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.
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
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
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
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.
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.