popular dish is ‘Amshi Tikshi’ which means ‘Hot & Sour’ fish curry. It is spicy, unique with distinct flavours. Fresh coconut, curry leaves and coconut oil is liberally used. Mangalorean Fish Curry is an eternal favourite to many fish lovers. I cannot express how much we enjoyed eating this curry with rice – Truly divine!

Here in this recipe, the spices are dry roasted and grounded to a fine smooth paste along with water. I prepared the spice paste by grinding the spices on a thick, granite slab with a heavy rolling pin (not necessary – I love to do it this way for my fish curries; sometimes, non-veg too). The fish is then cooked in the paste along with onion, green chilli and garlic and it absorbs all the aromatic flavours of the curry turning into an incredible dish to devour. I did not add coconut in this curry. Traditionally, it is made with mackerel or sardines, even shark tastes very good; but I have opted for white fish . I also minimized the spices so that my little boy (a fish lover) could enjoy and yes, he really did. Back home, I would finish my fish curries with fresh curry leaves smeared in coconut oil – How I miss that part here?

Delicious fish curry with the sourness of tamarind, heat from the chillies, and warmth of aromatic spices; an extreme delight to have it with hot steamed boiled rice.

prep time : 15 mins, cooking time : 15 mins, cuisine : mangalore, serves : 8, author : gloria


1 kg white fish (cut, cleaned & drained) (read notes)

1 onion and the other half which was used for masala (finely chopped)

2 green chillies (slit lengthwise)

1 tomato (finely chopped)

few curry leaves

salt to taste

oil (preferably coconut oil)

To grind together:

15-20 byadgi chillies or kashmiri red chillies

5 dry bird’s eye chillies

1 1/2-2 tbsp coriander seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds

lemon sized tamarind

half of 1 onion

2-3 big garlic cloves

1/4 inch ginger

Mise en place

1. Clean fish nicely with coarse salt. Cut it into medium sized pieces, drain and keep aside.

2. Dry roast mustard, cumin, fenugreek and coriander seeds along with chillies for few seconds and grind them in the same order mentioned in “to grind together” section with 1/4 cup of water into a fine smooth paste.*


Take a clay-pot or a heavy bottom pan and into a preheated oil, add curry leaves, green chillies and onion. Saute till the onions turn golden brown in colour. Add tomatoes and continue to saute till it becomes soft and mushy.

Now, add the grounded spice paste* and on medium-high heat saute till the raw smell goes and oil floats on the top for 6-7 minutes. It should be little runny; can add little more water at this stage.

Once it comes to boil, add salt and gently add the fish. Cook covered and allow it to simmer for 10 mins. Swirl the pot occasionally.

Once cooked, top it with fresh curry leaves smeared with little coconut oil. Switch off heat. Give resting period of 1 hour; let the fish absorb all the beautiful flavours.

Now, take a spoon and pour the curry on top of the hot steamed boiled rice and eat slowly with joy; Voila!!!!

My observations/notes :

– fish like mackerel or sardines can be used. i used white fish

– can use 1/2 cup coconut if desired and grind it along with the other spices. do not dry roast coconut

– can increase or decrease the chillies as per preference

– 1/8 teaspoon means a pinch

– if you want to add peppercorns in this curry, go ahead and add 1/2 tsp

i used dried curry leaves

Recipe – CHEMMEEN MAPPAS (prawns cooked in coconut milk gravy)

Chemmeen Mappas is the traditional dish of Kerala cuisine. It’s simple, easy and delicious. Using fresh ingredients gives a unique taste to the curry. My mum cooks it often and she prepares in many different ways. The base curry can be made with chicken and beef too.

Here, the prawns is cooked with thin extract of coconut milk and is lightly spiced; to finish up and to give a creamy texture to this subtle curry, thick coconut milk is added. Try to buy fresh prawns and do not over cook prawns as they turn rubbery and tough. Brindleberry can be replaced with tomatoes. For the heat, I have put green chillies; can be reduced as per spice tolerance and chilly powder can be added. Enjoy it with rice or appams.

