Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice

This Prawn Pilau Biryani is of the quickest recipes I have worked with to date. But don’t you dare think the minimal cook times makes this a ‘mediocre’ meal. The cook time to flavour ratio is INCREDIBLE.

To be honest, for flavour like this I would be willing to slave over the stove for an hour. But for this recipe, you won’t need to. This dish will take you from start to finish 15, maximum 20, minutes.


Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice by Fatima Cooks

Alright, maybe I sound like I am over-exaggerating slightly but let me explain.  I am a massive fan of prawns (and seafood in general).  At my mum’s house, we didn’t have seafood very often and my mum tells me she’s only ever cooked prawns once in her life. Now, I always try to cook some form of seafood once or twice a week. I often rely on them for quick and easy meals and always always always reserve at least one seafood dish for dinner parties as it’s something I can whip up even after the guests have arrived and I can serve it fresh off the hob. I am so looking forward to serving this at my next dinner party!

Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice by Fatima Cooks

Let me tell you the story of how this recipe was born. (You may scroll down for the recipe if you don’t want to hear any of it. To be honest, I don’t blame you – this recipe NEEDS to be in your life and the sooner the better!)

It had been a week down and I had been feeling lethargic and groggy with a non-existent appetite to boot. I also had my University exams coming up and knew I needed the energy to sustain me through my study sessions, but without an appetite I wasn’t able to get any food into my system. My husband had been trying to coax me into eating by bringing home appealing foods and enough chocolate to make any chocolate lover proud – but all to minimal avail.

Then one afternoon, as I was studying, I felt the first kick of hunger. Yessssssssssss! About time! Then the second. Yesss! I can eat now! Then the third and then the kicks began to remind me of a growling tiger about to pounce. But it had been so long that I hadn’t eaten that I wanted to eat something absolutely amazing, something that would satisfy me and my empty stomach deep down and thoroughly. So I stopped to listen to my body and asked myself ‘what exactly do I want to eat?’. The response was so abrupt and immediate that it actually surprised me. My body quite adamantly responded ‘Prawns or rice. Or both’.

And so this recipe was born.

I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and whether making  a masala was a good idea for rice since I’ve never done so. Plus I had never cooked prawns in rice so this was also something new to me. All in all, it was a lot of firsts however I was positively surprised with the results! They were so good that the recipe didn’t need any tweaks – it was blog-worthy on it’s first trial!

Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice by Fatima Cooks

I’ve named it ‘Prawn Pilau Biryani’ because it’s a cross between a Pilau and Biryani, but isn’t either one of them. Biryani requires you to make a masala using onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger like this recipe, however Biryani is also rather spicy. On the other hand, no spice is generally added to a Pilau but there is no masala.

Enjoy this dish on it’s own because it’s just that amazing! Or if you want, this would pair well with a chutney of your choice or fish.

Yield: 4

Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice

Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice

Have a delicious dinner ready on the table in no time with quick-cooking prawns and basmati rice. This is one of my favourites!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 medium stick whole cinnamon
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 350 grams king prawns
  • 3.33 cups water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (dhaniya powder)
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Heat oil in a pot and add the onions, cinnamon, garlic and ginger. Saute till golden brown.
  2. Add the tomatoes and spices and a splash of water. Cook till all the water from the tomatoes dries out and the tomatoes break down into a thick mashed masala
  3. Add the rice, prawns and water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once at a boil cover and bring the heat to the lowest setting. Allow to cook till the water is all absorbed into the rice and is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice by Fatima Cooks
Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice
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Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice by Fatima Cooks
Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice
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4 thoughts on “Prawn Pilau Biryani Rice

    1. Jazakillah khayr! Very few people in my family like prawns, including my husband! I still manage to get them onto the dinner table though 😉

    1. Salam sister, I just realised I havent written cinnamon in the ingredients – silly me! You want one medium sized stick, about the size of your little finger x

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