Fish Biryani

FoodieChief's Fish Biryani

FoodieChief’s Fish Biryani

FoodieChief's Fish Biryani – this is a delicious recipe which is made regularly by my family and invokes nostalgic memories of my father (may Allah bless his soul) who was an expert in making this particular dish. Cooking time is less an 1 hour and this is guaranteed to wow your friends and family.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fish, Indian, seafood
Servings 5 People


  • 1 Heavy based pot – This will be used to cook the biryani
  • 1 Sieve – To drain the moisture from fish and cooked rice


Fish Marinade

  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced green chillies
  • 5 spring onions finely sliced
  • ½ bunch fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbap paprika powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • tsp chilli powder You can adjust as per taste
  • tsp chilli flakes You can adjust as per taste
  • 1 tsp tandoori powder
  • ½ turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp salt You can adjust as per taste
  • 1 lemon Juice from the lemon
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tinned tomato Pureed
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 1 pinch saffron strands


  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2 1" cinnamon stick around 1 inch
  • 3 cups premium long-grain basmati, aged rice.
  • 2 tsp salt to taste This will be used when part cooking the rice

Other Ingredients

  • cups fried onions
  • 600 g good quality fish, such as Tilapia Tilapia loins are used in the recipe, but you could use cod
  • 1 tsp saffron strands half infused in water and the remainder for the marinade
  • 4 potatoes
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 3 whole green chillies Optional


  • The key in making this delicious fish biryani is to have good quality fish and basmati rice. With regards to the fish, I am using tilapia loins.
    Allow yourself adequate time to prepare your ingredients ready to use, this will make the whole process simple and straight forwards. Cooking time for the biryani will be between 45 minutes to 1 hour, this will depend on your cooking appliance.
    To commence the preparation, I would follow the list below:
    1. Prepare the fish
    2. Wash and soak rice in water
    3. Measure and plate your spice mix for the marinade
    4. Prepare and marinate the fish
    5. Peel and cut the potatoes and leave to soak in water
    6. Fry the potatoes
    7. Par cook the rice
    8. Soak the saffron
    9. Layer the fish biryani
    10. Cook the fish biryani

Fish Preparation

  • Remove the fish from any packaging and wash the whole tilapia fillets, allow them to sit in a sieve to drain for a few minutes to allow excess water to drain. Once most of the water has drained away, take a few sheets of kitchen paper and line a tray. Place all the fish and lay them onto the lined tray, allow these to sit whilst we prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Using a sharp knife and a suitable chopping board, portion the fish – I cut my tilapia fillets into approx 5cm long pieces.
    Fish Biryani Tilapia Loins

Rice Preparation

  • Place the rice in a suitable bowl and gently wash the rice until the waters run clear. Thereafter we need to leave the rice to soak, by fully submerging in water for 30 minutes.
    Fish Biryani Soak Rice

Prepare the marinade


  • Take a pinch of saffron and place int small bowl – add 5 tbsp of warm water. You will notice straightaway the water takes on this lovely yellow colour. Set aside for later use.
    Fish Biryani Saffron


Layering the biryani.

Cooking the Fish Biryani

  • Place your cooking pot on top of your cooking appliance – set this on a high heat setting and allow the pot to warm up and to start the cooking process.
    At this point you will need to preheat your oven and set it to gas mark 4 / 180°C – we will require the use of the oven to cook the biryani shortly.
  • During this stage of the cooking process, we are heating up the pot and allowing the moisture from the fish and the spice mix to be released. This will generate steam and start cooking the rice and the fish. This will take around 10 minutes. A good indicator will be the sizzling sound and the pot heating up to a high temperature.
  • Important Note: Avoid opening the pot as this will release the pressure built up inside the pot and will prolong the cooking process – you must trust in the process and use your cooking sense to see it through.
  • The next stage is to transfer the pot inside the oven and let this cook for a further 35 – 40 minutes before you even contemplate on checking the biryani.
  • If you don’t have an oven – after the initial 10 minutes, set your cooking appliance to lowest setting and allow the biryani pot to cook for a further 40 minutes before you open and check the biryani.
  • Whatever method was used to cook the biryani during the final stage you will still need to check and ensure the fish has fully cooked and the rice is piping hot. Using oven gloves carefully remove the lid, when removing the foil be very careful, the pressurised steam inside the pot will be extremely hot.
  • Using a suitable spoon, you need to take out a section of the plain rice until you get to the fish layer – take a piece of fish out onto a plate and check if it has cooked. Please be very careful as the biryani dish will be very hot and the fish will break up, if not handled with care.
  • Enjoy your fish biryani, with a choice of accompaniments: chaas, raita, salad, mango pickle and poppodoms.
Keyword BIryani, fishbiryani, indianfood, seafood

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