Simple Fish Biriyani

Finally, I have made it to the Golden Number 100 !!! This is my 100th post excluding all the Pages and Outdated Posts that I removed. Long way to go… Happy that I made it to the 100th post before the first anniversary of Kerala Recipes :-)

There’s a small Restaurant in Chennai known as “Safari” and their Fish Biryani is simply superb. The fish is tender and spicy. It is definitely not fried in oil; probably steamed with rice and masalas. Their fish biriyani doesn’t have lot of masalas unlike the other Biriyanis but it simply tastes excellent. They also include curry leaves and coconut milk which impart a fine taste to the Biriyani.

Ever since, I have tried different recipes for Fish Biriyani but none have got close to the Safari Fish Biriyani. Later on, I read about boiling fish instead of frying it in oil. I tried this method and it was good though it is nothing compared to Safari’s Fish Biriyani. So here goes my recipe for a Simple and Tasty Fish Biriyani made by cooking fish separately.

Kerala Fish Biriyani

Kerala Fish Biriyani

This recipe serves 4 people.

Ingredients

  1. Long grain Basmati rice – 2 cups
  2. Onions, thinly sliced – 2 medium sized
  3. Tomatoes, chopped – 2 large
  4. Green Chillies, slit – 3
  5. Boneless Fish Fillets (cut into medium sized pieces) – 1 lb (I used Tilapia though it’s better to use King Fish or any thick fleshed fish)
  6. Bay leaves – 2
  7. Curry Leaves – A sprig
  8. Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
  9. Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  10. Cilantro, chopped – 1/4 cup
  11. Mint leaves, chopped – 1/4 cup
  12. Kashmiri Chilly Powder – 1 tsp (Alter according to your Spice tolerance)
  13. Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  14. Fish Masala Powder – 1 tbsp
  15. Biriyani Masala Powder – 1 to 2 tsp
  16. Thick Coconut Milk – 1 Cup
  17. Lemon Juice – Squeezed from Half of 1 small lemon
  18. Salt- to taste
  19. Ghee/Cooking oil – As required

For Marinating the Fish

  1. Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  2. Fish Masala Powder – 1 tbsp
  3. Chilly Powder – 1 tsp (Alter according to your Spice tolerance)
  4. Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
  5. Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
  6. Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  7. Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
  8. Salt – to taste

Method

  1. Soak Basmathi rice in water for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Clean the fish fillets and marinate it using the ingredients mentioned above. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  3. Boil the Basmati rice in at least 6-8 cups of water with a little salt, 1/2 tsp biryani masala and 1 tsp oil, till each grain is separate and almost cooked but not fully cooked. Add more water, if needed so that the rice doesn’t stick together. The biryani masala will impart a good aroma to the rice. Drain excess water if any and keep it aside.
  4. Meanwhile, transfer the marinated fish to a deep pan. Add little water so as to just cover the fish fillets. Add salt and cook for 8-10 minutes on medium flame.
  5. Drain the water completely from the cooked fish fillets and keep it aside.
  6. Heat a big non stick pan or wok and add 2-3 tablespoons of oil or ghee.
  7. Add onions and saute till they are translucent.
  8. Add the slit green chillies, curry leaves, bay leaves, 1 tsp ginger paste and 1 tsp garlic paste along with some salt and saute for a few minutes.
  9. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro and mint leaves and mix well. Cook till the tomatoes are pulpy and mashed.
  10. Now add 1 tsp of biriyani masala powder, 1 tbsp fish masala powder, 1 tsp kashmiri chilly powder and 1/4 tsp turmeric and saute for a minute.
  11. Add 1 cup of thick coconut milk and mix well. Allow it to simmer for a while.
  12. Add the cooked fish fillets to the masala gravy and mix gently or better swirl the pan. If you mix too much, the fish pieces will end up getting crumbled. :-) Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes and keep the masala gravy aside.
  13. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in another heavy pan. Layer it with cooked rice and the fish masala alternatively. Sprinkle lemon juice.
  14. Cover with a tight lid and cook on very low flame for 10 minutes.
  15. Alternatively, if you are using an oven, preheat to 300 degree F. Cover and bake the layered rice and fish gravy for 25-30 minutes.
  16. Uncover and mix gently till the rice is evenly coated with the masala.
  17. The Fish Biriyani is ready to served hot with Raitha, Pickle & Pappadam.

Biriyani Masala Ingredients

If you are in a hurry, you can use any good biriyani masala powder which is readily available like Eastern Biriyani Masala. Generally, the ingredients of such ready made masala powders would be the following: Coriander, Bay Leaf, Chilly, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Aniseed, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Salt, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cumin.

But, I prefer using home made ground Biryani masala.

You can grind the following ingredients at home:-

  1. Cloves (Gramboo) – 10
  2. Green Cardamom (Elakka) -  4
  3. Cinnamon stick (Patta/Karukapatta) – 4 pieces of 1” inch length each
  4. Nutmeg (Jaathikka) – 1/2 tsp grated
  5. Mace (JaathiPoo) – 1
  6. Star Anise (Thakkolam/Nakshathra Poo) – 2
  7. Fennel seeds (Perinjeerakam) – 2 tsp
  8. Cumin seeds (Jeerakam) – 1 tsp
  9. Bay Leaves (Karuva Ela) – 4
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