Easy Indian meal (Set #8): Kerala Fish biryani 🍚

Is it just me or is anyone else facing the predicament that by the time breakfast and lunch are done and dishes washed, it’s time to start the dinner preparations😬!?  The work does not stop!

The mornings are noiseless, pleasant and cool. Our day starts late, but that doesn’t translate to cutting back on the meals. The breakfast is a simple affair, just bread or dosa. Ordinarily on the weekdays, I don’t have to make lunch since no one else is at home during the day; I  make do with the left-overs.

With little to look forward to these days, I guess the only little pleasure one can afford to indulge is a tasty and relaxed meal. So there is the expectation of the meals having some wow factor and no repeats atleast in a day. But cooking everyday is not sustainable and leaves me with no time for anything else.

As a solution, when I know the family will enjoy the repeat of a dish, I try to make a little extra and store for the next day. And one such easy to make and all time favourite is the fish biryani !!

Fish is my forte and fish biryani is something I enjoy making and my family and guests relish. And it’s simple to make. Fish biryani is a preferred alternative to the usual meat biryanis and you can get the recipe online. I am not going into the details of the measurements, just walking you through the process.

The major ingredients are fish, basmati rice, coconut oil and the usual combo of ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and chillies for the biryani masala. The spices required are the trio of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The beauty of the dish is the easily available ingredients bringing together a super delicious meal.

There are three major steps in this – frying the fish, cooking the rice and cooking the  masala for the biryani. Then it’s a matter of simply combining all the above.

The boneless fish pieces are first marinated in a mix of turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. They are then cooked by frying in coconut oil. I prefer seer fish (neymeen) for the fish biryani. But I have heard people say tuna is delicious too 🐟.

Seer fish (neymeen) fired and kept aside for the fish biryani
Seer fish (neymeen) fired and kept aside for the fish biryani

Meanwhile the basmati rice is cooked separately with a pinch of turmeric powder to get the rich golden colour of the biryani. Then strain away the excess water and keep the rice aside. There are plenty of videos on how to cook the basmati rice to perfection.

Cooked basmati rice, yellow from the turmeric, to be strained and kept aside
Cooked basmati rice, yellow from the turmeric, to be strained and kept aside

It is good to make the masala in a kadai, big enough to hold the full biryani. After the masala is made, everything is mixed together in this vessel. So choose one big enough and with a lid.

First into the heated coconut oil goes a cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamon. The amount will vary depending on the quantity of rice you are making. For 2 cups basmati rice, I used one inch cinnamon stick, 5 cloves and 5 cardamoms

Next in is the ginger, garlic and dried red chilli ground into a fine paste. Go easy on the red chilli depending on your heat tolerance level. I sometimes include the green chillies  too in the above paste. They really crank up the spiciness of the biryani. Else as in this case, you can add the green chillies slit into halves later.

Then add the chopped onions, sprinkle some salt (for faster browning) and stir well. Keep  on low heat, stirring occasionally and let this cook till the onions turn translucent or slightly brown (do not fry the onions). Then add a pinch of turmeric powder.

The chopped onions are added after the ginger, garlic and chilli paste
The chopped onions are added after the ginger, garlic and chilli paste

Last into the masala, add the chopped tomatoes and slit green chillies. Mix well and close the lid to let the tomatoes cook well.

Add the tomatoes and green chillies into the masala
Add the tomatoes and green chillies into the masala

When the tomatoes have become mushy and well cooked, add the fried fish and stir well. Then add the basmati rice and mix gently. 

Add the fried fish, the boiled rice and to the onion tomato masala and mix gently
Add the fried fish, the boiled rice and to the onion tomato masala and mix gently
The fish biryani is a complete meal
The fish biryani is a complete meal

Garnishing with fresh chipped coriander elevates the biryani to another level. The aroma of the herbs, the spices and the fried fish together is mouth-watering.

A generous sprinkle of chopped coriander leaves over the top of the biryani
A generous sprinkle of chopped coriander leaves over the top of the biryani

Enjoy it with the sides of pappadam, raita and pickle. A complete meal😋. Do try it !!

Till next post, take care !!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s