Seafood Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

After 4 years, the blog gets a facelift.  A nip and tuck so to speak 🙂 Today’s post features my favorite Indian dish.  Read further to learn more.

There are various methods and procedures when cooking biryanis.  What is biryani you might ask and where did it come from? Biryanis were known to have originated in Persia and brought to India by the Moghuls.  It is a luxurious layered rice dish which is artistically assembled, reminiscent of the rich culinary heritage of India.  It is combined with a blend of various spices and yogurt and marinated with either fish, vegetables or meats.  The masalas used in biryanis can also be store bought or made up at home; there are various whole spices that are roasted and powdered and it is this powder that not only flavors the dish, but also adds an intense aroma to the dish.  Today’s recipe will use both.  I discovered the dum method of cooking biryani only a few years ago.  Prior to that, I always used my mother’s recipe, which is absolutely delicious, but is more time consuming as you cook the meat separately and then add it in layers, alternating with the rice and meat.  In the dum method, you just lay the marinated meat or vegetables in the bottom of a heavy pan and add the rice and other herbs, saffron and onions on the top and create a seal so that it cooks in its own steam and is always done just right.

I made this biryani when we celebrated a friend’s birthday last week and even though I had never tried making a seafood biryani before, I must say it was absolutely served to perfection!

A blend of spices mixed in with the yogurt.  I used salmon and shrimp in this seafood biryani, but you can use absolutely anything you have on hand.  Perhaps the next time, I’ll add mussels or clams to give it added color and texture.  In a regular biryani, you deep fry the onions.  But here, I sliced them and baked them on a tray, which  caramelized it too giving the biryani a healthier spin to it.

When the rice is about three quarters of the way cooked, I drained it and laid it on top of the marinated seafood, added the caramelized onions, chopped mint, and cilantro.

And here you have it, a seafood biryani made to perfection!

seafood dum biryani


  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, shelled, deveined and peeled
  • 1 lb salmon or any firm white fish cut into cubes
  • 1 dozen mussels or clams
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • 4 large onions sliced and baked on a tray till caramelized
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 5 fresh mint sprigs
  • 6 fresh coriander sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves

For the rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice soaked for 20 minutes and drained
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • A few saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon biryani masala
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 star anise
  • 3-4 green cardamoms
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Heat 6 cups of water in a deep non-stick pan.  Add salt, ghee, saffron strands, bay leaves, cumin seeds, a pinch of biryani masala, black cardamoms, star anise, green cardamoms, cloves, ghee.  Cover and let it boil.  Adding so many spices to the rice water enhances the biryani flavor.
  2. Put mussels, fish pieces and prawns in a bowl.  Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, green chilli, salt, remaining biryani masala, 1/2 cup browned onions, ghee and yogurt and mix well.
  3. Add rice to boiling water mixture, cover and cook till 3/4th done.  Drain in a colander.
  4. Chop mint sprigs and coriander sprigs, add to marinated seafood mixture and mix well.
  5. Heat oil in another heavy duty pan.  Add marinated seafood mixture along with the marinade, mix well and spread evenly.
  6. Layer with cooked rice, spread some browned onions and sprinkle some salt on top, cover with heavy duty foil, cover the pan and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve hot garnished with some browned onions and torn mint and coriander leaves.  Slice up some lemons on the side.

Recipe adapted from Chef Anupa.

24 thoughts on “Seafood Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

  1. Wow, Loretta, I love the new site uplift! This dish is definitely comfort food! We have a new Indian Cuisine store close to our home and I was in going crazy with all the spices. There are a few more in this recipe that I’ll have to pick up. We love recipes that blend our favorite seafoods like this one. Take care, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that nod of approval Julie. I’m pleased about it, I was getting bored with my own scribblings :). I needed a makeover and this seems to have done the trick as I did not much care for the way my photos showcased in the other format, much happier with this. How exciting that you have a new Indian store next to you. I’m sure you’ll be trying all sorts very soon. I still get bowled over when I visit a spice store, so many different and varied spices, it’s quite amazing! I hope you guys are keeping well and that the sweet cherub is entertaining you both 🙂


  2. I love your new look Loretta – bright and cheerful with a sunflower. This looks more like you 🙂 Now to your recipe – I really enjoy the many different spices and flavors of Indian cuisine. I like that you baked the onions as I do try and stay away from “fried” food but sometimes it’s very hard. Great recipe and one I will have to try… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your nod of approval Judi. I always wanted one that would showcase my photos in a better way, and this seems to have done it for me. After all, it’s the ‘photo blog theme’. The garden and travel pictures should really pop against the white background now. I hope you’ll give this biryani a try. Aren’t Indian spices overwhelming? Gosh there’s just aisles and aisles of so many varied spices, I’m completely confused as I walk out each time 🙂


  3. This is one of my favorite dishes. We go to a restaurant here in Nashville that serves this but your version looks so much more beautiful. One day I might try to make, but in the meantime I’ll just look at your photos. Yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teresa, this is a much quicker version of biryani as you don’t cook the meat/seafood separately. It’s just marinated and then you add the half cooked rice and cook it in its own steam. The normal method of cooking biryani can be quite an arduous task. I hope you’re enduring the summer temps in Nashville? I can’t wait for Fall 🙂


  4. Love that face lift Loretta ! We do not need one but glad our blogs got it after 4 years 🙂
    Biryani is a huge favorite for me too and yours looks delicious. It is a lot of work but well worth the effort, right?
    What a perfect way to celebrate the blog anniversary.
    So truly happy we became friends through blogging. Wishing you continued success my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sandhya. I’m pretty chuffed with the change. I had always wanted a better way to showcase my pictures, and this ‘photo blog theme’ seemed to have done the trick. The travel and garden pics should show up beautifully against the white background. I see you are going through a heatwave in Boston? Well, here our summers are one long heatwave, from July through September. Temps are always in the 90’s with high humidity. I imagine Boston enjoys some cooler temperatures.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Loretta, I agree about your new theme being better for your photos. Your garden photos look stunning!
        We have had some heat waves but also had thunderstorms to cool us in between 🙂


    1. No kidding Elaine! You’ve never made a biryani? You need to change that pronto 🙂 You, the Queen of all foods ethnic? I’m sure a vegetarian version of the above would just be amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like your new look…your photos will all really pop against the white. Your biryani recipe sounds terrific and shortcuts are always appreciated.


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