This is something I would die for….

I remember going to Kerala on summer vacations and the number of biryanis I used to eat. Wherever you go for dinner or lunch, that’s one thing that’s almost always served. And it was always brilliant with just that unique touch of the person cooking it. And Biryani is made with fish, chicken or shrimp as the meat ingredient. Imagine my shock when I suggested to Amit that I will make fish biryani and he had no clue that biryani was made with fish as well. He had eaten chicken, lamb, shrimp biryani but not fish biryani. How could Amit have never eaten fish biryani. I remember the fish biryani that mom makes at home and then I also did some internet search and voila, I think I have the perfect fish biryani recipe now. We had this for a couple of days for both lunch and dinner and as the biryani sat in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, it got tastier. This dish takes about an hour and a half to prepare. But I promise you the end result is so good that you will forget about all the effort you put in. It serves about 5-6 persons.

  1. 2 lbs Fish cleaned and cut into medium-sized pieces
  2. 2 cups Basmati Rice
To cook the rice
  1. 2 tsp Ghee
  2. salt to taste
  3. 2 tsp lemon juice
  4. whole spices (cardamom – green and black, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, fennel seeds)
For Marination
  1. 2 tsp Chilli powder
  2. 1/2 Turmeric powder
  3. 1 tbsp Pepper powder
  4. 2 tsp Coriander powder
  5. 1 tbsp Ginger – Garlic paste
  6. 1 1/2 tsp Fennel powder
  7. 2 tbsp Yoghurt
  8. Salt – To taste
For biryani masala
  1. 2 onions – sliced
  2. 2 Tomatoes – chopped
  3. 3 Green chillies
  4. 5-6 Garlic cloves
  5. 2″ Ginger piece
  6. 8-10 Cloves
  7. 8-10 Whole pepper corns
  8. 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  9. 2-3 green Cardamoms
  10. 1-2 black cardamoms
  11. 2 Bay leaves
  12. 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  13. 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  14. 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  15. 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
  16. 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  17. 1 tsp Coriander powder
  18. 2 tsp Fennel powder
  19. Salt – To taste
  20. Oil – As required
For garnish
  1. 1/4 cup Fried onion
  2. 1/4 coriander / cilantro
  3. 1/4 cup Fried cashews
  • Soak the rice in water for about 30 mins.
  • Boil the water for the rice and add all the ingredients under “to cook the rice” and add the rice to it. Once the rice is cooked, set it aside.
  • Next marinate the fish in the ingredients listed under “For Marination”. Keep t aside for 1-2 hours.
  • Shallow fry the fish at set them aside.
  • Grind together ginger, garlic, green chillies and half of the whole spices mentioned under the ingredients for biryani masala.
  • Heat some oil in a pan and add the rest of the whole spices. Once the spices get fragrant add the sliced onions and saute till the onions turn dark brown.
  • Now add the ginger-garlic-green chili-whole spice mixture and saute for a few more minutes.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are completely mashed.
  • Now add the dry spices and cook for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes add 3/4 cup of water and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
  • Now add the fried fish and let the gravy simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Now grease the bottom of a oven proof dish and add a layer of the fish gravy. Next add a layer of rice, another layer of fish gravy and lastly a rice on top.
  • Add the garnishing ingredients on top and place the dish in the oven at 350F for about 20-30 minutes.

Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. During my internet search for the perfect Kerala style biryani, I landed at this site;


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