Spicy Kerala Style Fish Biriyani

    I was always reluctant to have fish biryani until one day I tasted it in my husband’s aunt’s place for our virunnu after wedding. It just shattered my belief that fish biryani cannot compete with the taste of other biryanis. So here I am sharing a fish biriyani recipe. The recipe is somewhat similar to that of the chicken biriyani recipe that we posted here. Although fish biriyani tastes best with king fish, I tried this biriyani with salmon which is our favorite fish. This recipe serves around 5 people.

Kerala Style Fish Biriyani



1. Fish – Around 3/4 – 1 kg, cleaned and cut into medium-sized pieces

2. Basmati Rice – 3 cups




3. Chilly powder – 1.5 tbsp

4. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

5. Pepper powder – 1 tbsp

6. Coriander powder – 2 tsp

7. Ginger – Garlic paste – 1 tbsp

8. Fennel powder – 1.5 tbsp

9. Yoghurt – 2 tbsp

10. Salt – To taste


For masala


11. Onion – 2 large, sliced (Use pearl onions(20 – 25 no.) to make the gravy more tasty. Crush  them along with ginger, garlic, green chillies and the whole spices)

12. Tomato – 2 medium-small, chopped

13. Green chilies – 6

14. Curry leaves – 1 sprig

15. Garlic – 5 – 6 cloves

16. Ginger -  1 inch piece

17. Whole Spices – Cloves – 8-10, Whole pepper corns – 8 – 10, Cinnamon Sticks – 2, Cardamom – 2 – 3, Bay leaves – 2, Mace – 3 – 4, star anise – 1, fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp)

18. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

19. Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp

20. Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

21. Coriander powder – 1 tsp

22. Biriyani masala powder – 1 tbsp ( I usually use home-made garam masala but for this recipe I used bombay biriyani masala powder available in the stores here. I have also tried it with double horse biriyani masala powder. Also I add fennel powder, if I do not use my home-made masala since its flavor predominates my masala powder.)
23. Fennel powder – 1.5 tsp

24. Salt – To taste

25. Oil – As required

To garnish

26. Fried onion – 3/4 cup (Slice the onion very thinly and shallow fry or deep-fry in oil)

27. Cilantro – 1/2 cup, chopped

28. Mint – 1/2 cup, chopped

29. Fried cashews and raisins – 2 – 3 tbsp each



Cooking Rice

To cook rice I usually follow the draining method. Soak the basmati rice for around 20 mts. Boil water in a deep vessel. To the boiling water add ghee – 2 tsp, whole spices (peppercorns – 8 – 10, cloves – 6, cardamom – 2, bay leaves – 2, cinnamon stick – 2 small pieces, fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp, star anise- 2 and mace – 3). I usually add lots of whole spices. Add enough salt. The water should be slightly salty. Now add the soaked rice and cook it to the perfect consistency, takes about 15 – 20 minutes. Switch off. Drain the water and allow the rice to cool.



1. Marinate the fish pieces with the ingredients under marinade for at least 4 – 5 hrs. Keep it in the refrigerator.

2. Shallow fry the fish fillets in 2 – 3 tbsp oil and keep aside.


3. Crush together ginger, garlic, green chilies and half of the whole spices mentioned under the ingredients for masala.

4. In a wide pan (you can use the same pan that you used for frying the fish pieces for an extra taste), heat oil and add the remaining whole spices. Saute for a few seconds and add sliced onion and salt. When the onion turns brown add the crushed ginger-garlic-greenchilli-whole spices mixture and saute for a few more minutes or until their raw smell is gone and they are slightly browned.


5. Now add the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves and cook until the tomatoes are all mashed up. Lower the flame and add the masala powders (numbered 18 – 23) mentioned under the ingredients. Saute for a minute or two until their raw smell and taste is gone. Now add 1/2 cup water. Boil the gravy. Now add the fried fish pieces to this masala and coat them well. Cook for  1 – 2 minutes at low heat. Switch off. Keep aside.


DSC_0766 DSC_0768





    For layering you need a cookware which can be put on stove or which is oven-safe. I usually use a stainless steel stock pot to layer the rice and chicken since it can be used for both purposes. The biriyani can also be served in it. OR you can use a shallow pyrex glassware which is oven-safe.

    Smear the base of the cookware with ghee. Then add the fried onions, chopped cilantro, mint, cashews, raisins, and the fish pieces with some gravy. Now add the rice and repeat the process. The topmost layer should be that of rice with the items under garnish.  You can pour the gravy over it. Now seal the cookware with an aluminium foil (so that moisture won’t escape), cover with its lid and bake it at 350 F for around 25 – 30 mts (depending on the cookware you use). If you are planning to keep it for long, cook the rice only till it is 95% done or so. If you are using stovetop keep it at low flame for around 10-15 mts. Serve hot with boiled eggs, raita, pappad and any pickle of your choice. This recipe serves around 5 people.




