Fail-Proof Shrimp / Prawn Biryani

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Looking for a failproof shrimp biryani recipe? I have one for you!

This Instant Pot recipe will yield the most flavorful biryani without a lot of hard work. If you don’t own an Instant Pot, don’t worry you can still make great tasting prawns biryani on your stovetop, just check out the recipe below.

An overhead shot of Shrimp biryani in a white bowl
Instant Pot Shrimp / Prawn Biryani

Cooking shrimp biryani in the Instant Pot

This shrimp dish is perfect for when you want to charm your family of biryani lovers. This is one recipe that I have made over 100+ times because my family can’t get enough of it. What we love about this dish is that it is spicy (can be made mild), flavorful, and fragrant – thanks to basmati rice and homemade garam masala and ghee.

And did I mention.. it is super easy to make? Especially if you are using an Instant Pot. 

There are various reasons to love Instant Pot such as consistent results, mess-free stovetop, and hands-free cooking, etc. What makes me go ga-ga about this device is that it makes cooking biryanis effortless and fail-proof. [Read moreBiryani – a complete guide with 10+ recipes]

The shrimp comes our perfectly cooked and with the rice grains perfectly separate every single time. It is almost magical.

Once you have the onion-tomato gravy ready, all you have to do is add shrimp and rice along with water and voila.. in 5 minutes (+ pressure building time), the shrimp biryani is ready.

Sounds like magic to me 🙂

Shrimp vs prawns – what’s the difference?

Shrimp and prawns are not the same. They are actually different species. Don’t believe me? Here’s an infographic that explains it well. But since they taste the same it is often used interchangeably so go ahead and substitute one for the other depending on what’s locally available.

Have you ever accidentally overcooked shrimp?

I certainly have. It softens up and loses its crunch and becomes almost jelly-like ..YIKES!  To make sure your shrimp doesn’t end up like that, check out the tips below.

Tips to make the perfect shrimp biryani in Instant Pot

  1. Wash the rice properly – Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water to remove dirt and extra starch (makes it easier to digest).
  2. Soaking the rice – If time permits, soak the rice for 15-20 minutes. Soaking elongates the grains and makes it less brittle.
  3. Add ghee (optional step) –  After the rice is done, add a tablespoon of ghee to it and lightly fluff the rice. Adding ghee makes the biryani resulting in a fragrant and buttery Basmati rice.
  4. Let the rice rest  – Once cooked, let the biryani rest  –  this allows the steam to redistribute and all the layers of the rice are evenly cooked. That is why it is important to wait for 5 minutes after adding ghee.
  5. Cook in low pressure –  Low-pressure setting is best for delicate foods such as fish and seafood. If you don’t have a low-pressure setting then high-pressure is fine.
  6. Adjust salt/chili powder before adding shrimp – The last thing you want is a bland tasting biryani. That’s why you need to add salt as well as chili powder a bit more than usual so that when you mix rice with the shrimp base, your biryani is full of flavor and doesn’t taste bland. That’s why I do a taste test before I add shrimp and make sure the gravy tastes a bit salty and spicy.
  7. Eyeball the water –  Just add enough water such that every grain of rice is just about submerged. That’s all the water that is needed. You add more water than that – your biryani will end up being mushy.

Recipe inspiration

This recipe has been adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s book – Rice, Biryani and Pulao.  It is a South-Indian style recipe that uses coconut milk for added flavor.

Shrimp Biryani served in a white bowl
Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani

Looking for more rice recipes? Here’s a list of handpicked recipes I am sure you’ll love –

  1. Lemon rice – a simple tangy rice preparation
  2. Jeera rice – aromatic rice basmati rice which is a perfect accompaniment to paneer tikka masala, butter chicken, and many other Indian curries.
  3. Vegetable biryani– an aromatic biryani that is loaded with veggies
  4. Chettinad chicken biryani – a specialty biryani from Chettinad
  5. Egg biryani – Simple and delicious biryani made with eggs
  6. 20-minute Instant Pot Palak rice (spinach rice) – Learn how to make this flavorful spinach rice, packed with fresh vegetables and aromatic spices, in just 20 minutes with your Instant Pot.


