Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shrimp and Asparagus Biryani


I am a big fan of the one-pot dinner.  This Shrimp and Asparagus Biryani was a great one-pot meal.  My family (even the picky eaters) enjoyed this wonderful flavorful shrimp and rice dish with a cool cucumber raita on the side. Biryani sounds like it would take all day to make, but it took me less than 30 minutes to get the biryani ready for the oven and then another 30 minutes baking it before we were eating dinner. If you are not familiar with biryani, it's a flavorful and spice infused rice based dish made with meat, eggs, and/or vegetables.  This Shrimp and asparagus make a wonderful light biryani and it's a great dish to have at a party because it's like a party in your mouth.

For the rice:
2 cups of rice rinsed well.  I recommend basmati style rice. I also used brown basmati
10 cups of water
6 whole black peppercorns (optional)
4 cloves
4 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick

For the shrimp and asparagus curry:
1lb of shrimp cleaned
1lb of sliced asparagus
1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk milk
12-15 fresh leaves
1 medium onion
4-5 dry chilies (broken)
6-10 whole black peppercorns (optional)
6 green cardamoms pods
3 black cloves
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 Tbs salt (or to taste)
1 Tbs of curry powder
1Tbs of canola oil


The Rice:
Start by parboiling the rice. You will want to wash and drain 2 cups of rice then add black peppercorns, cloves, green cardamoms, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.

Add 10 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling allow to cook for 6-10 minutes.  I suggest cooking the white rice for about 6 minutes and the brown rice for about 10 minutes.  Once the rice is somewhat cooked, but not fully, drain in a colander and set aside.

To make the shrimp and asparagus curry:

Heat 1Tbs of canola oil in a the same pan you cooked the rice (to keep it one pot).  Add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, red chili pods, cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns (optional).  Fry for 1 minute.  Then add onions and asparagus. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the ground spices (coriander, turmeric, curry powder) and salt. Fry for 30-45 seconds.   Then add the buttermilk and shrimp.
When shrimp starts to turn pink (but is not fully cooked) turn off stove. Taste for seasoning.  Butter a baking dish and layer some of the parboiled  rice on the bottom.

Then layer some of the shrimp and asparagus. Make sure you get some gravy on top of the rice.  Layer with rice and shrimp and finish off with a rice on top.  Pour gravy from the curry over the rice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Place a tight fitting lid or tin foil over the baking dish to trap all the steam.   Cook in the oven for 35 minutes.    Once cooked, allow the dish to sit covered for additional 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy.

Here's the Raita that we enjoyed with the biryani:

Cucumber Raita

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