 Spicy fish biriyani


  1. wow! It looks delicious. I have never prepared fish biriyani. I will give it a try sometime. Great Recipe!!

  2. My fav Biriyani. I always prefer fish biriyani.Looks tempting

  3. Wow its awesome … I never knew onion should be browned like this wherever I have read fry till brown.Simply superb step by step pics. Great job dear

  4. enttamooooo yivida munushyan officyil vishannu yirippa..appozha biriyani kannichu kothippikkunna…………

  5. Slurppp!!such a tempting briyani…makes me hungry..

  6. wow looks mouthwatering, i have never tried doing fish biryani but this one is surely tempting me to try soon…

  7. wow such a mouth-watering dish….looks gorgeous!!

  8. wow…adipoli dears..ethu biriyanyum njganlude fav anu..Happy Easter…

    Kairali sisters

  9. Looks so so so yummy… he he before reading the title just was seeing the picture , I thought the fish marinade as paneer. The biriyani looks too good with stepwise instruction.

  10. In bengal we too make fish biriyani…but I never prepared….urs look so yammy and tempting…thanks for sharing the dish dear…

  11. delicious biriyani…love this…nice blog..have added u to my list

  12. Looks really delicious.. thxs for visiting my site & ur lovely commen.. added u in my blog list..

  13. Wow…..iam a first timer here…..my fave biriyani is fish biriyani and my storyis also like urs…never imagined fish boroyani would be s tasty…..i regularly prepare that with king fish..never tried with salmon though…

  14. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is first time for me to come across something like this dish.. but i must say u have done a gr8 work.. it is looks just awesome..
    Keep the good work going…

  15. Awesome..am drooling now :-)

  16. The fish biryani is looking great! I am drooling just looking at it!

  17. Myyy all time fav biriyani…

  18. Mouth watering pics, Biryani looks very tempting, nice clicks Ladies !!

  19. Thanks a looot :)

  20. Wow what a decadent biryani.Can you pls pass it on? Looks so yum.

  21. So….when are you going to invite us to your place for a virunnu just to shatter my belief that fish biryani cannot compete with the taste of other biryanis??? ;)

    Well illustrated recipe Yummy team!

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  23. The fish biriyani was mind blowing!!!Guys out there,the recipe is 100% worth trying.This is the best fish biriyani I ever tasted!!!Thanks a ton Maya:)

  24. Thanks a lot for your great feedback, Chithra…Am really glad that you loved it :) and a big thanks for trying it out from this space :)

  25. This is truly a wonderful dish..came out yummy..i added some coconut milk instead of water.it was nice.anyways thanks yummy team.keep posting

  26. Meera,
    Thanks a lot for trying this dish. Adding coconut milk instead of water is a great idea..Will try that next time :)

  27. Beena Nair says:

    You are right. Until you try fish biriyani, you don’t realize that it’s so yummy :)

    I have somewhat similar recipe; only chages are:
    -Usually, I use lemon juice instead of yogurt in the marinade.
    - add curry leaves in the marinade and cilandro in the masala
    - Never used corriander powder in the marinade

    Next time, will follow yours :)

  28. Anonymous says:

    today is our FIRST ANNIVERSARY and I thought of making fish biriyani!! while searching for the recepies I got stuck here.Yes your pic is soo tempting.I am going to start preparing this for my sweet hubby.
    Thank You Sooooooooo Much !!!!!!!!!

  29. Happy Anniversary to you both!! May you have many more happy years to come! :) Please do let us know how the biriyani turned out. Happy cooking!!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.yeah the biriyani was pretty good.I got good compliments from my husband for the recepie but actually all the compliments goes to you,because indirectly you added colours to our celebration.Thank you once again.

  31. You’re welcome dear :) The whole credit goes to you, as you’re the one who prepared it. Thanks a lot for your feedback..Really great to know that you both enjoyed it. Please keep visiting..

  32. Yaaahooo. My wife followed your recipe and made a yummy biriyaani. thanks a lot!!!!

  33. Whole Spices – Cloves- 8-10, Whole pepper corns – 8 – 10, Cinnamon Sticks – 2, Cardamom – 2-3, Bay leaves – 2, Mace – 3-4, star anise – 1, fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp)

    so much of whole spice, i doubt if the biryani would taste bitter. i would like try this recipe so asked you chechi.

  34. Anonymous,

    Dont worry, the biriyani wont taste bitter if you add all those spices. Do let me know if you try this out..Hope you like it!

  35. I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting recipe like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all recipe bloggers made good recipes as you did, the food community will be much more useful than ever before. I love Andhra Recipes. I have seen your Andhra Style Tomato Pappu as well it was nice.

  36. Can’t wait to try

  37. Mini Thomas says:

    I just made this Biriyani today…..& its the best one…out there with wonderful pictures…
    Thanks for sharing.

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