Saffron prawns biryani with green chilli paste (pakki jingha biryani)

Prawns biryani is a rich rice dish cooked with basmati rice with fresh prawns. This is also a very popular dish in india .I have used medium size king prawns, you can use small size prawns also. You might have seen my previous biryani recipes also, the cooking method is the same, only the spices differ. In this I have used saffron instead of biryani colour. It is similar as the previous biryani but only in this I added prawns at last when the gravy is ready, so that it is not overcooked. The prawns becomes rubbery, if overcooked. You can add your own garam masala. About the oil or ghee it is up to you how you want to fry the onions and other things, but a good biryani is always it has to be roasted in oil, the onions has to be fried well in oil or ghee.

You can add your own spices also, it depends on you whether you want to cook it with ghee or oil.


  • Prawns – 600 gms
  • Marinade

  • Green chillies – 6
  • Mint leaves (few) – 10
  • Coriander leaves – handful or 10 gms
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Salt – as required
  • Curd – 4 tbsp
  • Gravy

  • Oil or ghee – 1/2 cup
  • Bay leaves – 2 to 3
  • Onion (sliced) – 5
  • Green chillies (slit) – 7
  • Tomatoes – 4
  • Curd – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  • Wholespices:
  • Cloves – 5
  • Cinnamon stick – 3 (1 inch size)
  • Black cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Black cardamom – 1
  • Green cardamom – 4
  • Rice

  • Rice – 2 to 2 1/2 cups
  • Water – as required
  • Mint leaves (few) – 10 to 12
  • Black cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cloves – 3
  • Salt as required
  • Layering

  • Saffron – a big pinch
  • Mint – 1/2 cup
  • Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice – 3 tbsp
  • Biryani masala – 1 tsp or a big pinch


Slice the onions and chop the tomatoes roughly and keep it aside. Chop coriander leaves roughly including the stems. Slice or slit the green chillies. I do not chop mint leaves.

There are three stages:

  • Cooking gravy with prawns
  • Cooking rice
  • Mixing gravy and rice


  • First marinate the prawns with curd, green paste and other ingredients and salt as per taste for 4 hrs to overnight.
  • Gravy

  • Take a big utensil add oil, when it gets hot add bay leaf and the all whole spices, then add onions and fry until it is soft and brown, it will take 10 to 12 mins. Close the lid and cook.
  • When the onions are cooked well, take 1/4th cup onions and keep it aside.
  • Now add ginger and garlic paste, stir it for 2min, add tomatoes and cook for 5minutes. In between stir it well.
  • Now add the mint and coriander leaves, stir for a minute and add curd and other remaining ingredients except prawns.
  • As soon as curd is added , mix it soon so that it will not cuddle.
  • Close the lid and cook for 15 to 20min, till the gravy consistency is formed.
  • It has to be cooked well. If gets dry can add little water.
  • Now add prawns and salt, mix well, cook for 5min and then simmer it for 10min, you can see that oil floats on the gravy.
  • When prawns are added it will leave water as salt is there in the marinate, and in the gravy.
  • The gravy should be enough to coat to the rice.
  • In meanwhile you can cook the rice or can cook it in advance also.
  • Cooking rice

  • Cook the rice with other spices with required amount of water.
  • While boiling the rice add other ingredients and boil, when it is 3/4th cooked, strain it and keep it aside, can rinse in cold water if you want and then keep it aside, to avoid sticking of rice.
  • while boiling do not stir it often, the grain can break.
  • When cooked can see the grain becomes longer.
  • I always cook the rice when the gravy is simmering, so that I can add directly on the gravy.
  • Layering

  • As soon as the rice is cooked, can add this directly on the gravy, spread the rice evenly .
  • Now layer it with fried onions evenly at all places.
  • Sprinkle saffron, biryani masala, mint and corrainder leaves evenly.
  • Pour lemon juice on the rice evenly.
  • Close the lid tightly and simmer for 20 to 25 mins or until the rice is cooked. Keep some heavy weight on the lid so that steam does not escape.
  • If your bottem of the utensil is thick the rice will not burn. but if you want to avoid can keep a thick pan or tava below the utensil and can cook the rice on simmer.
  • After that you can switch it off and let it rest for sometime 10 to 15min or can serve immediately.
  • Mixing rice and gravy

  • When it is cooked, you need to be carefull while mixing, mix it from the down part .
  • Take the biryani out with a wider spoon, mixing slowly from one side only.
  • Mix it from downwards, from sides, so that gravy and rice is mixed well.
  • Serve it on a plate.
  • As soon as you open the lid you can see that full flavour and aroma comes from the biryani.
  • This biryani is medium spicy and tastes good also, goes well with any raitha, brinjal curry or any curry you want.


  • You can reduce the chillies if you do not eat spicy food or your chillies are very hot.
  • Rice should be 3/4th only cooked, the grain might have become longer than its usual size, but when pressed in the thumb, not cooked fully. while cooking the rice can add few drops of oil or vinegar also while draining wash it under cold water to keep the rice grain separate.
  • The gravy quantity should be such that, it should be enough for the rice when you mix it.
  • If you want to reduce the oil, then reduce it, it’s your wish. but the onion has to be roasted in oil or ghee well.
  • Carefully add salt for the gravy and rice also. divide the salt quantity and put, it will be easy for you.
  • Whenever I grind 300gms ginger and 300gm garlic paste, I have grounded with whole spice. view my ginger and garlic paste recipe.
  • Mix saffron with 2tbsp of water or with milk also and put on rice. saffron can be used instead of colour or can just like that sprinkle on biryani.
  • Always whenever biryani is cooked the equal amount of prawns and rice is taken, or 1kg prawns for 500 gms rice.
  • In this biryani you can do layering or just add rice and other ingredients on the gravy as we do in dum biryani, no layers of gravy and rice as seen in previous chicken biryani 1. or if you want layers in biryani, then take out some prawns with gravy and keep it aside, first put gravy with prawns, then rice ,then few fried onions, then again gravy with prawns, then all remaining rice and other ingredients for layering and then you can simmer and cook it.
  • When rice is added to the gravy, at that point you can mix rice with gravy, as it is not fully cooked, just partly, it’s your wish.
  • I always add a good quantity of mint and coriander leaves, in biryani, it is a must, 1 cup means a good handful of mint, you can see in the pictures also.

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