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
Shrimp Biryani served in a white bowl

Indian Shrimp / Prawn Biryani Recipe

4.39 from 13 votes
Looking for a failproof shrimp biryani recipe? I have one for you! This Instant Pot recipe will yield the most flavorful biryani without a lot of hard work.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Diet : Pescatarian
Course : Curries
Method: Instant Pot, Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

Instant Pot method

  • Add oil to the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function.
  • Press the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait till the display reads “Hot.”
  • Add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and green chilies. When they sizzle (after 10-15 seconds) add onions.
  • Fry the onions till they turn soft and translucent (approximately 8-10 minutes).
  • Add garlic, ginger, and salt. Saute it with the onions for a minute or so. 
  • Add turmeric powder, chili powder, and salt and mix well.
  • Add tomatoes and continue frying till they turn mushy.
  • Add coconut milk, yogurt, and garam masala. Blend it in. Do a taste test - the salt should slightly be on the higher side.
  • Add shrimp/prawns and lime juice. Give it a good stir.
  • Drain the water from the soaked rice and add the rice on top of the shrimp and add just enough water (approximately 1.25 cups) to completely submerge the rice. 
  •  Press “Warm / Cancel” button and then select “Pressure Cook.”
  • Adjust the time to 5 minutes and set the pressure selection at low. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position.
  • Once the cooking cycle completes, immediately release pressure by moving the vent from sealing to venting.
  • Open the lid and let the steam escape. Add a tablespoon of ghee and gently fluff the rice. Add cilantro and gently mix it in.
  • Cover for 5 minutes and then serve accompanied with raita or yogurt.

Video

Notes

Stovetop method

  1. Cook the presoaked rice with twice the amount of water and salt (1/4 tsp) till it is 3/4th done. [ Note: I make my rice in the microwave. Normally I keep it for 16 minutes but when I am making rice for pulao I keep it for around 14 minutes]. Then I let it cool.
  2. In a medium-sized kadhai or wok kept over medium heat, add 1/4 cup oil. Add peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and green chilies. When they sizzle (after 10-15 seconds) add onions, ginger, and garlic. Fry them till the onions turn translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and continue frying till they turn mushy. Add red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, and shrimp/prawns and mix well.
  4. Whisk the yogurt well and mix it with the coconut milk (if you are using it) and add it to the kadhai/wok. Continue to keep it on medium heat till the shrimp/prawns are done.
  5. At this point, the gravy should run thick and shouldn't be runny at all. Add garam masala, along with lime juice and mix well.
  6. Add the rice and ghee to the kadhai and carefully fold it in and simmer it for 5 minutes covering the kadhai before taking it off heat.
  7. Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with raita.

Tips to make the perfect shrimp biryani in Instant Pot
  1. Wash the rice properly – Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water to remove dirt and extra starch (makes it easier to digest).
  2. Soaking the rice - If time permits, soak the rice for 15-20 minutes. Soaking elongates the grains and makes it less brittle.
  3. Add ghee (optional step) –  After the rice is done, add a tablespoon of ghee to it and lightly fluff the rice. Adding ghee makes the biryani resulting in a fragrant and buttery Basmati rice.  
  4. Let the rice rest  – Once cooked, let the biryani rest  –  this allows the steam to redistribute and all the layers of the rice are evenly cooked. That is why it is important to wait for 5 minutes after adding ghee. 
  5. Cook in low pressure –  Low-pressure setting is best for delicate foods such as fish and seafood. If you don't have a low-pressure setting then high-pressure is fine. 
  6. Adjust salt/chili powder before adding shrimp – The last thing you want is a bland tasting biryani. That’s why you need to add salt as well as chili powder a bit more than usual so that when you mix rice with the shrimp base, your biryani is full of flavor and doesn’t taste bland. That’s why I do a taste test before I add shrimp and make sure the gravy tastes a bit salty and spicy.
  7. Eyeball the water -  Just add enough water such that every grain of rice is just about submerged. That’s all the water that is needed. You add more water than that – your biryani will end up being mushy.

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 476kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 22gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 775mgPotassium: 417mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 300IUVitamin C: 17.3mgCalcium: 184mgIron: 3.6mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Did you make this recipe?Take a photo and tag @simmertoslimmer on Instagram for a shoutout!
Keyword : Prawn biryani, Pressure cooker

This post was first published on December 11, 2017, and has been updated with video and text on June 26, 2020.

Shrimp Biryani in an Instant Pot
Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani

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6 Comments

  1. Should the prawns or shrimps used in the recipe be raw? Many of the prawns available in the UK supermarkets are already pre-cooked, and then frozen.

    Karim

  2. 3 stars
    Just made this. I had a little trouble finding where the Turmeric and chilis were supposed to be added if using pressure cooker, but it turned out well. I am wondering if the rice would have turned out less mushy if I didn’t soak it.

    1. Hi, Heather – Thank you so much for your feedback. I fixed the instructions. I understand it was not clear. Soaking Basmati rice brings out the flavor and also, elongates the grains. I am thinking you may have used more water than needed. I will include a picture next time I make this so that it is clear.

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