Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chemmeen (prawns)biriyani... A popular rice dish of Kerala

Chemmeen /Prawns biriyani is a specialty of the Malabar coastal region in Kerala. The rice is cooked with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and cooked to perfection and finally cooked with prawn masala and garnished with roasted cashews, raisins and onions. It a popular rice dish served during ramzan ,holidays and special occasions. this is traditionally cooked with meat or chicken or fish and layered rice by following a challenging baking process called Dum.

Ingredients For the main dish:

  1. 3 cups Basmati rice,washed and soaked for 45 minutes.
  2. Salt To taste
  3. 1/2 cup Ghee
  4. 1/2 cup Oil
  5. 4 Onion sliced
  6. 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  7. 2 Green cardamom
  8. 3-4 Cloves
  9. 2-3 Bay leaves
  10. 2-5 Cm Cinnamon
  11. 12 Cashew nut
  12. 2 tbsp Raisins
  13. 2tbsp chopped Coriander leaves
  14. Flat cast iron skillet/tawa
  15. 1/2 cup wheat flour dough for sealing.
For the Prawn masala:
  • 500 Gms Prawns,Cleaned,shelled and deviened
  • 2 tomatoes,chopped
  • 10-12 Garlic cloves
  • 1 inch Ginger,chopped
  • 1/4 cup Coconut,scrapped
  • 1 tbsp Coriander/daniya seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin /jeera seeds
  • 1 tbsp Saunf / Fennel seeds
  • 6-7 whole dried red chilles
For the garam masala powder:
  • 1/2 inch Cinnamon
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Green cardamom
  • 1 Mace/javethri
  • 1 Star anise
  • 10 Black pepper corns
  • 1 small piece Nutmeg/jaiphal
  • 10-12 Curry leaves
Cooking Directions
Method of making Prawn masala:
  1. Heat four tablespoons oil and fry all the masala ingredients except prawns and tomatoes till light brown. Cool and grind to a smooth paste with little water.
  2. Dry roast all the ingredients for garam masala for two to three minutes and pound into a coarse powder
  3. Add curry leaves and masala paste. Fry till oil separates. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on high heat till the moisture evaporates. Add Prawns and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes on high heat till the masala is almost dry.
Method of preparing rice and onions for the Biriyani:
  1. Heat the remaining oil and fry the onions till golden brown,just before taking add cashew nut and raisins and fry till golden brown and keep aside or you can fry cashew and raisins separately in ghee
  2. Wash,soak and drain the rice well. Boil 2 liters of water add whole gram masala ( cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves) . Add salt to taste and soaked rice and stir. Bring to boil on high heat, then reduce to medium heat. Add lemon juice Cover and cook, stirring once in a while till almost done.
  3. Drain and spread the rice on a big plate or tray .
Assembling the biryani:
  1. Place the flat iron tawa/griddle over the lowest burner of your cook top.
  2. Take a heavy bottomed handi/pan.Layer some prawn masala,precooked rice,fried onions and sprinkle some coriander leaves and gently mix it with a fork. Reapeat this process 
  3. then again add the remaining prawn masala and then top it with cooked rice and sprinkle remaining fried onions and pour ghee. Cover with a tight lid.Seal the edges with a prepared wheat flour dough. Keep on hot iron griddle for about 20 minutes . on high flame for 5 minutes,then lower the flame  and cook again for 15 to 20 minutes or till done.Let it stand for 30-1 hour before serving over the same tava.
  4.  Open when ready to serve. Serve it with yogurt-cucumber  salad or any other gravy of your choice.
  1. Tip :Traditionally Jeeraga Samba rice is used to make this biriyani. But you can also use any other biriyani rice.