We have been far away from our family for about half a year and we really miss everyone a lot. The only solace we have is to keep in touch with the friends over here. In the midst of making new friends I got introduced to someone who is the wife of my husbands very old friend. I haven't met her but had numerous phone conversations (as you know women spent more time on phone than men). This recipe is a result of one such phone call. I've never made this before but my friend had all praise for this dish. I made a few changes though.
Whole garam masala (cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamon & bay leaves)-1 each
Chilli powder-1 1/2tsp
Garam masala powder-1/2tsp
Corriander & Mint leaves for garnising
Salt to taste
Marinate the prawns with youghurt, 1/2tsp chilli powder, 1/4tsp turmeric powder, 1tsp ginger/garlic paste & salt. Keep it aside for 2 hours. Shallow fry these prawns for about 10 minutes.
Heat a frying pan, add oil and saute the well chopped onions until translucent. Now add the remaining ginger/garlic paste and continue sauting for about 5 minutes. Add corriander powder, chilli powder to the mixture and saute for another 2 minutes. Finally add the chopped tomatoes and saute until the oil separates. Add 1/2 a glass of water and when the gravy begins to boil add the fried prawns and cook for about 5 minutes. You may add corriander and mint leaves at this stage if required.
Wash the rice clean and soak it for 30 minutes. Take a heavy bottom vessel, add 1tbp ghee and 1tbsp oil, add the whole garam masalas when the oil is hot and when they splutter add the rice, fry for sometime until the rice glistens. Add 2 cups of water, salt, 1/4tsp garam masala powder, 1/4tsp turmeric powder, 1tsp lime juice and cook the rice.
Smear the heavy bottom vessel with the remaining ghee. First add a layer of the rice and on top of it a layer of the prawns curry. Sprinkle a bit of garam masala powder & 1tsp lime juice, chopped corriander & mint leaves. Layer it with rice again.
The secret lies here. Make sure that you press the rice well so that the flavour of the prawns mixes well with the rice. Close the vessel with a tight lid or with an aluminium foil and keep it over a large pan(dosa pan) and cook on slow flame for about 30 minutes. You may add water in the pan so that it does not get over heated. This procedure is to dum the biryani.
Note: You may garnish the final product with fried onions, cashews and kismis which I avoided to make my kids happy. :-)
You may use biryani masala instead of garam masala.
You may also adjust the masalas as per individual tastes.