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Jun 19, 2020

Shrimp Biryani

This Shrimp Biryani is a tasty aromatic one dish meal of shrimp and basmati rice, flavored with spices, garlic, lemon, and cilantro. It's so delicious!

Shrimp Biryani

This biryani is an easy dish to make. The shrimp cooks quickly, and the juices from the shrimp and its spices permeate and flavor the basmati rice.

Plus, look at the gorgeous yellow color from just 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric!

Biryani with shrimp

What is biryani? 

Biryani is an Indian rice dish with roots in the Muslim region of the Indian subcontinent. Typically it includes long grain rice, such as basmati, a gravy, and fish, meat, poultry, or vegetables.

The theory is its origins are Persian. In India, the style of biryani varies by region.

I'm really excited to have been introduced to biryani by Sheha's Recipe, who is our Fish Friday Foodie's host this month. Sneha is from Mumbai, and is, no doubt, a biryani expert.

This shrimp biryani doesn't really have the "gravy" layer that biryani is supposed to have, but I'm counting the accumulated juices from the cooked shrimp, so there's that.

Biryani with shrimp and cilantro

How to make shrimp biryani:

First, wash the rice and then soak it in water for 30 minutes. In the meantime, marinade the shrimp in the garlic and spices.

Next, cook the shrimp in a saucepan until it is just about cooked through, and set it aside.

After that, add the broth and cardamom pods to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the rice, some of the salt, and then cover the pan and reduce the heat to very low. Cook the rice for about 25 minutes.

Finally, turn off the heat and add the cooked shrimp and all of the accumulated juices.

I'm in love with how gorgeous the shrimp is after it has been sautéed in the spices.

shrimp cooked in saffron

For the pan, I used a high sided 12-inch sauté pan. You don't need a Dutch oven to make this dish. You just need a pan that has a lid and enough room to accommodate the rice.

The goal is to keep the number of pans to a minimum and the rice to cook on a broader surface than in a saucepan.

Biryani with shrimp in pan

This shrimp biryani is totally delicious the day it is made. If you are serving this dish for company, serve it immediately after preparing it.

Leftovers are pretty good too. I recommend taking leftovers to work for lunch. Your colleagues will be jealous.

The joy of this dish is that the rice grains cook perfectly, yet still stay separate from each other. The rice is not mushy, and the shrimp is so succulent. It's pretty much a revelation.

Biryani with shrimp ingredients

I loved that I had all of the ingredients on hand, including the extra large lemon from our lemon tree. The only thing that was in short supply was basmati rice, but I was able to find one canister of Texas grown basmati, which worked out just fine.

By the way, in searching for the ingredients in my pantry, I ended up getting totally distracted and completely alphabetizing my spices in my spice drawer.

Hopefully, that energy will be transferred to the rest of the house.

Biryani with shrimp, saffron, and spices

If you are intrigued by biryani, check out the rest of the Fish Friday Foodies' biryani dishes made with seafood:

Shrimp Biryani

Shrimp Biryani
Yield: 4 servings
This Shrimp Biryani is a tasty aromatic one dish meal of shrimp and basmati rice, flavored with spices, garlic, lemon, and cilantro. It's so delicious!


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 2/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cardamom pods


  1. Rinse the rice in several changes of water. 
  2. Transfer the rice to a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 30 minutes, and then drain. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, 1/3 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir and let sit for 3 minutes. 
  4. Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. 
  5. Add all of the shrimp and cook it, stirring regularly for 2 to 3 minutes, until almost opaque. Turn off the heat and transfer the shrimp to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Stir the lemon juice and cilantro into the shrimp. 
  6. Add the chicken stock and cardamom pods to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the broth to a boil and stir in the rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 25 minutes. 
  7. Turn off the heat and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the rice. Cover and let rest for a minute or two. 
  8. Stir, season with salt and pepper, and serve. 
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rice, biryani, shrimp
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This recipe was adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, published in 2010 (affiliate link).

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Love the color of your biryani Karen, looks amazing!

    1. Thank you! Thanks for the introduction to biryani!

  2. Loving that color you got. This dish is so very delicious.

  3. That is such a gorgeous color on your dish - it looks so tempting!

    1. Thanks Rebekah. A little turmeric adds so much.

  4. Great minds, indeed! I don't know how they felt at your house but mine said to please make it again! I don't often get such unbridled enthusiasm.


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