finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing
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.
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.
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.
Add tomatoes and continue frying till they turn mushy. Add red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, and shrimp/prawns and mix well.
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.
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.
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.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with raita.
Tips to make the perfect shrimp biryani in Instant Pot
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).
Soaking the rice - If time permits, soak the rice for 15-20 minutes. Soaking elongates the grains and makes it less brittle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.