Malabar Fish Biriyani

Malabar fish biriyani

Ingredients (Serves 5 – 6)

1. Fish (king fish / tilapia / salmon etc) – 600 – 700 gm

   Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

   Kashmiri chilly powder – 1 tsp

   Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

   Lemon juice – 1 tsp

   Salt – As required

2. Onion – 1 medium-large, thinly sliced and deep-fried

3. Ginger – 3/4 inch

    Garlic – 3 large cloves

    Green chilies – 4 – 5

4. Tomato – 1.5 medium, chopped

5. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

    Kashmiri chilly powder – 1/2 tsp

    Pepper power – 1/2 tsp

    Garam masala powder – 1 – 1.5 tsp

6. Curd – 3 tbsp

    Mint leaves – 3 tbsp, chopped

    Cilantro – 3 tbsp, chopped

7. Salt – To taste

For the rice

8. Basmati rice / biriyani rice / jeerakashala rice – 3 cups

9. Ghee – 2.5 – 3 tbsp

10. Whole spices – cardamom – 4, cloves – 5, cinnamon stick – 1 inch broken, star anise – 1, bay leaf – 1

11.  Fried onion – 1/4 cup

12.  Salt – To taste

To garnish

13. Fried onion – 1/3 cup

    Saffron – 1 pinch, soaked in 3 tbsp hot milk

    Cashews – 1/4 cup, fried until golden and drained on to a paper towel

    Raisins – 3 tbsp, fried until plump and drained on to a paper towel

    Mint leaves – 1/4 cup, chopped

    Cilantro – 1//4 cup, chopped


1. Marinate the fish pieces with the remaining ingredients numbered 1. Shallow fry in 3 tbsp oil until almost done. Drain on to a paper towel and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining oil and add ginger-garlic-green chilly paste. Saute for 3 – 4 minutes at low heat until their raw smell and taste disappears. Add half of the fried onions and chopped tomatoes. Saute until tomatoes turn mushy. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, pepper powder and garam masala powder. Saute until their raw smell disappears. Add curd, chopped mint and cilantro and salt, to taste. Cook for a minute. Add the fish pieces and coat them with the masala. Cook covered for 7 – 8 minutes. Switch off.

3. To cook rice

Heat a large 4 or 5 liter pressure cooker or any heavy-bottomed vessel with 2.5 – 3 tbsp ghee. Add the whole spices numbered 10. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add drained rice. Stir for a few seconds. Add 4.5 cups of hot water, enough salt, 1/4 cup fried onion and bring to a boil. Taste-check for salt, the water should be slightly salty. Cover with lid and cook until steam starts to come out profusely. Put on the whistle(if you are using pressure cooker). Bring  down the heat to low and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Switch off. Open the lid after 10 – 15 minutes. Fluff the cooked rice gently using a fork.

4. To layer

In a heavy-bottomed vessel (you can use the one in which you cooked fish if it is oven-safe), spread half of the fish masala at the bottom of the vessel. Top it with half of the cooked ghee rice. Sprinkle fried onion, cashews, raisins, chopped mint, cilantro, few drops of rose water and saffron milk. Spread the remaining fish masala on top followed by remaining ghee rice. Sprinkle fried onion, cashews, raisins, mint etc. Cover tightly with aluminium foil. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. OR Heat a large tawa at low heat. Place the biriyani pot and cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Switch off. Let it rest unopened for another 10 – 15 minutes in the biriyani pot. Mix gently. Serve hot with raita, biriyani chammanthi, pappadam and date-lemon pickle.

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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