Fish Biryani / Malabar Fish Biryani / Meen Biriyani

Fish Biryani is a popular delicacy in Kerala, and its fame has transcended beyond boundaries and is popular across the globe as an iconic one pot dish. Biryani is a favourite meal in the Asian sub-continent and there are myriad ways of preparing this flavourful dish. In India itself you will come across various preparations like Thalassery Chicken Biriyani/ Malabar Biriyani, Hyderabadi Biriyani, Lucknowi Biriyani, Thalapakittu Biryani, Dindigal Style Biryani, Bombay Biryani, Madras Biryani etc. Although the methods are same, the main difference lies in the rice and spices used in various regions.

Kerala style Fish Biryani is prepared using Khaima/ Jeerakasala rice. Seer Fish/ Neymmeen or any other fleshy fish can be used for making this Fish Biryani.  The perfect blend of marinated fish, aromatic rice and selected spices makes it lip-smackingly delicious. I got this Malabar Fish Biryani recipe from Sajira, my dear friend and ex- colleague. She brought Fish Biriyani to office one day, and it was so delicious that I straight away asked for the recipe.  She got the hand-written recipe from her Ummachi (mom) and this is the slightly modified version of the same recipe. You will definitely love the distinctive flavours of this special Malabar Fish Biryani, my new year recipe for you. Pair it with little Raita, Lime and dates pickle, papad and enjoy!

I have a good collection of seafood recipes like Kakka Irachi/ Clams Roast, Chemmeen Roast, Prawns Masala, Srilankan Prawns curry, Squid Roast, Calamari fritters, Fish Cutlet, Fish Fingers and many variety fish curry to choose from. Also, check my rice dishes like Ghee rice/ Ney choruThalassery Chicken Biriyani, Mutton Biriyani, Quick Biryani, Tomato Rice in Coconut milk, Paneer Pulao, Paneer Tomato Pulao, Corn Pulao, Simple Veg. Pulao, Veg. Fried Rice etc. 

New year is just a couple of sleeps away, and this is the time to reflect on the past year- its joys and sorrows. Also, it is the time to thank God almighty for His abundant blessings this year and to look forward with all hope to the New year, trusting in God’s everlasting love and care. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year filled with all happiness. Here is the New Year special recipe for Fish Biryani  to enjoy with your family and friends!

Time : 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients for Biryani Rice:

Khaima / Jeerakasala Rice

: 3 cups

Boiling Water

: 6 cups

Onion

: 2 nos

Cashewnuts

: few

Kismis

: few

Cardamom

: 5 nos

Cloves

: 5 nos.

Cinnamon stick

: 3 nos.

Pepper corns

: 1 tbsp

Bay leaf

: 1

Lime juice

: 1 tsp

Oil + Ghee

: 3 tbsp

Salt

: as required

Ingredients for marinating Fish:

Fish (Seer Fish)

: 1 kg

Chili Powder

: 1 tbsp

Turmeric Powder

: ½ tsp – 1 tsp

Salt

: as required

Small Onion / Shallots

: 4 nos.

Ginger

: 1” piece

Garlic

: 6 – 8 cloves

Green Chilly

: 4 nos

Perumjeerah (aniseed)

: 1 tsp

Coriander + Mint Leaves chopped

: ¼ cup

Curry Leaves

: 2 sprigs

Lime Juice

: ½ tsp

Ingredients for Fish Biryani Masala:

Onion

: 3 big

Curry Leaves

: 3 sprigs

Ginger

: 2” piece

Garlic

: 10 – 12 cloves

Green Chilly

: 7 nos

Tomatoes

: 2 nos.

Turmeric Pdr

: 1 tsp

Coriander Powder

: 2 tsp

Perumjeerah (aniseed)

: 1 tsp

Garam Masala

: 1 tsp

Coriander + Mint Leaves chopped

: 1 cup

Curd

: ½ cup

Lime Juice

: 1 ½ tbsp

Coconut oil + Ghee

: as required

Method :

Cut the fish into slices, wash and clean well and pat dry. Grind all the marinating ingredients- ginger, garlic, green chilli, perumjeerah, chilli powder, turmeric, curry leaves, coriander and mint leaves. Combine with salt, lime juice and water if required to make a wet paste. Marinate the fish pieces with this masala and keep aside for half hour to one hour. 

Fish Biryani Fish Biryani

Wash and soak the rice in water for an hour. Drain and keep aside. Heat Coconut oil + Ghee in a non-stick Biriyani Pot (I used non-stick as the rice won’t stick to pan) and fry the cashews, Kismis and onions to golden brown, drain and keep aside. Add whole spices – Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Bay leaf, to oil followed by rice. Fry the rice for some time. Add double measure of Boiling water, enough salt and lime juice and cover and cook on low flame till the rice is fully cooked and the water is dried. Keep it half open for cooling. (for step by step pics check link: Thalassery chicken Biriyani)

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the marinated fish, in batches till slightly brown on both sides. Drain on to a paper towel and keep aside.

Fish Biryani Fish Biryani

Slice the onions thinly. Crush the Garlic, Ginger and Green chillies in a blender. In a Kadai, heat enough oil and ghee, and the remaining oil from frying fish. First, add few curry leaves. Then, add the sliced onions and sauté till limp.  Now, add crushed ginger garlic chilli paste and sauté for some time.  Next, add chopped tomatoes and continue frying till they are mashed.

Fish Biryani Fish Biryani Fish Biryani Fish Biryani

Once the Tomatoes are mashed, add Coriander powder, Turmeric powder, Perumjeerah powder and Garam Masala. Fry for some time and add chopped mint and coriander leaves, followed by curd and enough salt. Mix to combine well and add little water if you think the masala is too dry.

Fish Biryani Fish Biryani Fish Biryani Fish Biryani

For assembling, grease a large thick bottomed vessel with ghee and spread a thin layer of Masala and fish. Top with half of the rice and sprinkle the fried cashew, kismis, fried onions, chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves. Spread the remaining fish and Masala on top and layer rice and fried toppings.Top layer should be covered with fried onions and cashews and chopped coriander and mint leaves.

Fish Biryani Fish Biryani Fish Biryani

Cover, seal and cook it on a low flame for 10- 15 mts if you want to make dum. You may also cover it with foil and bake in oven for 10 – 15mts. Keep aside for cooling slightly for few minutes and enjoy your Fish Biryani with Raita, Salad and Pappad.

For Raita, chop Onion, squeeze the water and add chopped cucumber and a green chilly, add little grated carrot, tomato and add thick butter milk and salt. Sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Tips:

  • Jeerakashala rice/ Khaima rice is used for Kerala Fish Biriyani.
  • Fish Biryani does not require too much gravy. Add water to the Masala only if it is too dry to make a semi dry Masala.
  • Seer Fish/ Neymeen is best for Fish Biryani.
  • You can add little colour to the rice by adding saffron strands to milk or adding little yellow food color.
  • The onions and tomatoes should be mashed nicely before adding the spices to the gravy.
  • Check how to make Garam Masala at home for the perfect taste.
  • If you want to check the photos for cooking rice, check Thalassery Chicken Biryani.
  • Always prepare Rice first and allow to cool. It is important to cool the rice before layering so the rice grains stay intact.

Have a hearty lunch or Dinner this New year with Kerala style Fish Biryani. If you found this Fish Biryani recipe tasty, please let me know through comments or share it with your friends. It will keep me motivated. Happy New Year and God Bless!!

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