dsc5361Simmered in a tomato based chutney, the prawns are set in alternate layers of red lentils and rice. Steamed on the stove top, this dish is flavoured with freshly chopped coriander, green chillies, curry leaves and spices.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 litre water
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 500g prawns (de-veined with shell removed and rinsed)
  • 8 low acidic tomatoes (jam tomatoes), grated
  • 2 onions
  • oil
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 3 leaves of mint, finely chopped
  • 2ml mustard seeds
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed coriander and cumin powder
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Yellow food colouring
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander


  1. In a large pot stir in the rice and water.
  2. Cook the rice until boiling point, rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
  3. Add enough water to cover the rice, season with salt and cook till soft to the touch. Drain the excess water from the rice and set it aside.
  4. In a separate pot boil the lentils in water. Rinse the lentils, season with salt, add water and return to the stove top until cooked. Remove excess water from the lentils and set it aside.
  5. Add enough oil to cover the base of a medium sized pot.
  6. Heat the oil on a medium setting. Stir in 1/2 a finely sliced onion, sprig of thyme, curry leaves, garlic clove, green chilli, mustard seeds and mint leaves.
  7. When the onions appear a translucent colour, stir in the chilli powder, curry powder, coriander and cumin powders.
  8. Simmer the spice mixture for for 30-40 seconds.
  9. Add in the grated tomatoes and the remainder of the 1/2 onion, grated.
  10. Season with salt and sugar. Cook the chutney for 15 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and formed a uniform chutney.
  11. Stir in the prawns and cook on a reduced heat for 5 minutes. Do not over cook the prawns as they tend to become “rubbery” in texture.
  12. Garnish with a sprinkle of coriander. Remove the prawn chutney from the stove top and set aside.
  13. In a Saucepan add enough oil to cover the base of the pan.
  14. Stir in 1 chopped onion and fry on a reduced heat setting until slightly golden in colour.
  15. To set the prawn biryani, place a 1/2 cup of cooked  rice in a pot.
  16. Add in all the prawns chutney.
  17. Stir in a sprinkle of chopped coriander, 1/2 the quantity of lentils and fried onions.
  18. Add in the remainder of the rice.
  19. Stir in the remainder of the lentils, coriander and fried onions.
  20. Cover the pot with foil and place the pot into another pot containing water.
  21. Cover the pot with a lid.
  22. Use a large piece of cloth to cover the top of the pot to prevent steam from escaping.
  23. Place the pot on the stove top and steam the prawn biryani for 45 minutes to an hour.
  24. For an alternate method of steaming add 1 cup of water to the prawn biryani. Place the pot containing the prawn biryani into the oven and steam for an hour on 140 degrees.