Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shrimp Biryani

This is my first post in 2012 – it’s been a busy year so far!

While I continue to cook fairly regularly, my blogging has lagged as I’ve not been able to find the time to draft detailed and history-rich entries. I’ve decided that – in the interest of posting more often – I may limit the preludes to my recipes.

This is the second biryani I’ve featured on this blog. A chicken version, featured in a post which describes the history of biryani, is available here. While biryani is most commonly made with lamb, beef, and goat, this shrimp version provides an alternative for pescetarians. You can read more about shrimp in my post for Lime Shrimp Curry.

2 lbs shrimp
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups Basmati rice
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 medium onion, diced (optional)
3 pieces cinnamon bark
5 cardamom pods
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons oil
4 cardamom pods
3 pieces cinnamon bark
1 1/4 cup fried onions, ground in a mortar and pestle
3 tomatoes, grated (skins discarded)
3 green serrano peppers (optional - they are hot)
3/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup water (as desired)
cilantro (optional)

1. Marinate shrimp in lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Wash rice and soak for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil on medium low, and sauté onion. Once translucent, sauté cinnamon bark and cardamom pods until bubbling. Add water (be careful as this will splatter). Then add salt and increase temperature to medium high.
4. When the water boils, add turmeric and then soaked rice. When the water boils again, cover (leaving room for steam to escape) and turn to low heat (not simmer).
5. After about 10 minutes when the majority of the water has evaporated, shake the pot and lower heat to simmer. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Alternately, place pot in an oven at 225 F to dry slowly which will produce fluffy rice.

6. In a large pot, heat oil. Once warm add cardamom pods and cinnamon bark.
7. Then add fried onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
8. Then add next nine ingredients and sauté for 5 minutes until you have a thick gravy. Add water as desired.
9. Add shrimp and stir until warm.
10. Serve on a large platter with rice as the base. Then spoon shrimp biryani on top. Garnish with cilantro.

Note: Do not eat the cooked cardamom pods and cinnamon bark. They add aroma and taste but should not be consumed.