Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Malabar Fish Biriyani

Ingredients – Rice:

Basmati Rice / Jeera Rice --   ½ kg / 2 ¼ cup
Water                                         --   1 ½ measure of rice.
Lemon                                        --   1 medium
Cloves                                        --   3 - 4
Cardamom                              --   1 - 2
Cinnamon                                --   1 medium piece
Bay leaves                               --   2 leaves
Ghee                                           --   3 tbsp
Salt                                             --   1 tbsp (Check the taste though)

Ingredients – For garnishing & layering:

Onions                                      --   1
Cashew Nuts                         --   ¼ cup
Raisins                                     --   ¼ cup
Garam Masala                     --   1 tsp
Coriander leaves                --   A bunch
Mint leaves                           --   A bunch

Ingredients – Marinade:

Fish                                          --   ½ kg (2 big steak pieces)
Turmeric powder              --   ½ tsp
Red Chilly powder          -- 1 tsp (Mine is hot chilly powder. Adjust according to you taste buds)
Lime Juice                           --   ½ of a lemon
Salt                                         --   to taste
Oil                                           --   To fry (I did grill them in my oven)

Ingredients – Gravy:

Finely Chopped Onions  --   2 – 3 medium sized
Green chillies                      --   3 – 4 
Garlic                                     --   8-10 cloves – medium sized
Ginger                                    --   1 inch piece
Tomato                                 --   1 – 2 medium sized
Turmeric powder             --   ½ tsp
Coriander powder             --   1½ tsp
Garam Masala                   --   1 tsp
Pepper                                   --   1 tsp
Coriander leaves              --   A bunch (around 10 – 12 stem)
Mint leaves                         --   A bunch (around 10 – 12 stem)
Oil                                           --   2 tbsp
Salt                              --   to taste 

Preparation of Gravy:

Wash and clean the fish pieces and marinate with the marinade mentioned above. Keep it aside for half an hour.

Shallow fry the fish in a big pan or Grill it in the oven. I did the grilling to avoid too much oil. This of course is a compromise on the taste.

Grind green chillies, garlic and ginger to a fine paste. Keep them aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Saute the sliced onions in oil until they become translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilly paste. Add the tomatoes and let it cook until mashed.

Add coriander powder and garam masala and fry for 2 minutes. Add required amount of water for the gravy. Also add the chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves. Let it boil.


Add the fried fish once the gravy starts boiling. Let it boil for few minutes. Make sure you have enough/just enough gravy for the biriyani.

Keep the gravy aside for half an hour. This helps the essence of the fish to blend into the gravy.

Preparation of Rice:

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in cold water for 25 – 30 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

Add 2 tbsp of ghee to a large vessel. Fry the cashews, raisins and one finely chopped onion in oil until its golden brown in colour, one after the other. Keep them aside for garnishing and layering.

Add cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom and fry for a minute. Add the drained rice and fry for 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile, keep the water on another stove and let it boil. Add the boiling water and salt to the fried rice.

Once the rice starts boiling, add the lemon juice (strained juice -> this helps the rice to be non-sticky).

Cook the rice with the vessel closed with a tight lid. Also gently stir in between to make sure that the rice does not stick on the bottom of the vessel. Once the rice is 85% cooked drain the water from the rice, if there is any excess water. This depends upon the type and quality of the rice used.

Empty the rice into another vessel, preferably other flat vessel/plates and let it cool.

Mix the biriyani:

Spread 1 tbsp of ghee in a big vessel (Oven safe, if baking in oven). Layer the first part with some rice.

Spread some chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, garam masala powder, fried cashews, fried raisins and fried onions over the rice. Now add a layer of fish and gravy and continue layering until you are done with a layer of rice and the garnishing on the top.


Cover this tightly and keep in a pre-heated oven at 250 F for 25 minutes.

Alternately cover the vessel with a tight lid and keep on low flame. Also have some charcoal (a full vessel of boiled water in case if charcoal in unavailable) on the top of the lid. Leave this for 10 – 15 minutes. This is a conventional way of baking and this is how my mom does at home.

Mix the delicious biriyani and serve hot with raitha, pappadam and chammanthi.


  1. looks very delicious indeed and such a innovative dish too..thanks for sharing!

  2. colourful healthy biryani well explained
    thank you for sharing

  3. Colorful biriyani looks delicious. Adipoli Nitha.

  4. Biryani looks fantabulous Nitha !!

  5. Delicious fish biryani..adipoli ayithundu,drooling here.

  6. Drool.... That is a detailed recipe with self explanatory pics.

  7. Mouthwatering recipe! Yumyumyum.....

  8. Yummilicious...Kunje enike aa meen matram kittyalum mathy

  9. wow...looks good... reminds me of the fish biryani, my mom makes. It's been a long time since I had fish. You've got the craving set in me for a plate of biryani and a large piece of fish. Mmmmm...

  10. Hm.. its mouthwatering delicious.. my biggest issue with blog hopping is seeing stuff like this and then going on a binge..

  11. looks mouthwatering, yet to try out biryani with fish...

  12. nithaaaaaaaaaaaa :)... vaayil koodi velam varunnu,, i dont think ur amateur anymore !!!! awesome da :)

  13. Fingerlicking briyani, makes me hungry..

  14. Oh My!!!!! our fav!!!! looks terrific and mouthwatering !!

  15. Oh my ! njan angottu varatte, atho parcel ayakkumo?

  16. I am a big fan of biriyanis. This looks very yum! Njangalum fish biriyani post cheythittundu..Love this recipe..

  17. Ummmm.....mouthwatering....

  18. fish biriyani !! my mouth is watering..!!

  19. Thanks everyone..

    @Kairali Sisters: njan meen maathram thinnu.. ennittu baacki AJ kkum koduthe :)

    @Gulmohar: varumbol ariyichaal mathi... njan undaakkam or address thannal ayakkam :D thirichum koooooreeee ayakkan undennu marakkenda :)

  20. kidilam biryani... kandittu sherikum kothi avanu!