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.
- 1 Heavy based pot – This will be used to cook the biryani
- 1 Sieve – To drain the moisture from fish and cooked rice
- 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
- 1½ tsp chilli powder You can adjust as per taste
- 1½ 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
- 1½ 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 fish2. Wash and soak rice in water3. Measure and plate your spice mix for the marinade4. Prepare and marinate the fish5. Peel and cut the potatoes and leave to soak in water6. Fry the potatoes7. Par cook the rice8. Soak the saffron 9. Layer the fish biryani10. Cook the fish biryani
- 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.
- 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.
Prepare the marinade
- In a suitable bowl add the following items:· Half of the sliced spring onions · Half of the chopped coriander finely chopped· Half of the fried onions· 4 tsp coriander powder· 1 tbsp paprika· 1 tsp cumin powder· 1½ tsp chilli powder – you can add more or reduce the amount depending on your taste· 1½ tsp chilli flakes – you can add more or reduce the amount depending on your taste· 1 tsp tandoori masala· ½ tsp turmeric· Salt to taste – I added 2 tsp· Juice of one large lemon· 1 tbsp vinegar· 6 tbsp oil · 2 tbsp minced garlic· 1 tsp minced green chilli· A pinch of saffron
- Puree the tinned tomato and add to the marinade
- Mix all the ingredients together and taste for seasoning; thereafter, add the fillets of fish and gently mix covering each of the fish with the marinade. Set the bowl aside whilst we continue to prepare the remaining items for this delicious dish.
- All the prep is done! Oops forgot to add the saffron!
- Marinate the fish
- Cook the rice
- Using a suitable saucepan boil 3 litres water, season with salt to taste (I used 2 tsp). Once the water has come to boiling point add the wholes spices: 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, 4 green cardamom and 2 x 1" cinnamon stick.
- Remove all the soaking water from the rice.
- Add the soaked rice to the boiling water – ensure that the heat setting is set to a high. You will need to cook the rice until it is 85% cooked. As the fish cooks quickly, we need to ensure the rice is almost cooked at this stage.
- Once the rice is cooked to 85%, using a sieve carefully drain away the excess water. Cool the rice by pouring plenty of cold water over the rice. At this stage we need to stop the rice from overcooking.
- 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.
- Peel and wash your potatoes
- Cut into chunky sizes pieces and leave them to sit in some cold water.
- Fry the potatoes until they are golden in colour
Layering the biryani.
- Remove the marinated fish and set aside in a plate.
- To your heavy based pot add 2 tbsp of oil and 2 tbsp water.Take some of the part-cooked rice and form a thin layer.
- To the remaining marinade add the remainder of the chopped coriander and sliced spring onions. Take half of the rice and mix into the marinade – this is our masala/spicy rice. The remainder we will layer on top of the biryani.
- Add the remainder of the fried onions and mix this into the masala/spicy rice
- Add the spicy rice mix to the pot and evenly spread to form the second layer of rice.
- Carefully place each fillet of fish on top of the spicy rice. You can also add the green chillies around the fish – this is an optional stage, during the cooking process the chillies will flavour the biryani.
- We need to add the remainder of the plain rice on top of the fish – this will be your final layer of rice.
- Take your soaked saffron and spoon over the liquid and the saffron strands onto the plain rice.
- Using a suitable large spoon, insert holes in the rice that reaches the base of the pot – please see the video below for guidance.
- Add the potatoes on top of the rice and scatter the remainder of the fried onions, and add the ghee.
- Using good quality foil cover the pot to ensure the pot is tightly sealed.
- Cover with a suitable lid – with the foil in place and lid we have two barriers to prevent heat/moisture loss.
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.