Fish Biryani

Come Valentine’s day and its time to express love. :0  Not that we don’t do it all round the year, but it has to be something special on Vday. And the best thing about the day that it’s a Sunday! Yippee!!! DH is at home ;). He prepared a nice warm cup of tea in the morning to kick start the day. By lunch time we were in a fix whether to eat outside or at home. Had been planning for a movie for a very long time, but with most of the movies having a rating of NC16 we could not as DD is only 3.5 year old. So I thought I would whip up a quick yet delicious meal but at the same time it had to be special (because it’s the day of love!). And on such occasions in a typical Indian household if one can think of anything special, it has to be BIRYANI! 🙂

One of my personal favourites, a simple yet delicious biryani can touch anyone’s heart. And as the saying goes, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. So this had to be the bang on dish!

Fish biryani is the easiest of all forms of biryanis, as it is less time consuming yet delectable and highly pleasant to the taste buds. With myself hailing from the state of West Bengal and DH being a Goan, fish is a common source of protein for both of us and also helps in achieving instant gourmet gratification. The following recipe is mildly spiced, aromatic and delightful. I was glad my family sat down to a delicious lunch on the afternoon of Valentines day. Even DD enjoyed it to the core although she is not a die-hard fish fan 🙂


2 cups of long grained basmati rice

3 fillets of boneless fish (I used basa; however you could take any fish)

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Whole coriander seeds – 2 tbsps

Whole cumin seeds – 2 tbsps

Whole black pepper seeds – 1 tbsp

Dried red chillies – 2-3 (you could take more if you want it more spicy)

Kasoori methi powder – 1 tbsp

Cloves – 8-10

Green cardamom pods – 2-3

Garlic cloves – 7-8

Crushed ginger – ½ tbsp

Lime juice – half a lemon

Onions – 2 medium sized (thinly sliced)

Tomatoes – 1 large

Plain Yougurt – 3-4 heaping tbsps

Coconut cream – 2-3 tbsps

Salt – as per taste

Green chillies – 3-4 / as per taste

Marinade for fish:

Grind the whole coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper seeds, dried red chillies, green cardamom, 4-5 cloves and kasoori methi into a finely ground powder. Marinade the fish with the ground spice powder, lime juice and turmeric powder. Keep the fish marinated for 10-15mins.

For the rice:

In a pot put 3 cups of water for boil. Well salt the water. Put the rice, 4-5 cloves and 1 tbsp oil/ghee into the boiling water. When the rice is 50% cooked, drain water. Keep the rice aside.

For the fish:

Put 5-6 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once the pan is hot, put in the sliced onions. Once the onions sweat and turn pink, put in the marinated fish. Let the fish cook for sometime then turn over. Be careful not to break the fish. Put in the chopped tomatoes. After 3-4mins, put in the yougurt , coconut cream, slit green chillies and salt. Very lightly give it a mix making sure the fish doesn’t break. Let the mixture cook till most of the liquid is absorebed and you can see few traces of oil floating.

Cooking the biryani in dum:

I usually use a rice cooker to give dum to my biryani. You can use any vessel for this. Put one layer of rice on to the base of rice cooker. Then put in the fish that you prepared earlier. Top it up with another layer of rice. Put some slit green chillies on top. Cover it up and cook it on dum for around 20-25 mins. Once it is done, turn off the gas. Let it stand for 10 more mins and then open the lid. Serve with sliced onions or raita.