Fresh prawns cooked in lightly spiced coconut milk and flavoured with brindleberry in all goodness to suit your taste-buds.

Prep time : 15 mins, Cooking time : 10 mins, Cuisine : Kerala, Serves : 4, Author : Gloria


500 gms fresh prawns

1 large sized onion (sliced)

1“ ginger (sliced/crushed)

3-4 big garlic cloves (sliced/crushed)

8 nos green chillies (slit lengthwise)

2-3 pieces of brindleberry/kudumpuli (soaked in little warm water for 10 mins)

1½ cup – 1st extract of coconut milk (thick)

½ cup – 2nd extract of coconut milk (diluted in water)

salt to taste

coconut oil

spice powders:

1 tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp black pepper powder

¼ tsp fennel powder

2 tbsp coriander powder

For tempering :

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

few curry leaves

6 nos fenugreek seeds

1-2 whole red chillies

1 dsp finely sliced onions/shallots


Gently peel shells and head of the prawns; keep the tail intact and de-vain them. Wash nicely.

Take a clay-pot or a deep bottom pan and heat oil. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic and onion. Sauté till onion turn light golden brown.

Into this, add the spice powders and sauté again constantly for few minutes on low heat till they are cooked, releasing good aroma.

Add thin extract of the coconut milk (2nd extract). Once it comes to a gentle boil, add brindleberry (kudumpuli) and salt.

Now, add the prawns and cook covered on low heat for 4-5 mins. Swirl the pot occasionally. As the gravy thickens at this stage, add the 1st extract of coconut milk (thick) and swirl again. Switch off heat.

Finally, do the tempering mentioned in ‘for tempering’ section in the same order. Add it to the curry. Close the lid and allow it to rest for sometime.

Serve it with appams or rice.



Fresh fish is abundant in Goa; hence goan cuisine uses lots of seafood which are delicious, simple and easy, packed with depth of flavours.

I love Goan fish/prawns curries and always enjoy it with extra serving of hot steamed rice. The first time I had Goan prawns curry was when I visited my mother’s house during holidays and the taste still lingers by.

Today, am sharing this curry from the beautiful coast of Goa. Here, I used two souring agents which gives acidity to the dish i.e., tamarind and kokum; used fish stock instead of plain water and a combination of two chillies one to give heat and other to add colour.

Goan Prawns Masala is a classic traditional dish made in many house-holds across Goa. Using fresh ingredients will lift this curry and make it more flavourful. This simple, tasty, easy to prepare dish is a comfort meal for all fish lovers and will definitely crave for more. Serve over hot cooked rice – heavenly!!!!

Fresh and juicy slow-cooked prawns in a delicate blend of coconut milk along with host of spices and grated coconut with a mild tanginess from the kokum.

Prep time:15 minutes, Cooking time: 15 mins, Cuisine: Goan, Serves : 6, Author : Gloria


300 gms prawns (peeled, de-veined, cleaned)

1 small onion chopped/sliced finely

2 green chillies

3 kokum pieces

¾ c water or fish stock

½ c coconut milk

few curry leaves

salt to taste


To grind together:

½ c grated coconut

¼ tsp cumin seeds

6-7 byadgi chillies or kashmiri red chillies

3 dry bird’s eye chillies

2 tbsp coriander seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ inch ginger

3 garlic cloves

half inch tamarind

To prep:

  • Grate 1 fresh coconut; use half to grind along with the spices and the other half to extract coconut milk.

  • Apply sea salt and pinch of turmeric to the prawns; keep aside

  • Pre-heat a pan and dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, whole red chillies and grated coconut separately over low-medium heat for a 1-2 mins without burning any ingredients, tossing / stirring with a spoon while they roast. Before switching off the heat, add turmeric powder. Blend along with ginger, garlic, tamarind. Make a smooth paste adding water. Reserve.*


Take a large skillet or an earthern pot, tip some oil and when it heats up add curry leaves, green chillies and onion. Sauté till the onion turn golden brown in colour for 4 mins.

