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 I posted here. Although fish biriyani tastes best with king fish, I tried this biriyani with wild salmon which is our favorite fish. This recipe serves around 5 – 6 people.

Kerala Style Fish Biriyani

Kerala Fish Biriyani Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 5 – 6)

1. Fish (King fish, salmon etc) – Around 3/4 – 1 kg, cleaned and cut into medium-sized pieces

2. Basmati Rice – 3 cups


3. Kashmiri chilly powder – 1 tbsp

4. Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp

5. Coarse ground pepper powder – 1 tbsp

6. Coriander powder – 2 tsp

7. Ginger – garlic paste – 2 tsp

8. Fennel powder / garam masala powder – 2 tsp

9. Yoghurt – 1.5 tbsp (You can use 2 tsp lemon juice instead)

10. Salt – To taste

For masala

11. Coconut oil / vegetable oil – 3 – 4 tbsp or as required

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

13. Curry leaves – 1 sprig

14. Ginger -  1 inch piece, roughly chopped

       Garlic – 5 – 6 cloves

       Green chilies – 5 – 6

15. Whole Spices – Cloves – 6 – 7, Whole pepper corns – 6 – 7, Cardamom – 3, fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp, Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch)

16. Tomato – 2 medium-small, chopped

17. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

       Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp

       Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

      Coriander powder – 1 tsp

      Garam masala powder – 1 – 1.5 tsp or as required

18 . Salt – To taste

To garnish

19. Fried onion – 3/4 cup (Slice 1 medium-small onion very thinly and shallow fry or deep-fry in oil)

     Cilantro leaves – 1/2 cup, chopped

     Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, chopped

     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). 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 1 – 2 hrs. Keep it in the refrigerator if you are marinating for more than 30 mts.

2. Heat 2 – 3 tbsp oil in a wide pan and shallow fry the fish pieces in 2 – 3 batches until done. Drain well and keep aside.


3. Crush together ginger, garlic, green chilies and the whole spices( ingredients numbered 14 and15).

4. In a wide pan at medium heat (you can use the same pan that you used for frying the fish pieces for an extra taste), heat 3 tbsp oil and add sliced onion and salt. When the onion turns soft, add the crushed ginger-garlic-green chili-whole spices mixture and saute until onion turns golden brown.


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 17). Saute for a minute or until their raw smell and taste is gone. Now add 1/2 cup hot 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. Sprinkle 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.  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 20 – 25 mts (depending on the cookware you use). If you are planning to keep it for long, cook the rice only till it is 98% done or so. If you are using stovetop keep it at very low flame for around 7  – 8

mts. Serve hot with boiled eggs, raita, pappad, biriyani chammanthi and any pickle of your choice. This recipe serves around 5– 6 people.

Spicy fish biriyani

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Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

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Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

Every Recipe Since 2010