1. Wash the prawns, drain and marinate them in kashmiri Chilli powder, Coriander powder turmeric powder and salt for half an hour.
2. Heat a large non-stick saucepan and add the oil. When hot, shallow fry the prawns briefly, stirring then frequently for 3-4 minutes and fish them out.
3. In the same oil add the chopped onion,ginger,garlic and chillies along with salt and cook until the onions have become soft for about 15 minutes.
4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and pepper powder. Cover and cook until the tomatoes becomes soft and you get a thick gravy.
5. Add in the half fried prawns and cook on low flame for about 20 minutes so that the flavour of the prawn diffuse in the gravy and the gravy is thick.
6. At this point of time, add the chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander leaves, garam masala and lime juice. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the fire and keep them aside.
For preparing the Ghee Rice
1.Wash rice and strain off all the excess water by placing the rice in colander.
2. Boil water in the kettle or a large cooking vessel.
3. Heat another large pan to high heat and add ghee and oil. When the ghee gets hot add onions and sauté until the onions turns soft. At this stage add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon and cumin seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes until the aroma of the spices starts coming out. Add boiling water, lemon juice and salt to this.
4. When the water starts bubbling, tip in the rice slowly and cook on high heat by keeping the lid open. At this stage, you will be able to see water an inch or two above the rice.
5. As soon as you see that water has gone below the rice, reduce the flame to low, and cook it covered until all the rice is cooked evenly. In between you may toss the bottom part of rice and bring to top once, so that the rice gets cooked evenly. Let it cool down a bit. Then do the layering.
Apart from the above method, you can also cook rice in different way. That's quite similar to the above, but a small difference....i.e. follow the first three steps as above. Then add rice to boiling water. When bubbles start appearing on the surface again, reduce the heat to medium, cover the saucepan tightly and let it cook till done. It takes around 20 minutes, but it will depend on the rice. First time I made by the first way and second time, this second way. I think I will follow the second way from now on...that's much easier.
For layering the biryani and final cooking
1. Divide the rice in 2 parts.
2. Take a large heavy based vessel and rub it with oil or ghee. Layer the bottom of the vessel with the first part of the rice. Sprinkle a 1/4 tsp of garam masala all over and pour prawn masala all over the rice. Tip in the second part of rice and sprinkle a good pinch of garam masala (1/4 tsp) all over again.
3. Cover the entire vessel with foil (to ensure that full steam stays in), then close the lid tightly. Place a weight (you can also use any vessel filled with water for this) over this vessels and cook on hob top for about 20-30 minutes at very low heat. This is to infuse the flavour of the biryani masala into the rice and this process of cooking is called ‘Dum’. At this point of time you can see that all rice on top has curved up.
4. You can also do the layering in an ovenproof vessel and place it in a preheated oven at a very low temperature for about 20-30 minutes for the final cooking. I never tried this, but my friends do it this way.Just before serving, garnish with fried onions, cashews and raisins. Enjoy with cucumber Raita, tomato and onion salad, thenga chammanthi, pickle and pappadams!