Thalassery Chemmeen Biriyani ~ Thalassery Style Prawn Biriyani



The feeling of achievement is immense, isn’t it? I am glad that my little attempt to bring together a small group of bloggers is faring fairly well. We are in the third month of our challenge and I am sincerely hoping that we continue moving forward well, InShaAllah… πŸ™‚


PinFor this month’s Muslim Food Blogger Challenge, the challenge was to make “Biriyani”. Alhamdulillah, after trying so many versions, I can confidently handle a biriyani, though there are times when I conveniently screw it up too. πŸ˜€ Those are called “bad biriyani days (BBD)”. πŸ˜‰ A biriyani is usually a very intimidating dish for many, but let me tell you, once you get a hang of it, it is quite easy to make. One major thing you need to learn is to how much to cook the rice. The rice is never cooked fully in the first stage, it will always be left at around 80% and the remaining is cooked in dum. The second thing is the masala to rice ratio. It is a very tricky and subjective matter. In my family, all of us like masala laden biriyani, however when I have guests I try to keep my masala quantity limited, though that normally doesn’t happen, since I am so used to making a little extra masala always. But Alhamdulillah, my guests have always loved my biriyani and that is what matters at the end of it, right? πŸ™‚


For the challenge, I am sharing with you the Thalassery style of making prawn biriyani. Those who read my blog regularly know that I am allergic to prawns but I do cook for my family and try to stay away from eating it, though temptations do set in and I eat a little. Hehe… I have already shared the Malabar style for this biriyani, and there is some difference in the style and the ingredients. The rice used usually in the Thalassery style is called “jeerakashaala”, which is a small grained fragrant rice. If it is not available, you can use basmati rice too. The method may seem lengthy but it is a breeze to make and comes together very easily. If you don’t eat prawns but still want to try a Thalassery style biriyani – then here’s the chicken version and the mutton version. This recipe is adapted from the prawn biriyani recipe that was shared by Mrs. Rajula Basheer sometime ago on the UAE Food Guide page. Off to the recipe…





Thalassery Chemmeen Biriyani

Course Rice
Cuisine Malabar
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 -6
Author Rafeeda


  • 750 gm prawns cleaned
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 3 green chillies slit
  • 2 to matoes chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 4 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 3 cardamom split
  • 1 pc cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp peppercorn
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 1/2 cup Jeerakashaala rice soaked for 15 minutes, washed and drained
  • FOR DUM:
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 15 cashews
  • 15-20 raisins
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 4 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp rosewater


  • Combine all ingredients except oil in the "for marination" section till well combined. Allow to marinate for at least one hour.
  • Fry the marinated prawns in the coconut oil flipping the sides, till browned and almost 75% cooked. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, we can start making the masala by heating the coconut oil. Add the onions and chillies and saute till the onions are soft.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook till they are all mashed up.
  • Add in the turmeric and red chilli powder and saute well. Continue to cook till the tomatoes are totally cooked.
  • Add in the fried prawns and cook for a few more minutes. Sprinkle in some water if the masala looks too dry.
  • Add in the garam masala powder, mint leaves, coriander leaves and seasoning. Mix well and switch off.
  • While the masala is getting cooked, make the rice. Heat the ghee and fry the whole spices.
  • Add the curry leaves and onion and saute till witled.
  • Add the water and bring it to boil. Add salt.
  • Add in the drained rice and keep on high flame till the water comes to a rolling boil.
  • Keep it on the lowest flame possible and cook on closed lid till the water is absorbed and the rice is almost cooked - there will still be a bite. Switch off.
  • For the dum ingredients, heat the coconut oil and ghee in a deep frying pan.
  • Add the sliced onions with a sprinkle of salt and fry till browned. Drain and set aside.
  • Fry the cashews and then the raisins and set aside. Keep the frying oil aside.
  • Keep a tawa to heat on low flame. In a large saucepan, sprinkle a spoon of the leftover oil. Spread a thin layer of rice.
  • Add the whole prawn masala on top. Sprinkle half fried onions, cashewnuts, raisins, chopped mint and coriander leaves and garam masala.
  • Layer the remaining rice over the masala. Sprinkle the remaining dum ingredients, the leftover fried oil, and the rosewater.
  • Cover with foil and close the lid tightly. Keep the saucepan on top of the hot tawa.
  • Keep on high flame for 5 minutes, then reduce to the lowest and keep it for 20 minutes. Switch off.
  • Open the lid and remove the foil at the time of serving. Mix well and serve hot with raita and pickle.
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Join the Conversation

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks Habeeba…

  1. Yummmm looks so good

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks Nammi…

  2. I love prawn! This is a perfect dish for me.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Angie…

  3. Biriyani with jeerakasala is always flavourful

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Asheera…

  4. Prawns biriyani looks delicious!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks Ruxana…

  5. I have failed many times . But in the long run we get the hook of it
    Love the chati style and the recipe too.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Hiba…

  6. Makes me hungry,yummy biryani

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Suja…

  7. Any type of biriyani is a treat in itself…whenever i have guests over I never attempt biriyani cz of the fear of ruining it πŸ™‚ if ruined i have to make the main course all over i prefer making separate rice and curry..if one of that goes wrong – i only have to redo one dish πŸ™‚

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      This is what umma tells as well, she doesn’t cook biriyani when we have guests, while I am just opposite. I feel biriyani is easier. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much dear…

  8. Wow we both made a Thalassery dish! πŸ˜€ looks so good and all those biryani posts is just making me so hungry! So what is the difference between malabar prawns biryani and this one? Can’t wait to know the next challenge!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Haha… I know! πŸ˜€ The difference is basically in the rice, Thalassery uses ghee rice while Malabar style uses plain drained basmati rice… Thank you so much dear…

      1. Ah! I asked because I was planning to call my prawns biryani as Malabar! πŸ™‚ I quickly googled and noticed that Malabar can be tagged for any biryani of the region. let me send u a link that is awfully funny..

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks Remya…

  9. Yay!Tly Biriyani here too!yummy it looks!Prawn Biriyani is my hubby’s fav..Really Rafeeda i’m so happy to see so much participation and your effort is worth!Thank you so much for this challenge!ENjoying it!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Shazia…

  10. I was so eagerly waiting to see your entry and I really wish to have this biryani cooked by you some day. I just have a question. Is it a must to use pressure cooker to prepare the chemeen gravy as the shrimps cook really quick or can we cook in a saucepan too.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      I noticed my steps had a mistake, I have corrected it now. You fry the prawns and add them into the masala, thank you so much for noticing it dear…

  11. Delicious chemmeen biriyani…looks yummy…

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Shabbu…

  12. Adding curry leaves to biryani is new to me….may be that’s the regional touch given to the recipe…being a prawn lover…I need to try this….

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Lubna…

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