Now, add the finely grounded paste* and continue to saute for some time on low heat till oil emanates on top. At this point, add water/fish stock and bring it to boil on medium heat.

Add kokum; when the gravey thickens a little, add prawns. Simmer and cook for 5 mins or till done.

Do a taste-test and if required, add salt.

Finally, pour the coconut milk. Give a gentle stir and switch off heat.

Serve with hot steamed rice of your choice – Enjoy!!!!

My observations/notes:

  • can replace prawns with any firm-fleshed fish like kingfish, hallibut, pomfret or tuna

  • use fresh ingredients ie, prawns, coconut and spices

  • can increase chillies as per tolerance

  • can also increase the amount of prawns

  • the curry consistency is neither thick nor thin so add water accordingly

  • since fresh curry leaves is rarely available in Europe, I have skipped it


Recipe – Fish Stew/Fish Moilee/Meen Moiley

Recipe – FISH MOILEE (Fort Kochi style) (Meen Moilee/Fish Stew)

I do different variations of Fish Moilee and it tastes good all the time; today, am sharing a simple, delicious, easy and quick-to-make recipe prepared in Fort Kochi (Kerala) style

Fish Moilee (Meen Moilee) is a traditional Kerala cuisine. It is hugely popular and loved by many across Kerala. The word ‘moilee’ means stew. Here, the fish is delicately cooked in coconut milk, minimal spices and lemon juice. To get an authentic taste, use fresh firm white fish, fresh coconut milk and good quality black pepper gives this curry a unique taste and texture. If you are a lover of mild subtle flavours, definitely, you will enjoy this dish. It’s my favourite and I always have an extra serving of rice with it.

In this method, frying the fish is optional. Most of the time I make it without frying; it is done to retain the shape of the fish and make it tasty to your palate. If using small pomfret, it can be made whole without frying. Fish Moilee can also be made with prawns too. Do not cook the fish for too long and the tomato should be al dente when preparing this dish.

I have used an earthernware pot (mann-chatti). Making of fresh coconut milk is mentioned in my Alleppey Fish Curry post. Fish Moilee tastes best when prepared on the same day. Serve it with hot steamed rice. Goes well with appams too. A heavenly feast:)

Fresh fish simmered delicately in creamy coconut milk, touch of turmeric, zesty lemon and an additional kick of freshly ground black pepper.

Prep time : 20 mins, Cooking time : 20 mins, Cuisine : Kerala, Serves : 4, Author : Gloria


12 fillets of king fish or pomfret or any firm white fish

1 medium sized onion finely sliced

4 big garlic flakes or 6 small garlic finely sliced

1” ginger julienned

4-5 green chillies (seeded/de-seeded and slit lengthwise)

few curry leaves

1 medium sized tomato sliced/quartered

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup thick coconut milk (first extract)

½ cup thin coconut milk (second extract)

1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

oil (preferably coconut oil)


Clean fish nicely with salt and vinegar. Cut it into medium sized pieces. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Marinate the cleaned fish with salt, pepper powder and little turmeric powder. Lightly fry the fish for two minutes, flipping it once on both sides. Reserve. This process is optional.

Heat oil in a pan and tip in mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic and onion. Saute until it turns soft and transparent.

Add turmeric powder, salt; stir to mix and add second extract of coconut milk. Hand-squeeze lemon juice and slowly bring it to boil on low-medium heat.

Once oil emanates on top, add the fish. Cover and cook swirling in between. Reduce heat and add tomato, crushed pepper and simmer for a minute or two.

Now, add first extract of thick coconut milk. Do a taste-test and adjust seasonings, if needed. Switch off heat. Allow it to rest for sometime. Serve it with hot steamed rice or appams.