Fish dum biryani

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Fish biryani is great for entertaining! Guest simply cannot stop with one plate. This perfect blend of fish and rice will make your dish so special. I made this biryani with King fish as it works perfect for me. You can use any fish having less bones. I like to serve my fish biryani with a cooling raita and ketchup.

Unlike chicken or mutton biryani, fish biryani is very easy to prepare and the chances of failure is even less at the first try. For all fish fans this will be a delightful dish. Fish biryani, in fact tastes the best when it sits for some time preferably the next day.

My husband loves fish fry and so while I start to cook any fish recipe he will ask me for a fry. I always find a way to use the fried fish in any other form and thankfully this biryani works the best. So, he can taste both the fried fish and biryani in a single plate. And yes, it is delicious.

For my version, I’ve simplified the preparation by marinating the fish pieces in a spicy mixture. For the rice, a quick par – boil with whole garam masala, cumin seeds and bay leaf. I like to caramelize the onions separately and add to the biryani. I have layered the biryani so that the fish masala is sandwiched between the rice layers.

Tempted enough? Let’s start

Fish dum biryani
Serves 3
An ultimate favorite of all sea food lovers.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
For fish
  1. King fish: ½ kg
  2. Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  3. Red chili powder: 2 tsp
  4. Biryani masala powder: ½ tsp
  5. Green chilies: 2 slit lengthwise
  6. Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
  7. Lemon juice: ½ tsp
  8. Ghee: 1 tsp
  9. Oil for frying
  10. Salt.
For biryani
  1. Basmati rice: 2 cups
  2. Cinnamon: 1” piece
  3. Cloves: 3
  4. Cardamom: 3 pods
  5. Bay leaf: 1
  6. Star anise: 1
  7. Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  8. Oil
  9. Water
  10. Salt.
For garnishing
  1. L.onion: 2 (medium sized slit lengthwise)
  2. Cashews: 7
  3. Raisins: 10
  4. Saffron: 5 strands
  5. Milk: 2 tsp
  6. Mint leaves: ½ cup chopped
  7. Coriander leaves: ½ cup chopped
  8. Ghee.
For Fish
  1. Wash the fish pieces in running water along with salt and turmeric.
  2. To marinate the fish for biryani, combine red chili powder, biryani masala powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, green chilies, oil, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl and mix together. Apply this over the fish pieces thoroughly and allow the fish to marinate for 20 minutes. Do not leave the fish to marinate more than 30 minutes as it may tend to break while layering.
  3. In a skillet heat ghee and oil and shallow fry the fish pieces until golden brown on both sides. Set aside.
For rice
  1. Prepare the rice by washing under running water until the water runs clear. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  2. Add a tsp of oil in a wide pot. Once hot crackle the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, star anise and cumin seeds.
  3. Then add enough water. Add required salt for the rice.
  4. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the washed rice and cook until 75% done.
For fried onions
  1. Chop the onions into long slices. In a pan, add enough oil for frying. Once hot, add the onion slices and fry till dark brown. Set aside.
For garnishing
  1. Heat 2 tsp of ghee in a pan and fry the cashews and raisins. Set aside.
  2. Add few saffron strands in warm milk and set aside.
  3. Chop the mint and coriander leaves finely and set aside.
Assembling the biryani
  1. Add half of the cooked rice in the bottom of the pan as the first layer.
  2. As the second layer, arrange half of the fish pieces over the rice.
  3. Sprinkle half of the fried onions, mint and coriander leaves.
  4. Again repeat the layering with the remaining cooked rice and spread evenly.
  5. Place the remaining fish pieces on it.
  6. Sprinkle over the rest of mint leaves, coriander leaves and fried onions.
  7. Throw in the fried cashews and cardamom. Sprinkle the saffron milk on top.
  8. Finally pour over 2 tsp of ghee.
  9. Cover the lid with a foil and close it tightly. Cook it on medium – low flame for 15 minutes and on very low flame for 10 minutes.
  1. • Cashews and raisins are optional.
  2. • You can entirely close the pan with a foil and cover it with a lid.
  3. • You can cover the lid with maida or chapatti dough instead of foil to prevent the steam from escaping.
  4. • If you don’t have saffron, add a pinch of orange food color in water and sprinkle it on rice. You can omit if you don’t like.
  5. • You can place the pot on dosa tawa finally on a very low flame for 10 minutes after cooking it on medium – low flame for 15 minutes.
Step wise cooking:

List of ingredients required for making fish dum biryani.

Let’s start the preparation work. Soak the saffron in warm milk and set aside. Heat a tsp of ghee and fry the cashews and raisins to a golden brown and set aside.

Heat enough oil in a pan and once hot, fry the onion slices to a dark brown.

Now time to marinate the fish. Wash the fish with salt and turmeric powder. Transfer to a bowl. To this add turmeric powder, red chili powder and biryani masala powder.

Then add ginger garlic paste, salt and green chilies.

Add oil used for frying the onions and squeeze in half of the lemon juice.

Let the marinate sit for 20 minutes.

Heat ghee and oil in a skillet.

Once hot, place the marinated fish pieces and fry until golden brown. Set aside.

Meanwhile, wash and soak the basmati rice for 30 minutes.

Heat a tsp of oil in a wide pan. Crackle the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, star anise and cumin seeds. This is done to flavor the rice.

Now add enough water for cooking the rice. Add required salt.

When the water comes to a rolling boil, add in the drained basmati rice.

Cook till the rice is 75% done. While pressed between fingers it should break into two.

Drain the water and keep it ready.

Now let’s assemble the biryani. Spread half of the cooked rice as the first layer on the bottom of the pan.

Place half of the fried fish pieces on the rice as the second layer.

Sprinkle some mint and coriander leaves.

Add half of the fried onions.

Repeat the process by transferring the remaining rice and spread it evenly. Keep the remaining fish pieces, mint leaves, coriander leaves and fried onions.

Garnish with the fried cashews and raisins. Sprinkle the saffron milk on top.

Close the lid with a foil and tightly close the pan. Cook it on medium – low heat for 15 minutes and on very low heat for 10 minutes.

No long waiting. Grab it and enjoy the biryani!

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