Kerala style spicy fish biryani

Fish Biryani is every ones favourite dish like any other mutton Biryani or chicken Biryani. Kerala style Fish Biryani is similar how we cook in our house but slight changes are there. In kerala , everyone makes Biryani as per their recipe and taste. In this kerala biryani, I have used simple spices which are easily available in your kitchen cupboard. In this biryani I have not used yoghurt/curd and for garnishing cashews nuts and raisins, I have prepared it in a simple way but the biryani tastes spicy and delicious. To get more flavour in the fish biryani, use the same oil in which fish is fried. In Kerala, most of my friend’s house, while making biryani, they have not used yoghurt, saffron colour and basmati rice, their biryani is light brown colour and the rice used is normal Kerala rice (jeerakasala or jeerasala). My neighbour used to make fish biryani and fried chicken in coconut oil, served with any pickle and raitha. In every recipe I have said that it depends on your taste whether you want to make Biryani spicy or mild.

About oil or ghee it is up to you, how much to use, I am just giving you the tasty food which I like. Refer my Malabar biryani, which tastes delicious and tasty. For fish Biryani, you can use king fish, koduva (tamil), sea bass, tilapia, pompfret any firm fish you like. Can use boneless fish pieces also, I have used king fish, it has only one bone. Do not use very thin slices of fish, it can break easily. I have made slight changes as I have used saffron colour (kesar or biryani colour), basmati rice and cooked as per my taste.

Ingredients

  • Oil - 3/4 cup or more
  • King Fish – 500 gms
  • Marinate

  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 3/4 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - as required
  • For rice

  • Rice – 600 gms
  • Mint and coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cardamom – 4
  • Cinnamon stick (2 inch pieces) – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Salt - as required
  • Water - as required
  • Sauce/fish curry

  • Cloves – 5
  • Cardamom – 4
  • Cinnamon (1 inch pieces) – 3
  • Bay leaves – 2 (big)
  • Onion – 350 gms
  • Tomato – 300 gms
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 2 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 3 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Mint – 30 gms or less
  • Coriander – 25gms or less
  • Green chilli – 5 or more (slit)
  • Salt - as required
  • Water – 1cup or more little
  • Garnishing/ layering

  • Lime colour – a pinch
  • Kesar or saffron colour - pinch
  • Lemon juice – 1
  • Ghee – 3tbsp (optional)

Method

  • Chop tomatoes, mint and coriander leaves. Keep it ready.
  • Slice the onions and keep it ready.
  • Marinating

  • Marinate the fish with all the marinade ingredients including salt as per taste and keep it in the fridge for 4 hrs to overnight.
  • Frying fish

  • Take the marinated fish from fridge 1/2 hr before cooking.
  • Use the same vessel (big enough for making Biryani) for frying the fish in which you want to cook the fish curry/gravy.
  • Add oil and when it gets hot add fish pieces one by one and shallow fry them. Keep it aside. Fry the fish on medium heat and do not turn the fish immediately.
  • Each side 2 to 3 min is enough or till brown colour comes as the fish has to be cooked in the gravy also, so do not cook fully just cook till that frying colour comes on it. My fish pieces were thick and medium size. When all the fish pieces are cooked well on both sides, take them out and keep them aside. Fry the fish in batches. Turn them carefully as they can easily break.
  • This fried fish can be used as a starter or side dish apart from using for the Biryani.
  • Gravy

  • Cook the gravy in the same vessel, in which fish was fried. The idea is to get as much flavour of fish into the gravy as possible, can see the oil colour has changed.
  • Add whole spices and stir it for about 3 seconds.
  • Add onions and fry until it is crisp and golden colour. It will take about 10 to 12 mins. You can close the lid and cook.
  • When the onions are cooked well, take all the onions and keep it aside for few garnishing and use the rest 3/4th for curry/ gravy, if any left okay.
  • In the same vessel and in the same oil, add ginger and garlic paste, sauté for 2min, add chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, mint and coriander leaves sauté for 1min on medium flame.
  • Add tomatoes, mix well sauté for 3min, then add fried onions (keep few for garnishing).
  • Add little water 1/3rd cup and cook till tomatoes are soft, close the lid and cook, in between stir well.
  • Add green chillies and water 1cup or more and cook till it becomes like curry, thick and oil starts leaving on top.
  • Add fried fish, the fish should be coated well with curry/sauce and cook on simmer for 12 to 15 min, by closing the lid.
  • Add about 1/3 cup of water if it is very thick.
  • You can see that the gravy has got to a good consistency with oil on top. The consistency should be such that it is enough to mix with rice.
  • Take the fish pieces with a little bit of gravy and keep it aside.
  • Taste and see if you require any spice or salt and adjust accordingly.
  • In the meanwhile, cook the rice and keep it aside or cook in advance.
  • Cooking rice

  • Cook the rice about 3/4th when the gravy is almost ready and keep it aside.
  • You can cook the rice in advance as well.
  • Boil the rice with the other ingredients, with required amount of water. When it is 3/4 cooked, strain it and keep it aside. You can rinse with cold water if you want. While the rice is boiling do not stir very often. In doing so, the grains can get broken. Add required amount of salt.
  • I have added the whole spices. It is optional. You can add a little oil so that the grains do not stick to each other while cooking.
  • Layering

  • Take out some gravy and rice before you start layering.
  • Add the rice to the gravy in the same vessel in which fish curry/gravy is cooked. Spread the rice evenly and keep some rice for further layering.
  • Add the fish pieces, fried onions, drizzle some lemon juice and a few mint and coriander leaves, sprinkle some colour water. Spread evenly.
  • Pour the remaining gravy, then all the rice on top. Sprinkle colour, fried onions, mint and coriander leaves, remaining lemon juice and colour water (biryani colour), all evenly. You can drizzle some ghee to enhance the flavour and to bring more taste in your fish biryani.
  • Dum process

  • First close it with aluminium foil, then close the lid tightly (can stick the wheat dough, refer mutton dum Biryani with nuts) and simmer for 20 to 25 mins or until the rice is cooked.
  • If the rice is cooked, aroma starts coming from the lid, it means Biryani is ready.
  • After you switch off let the Biryani rest for 10 to 15 mins. If you want you can serve immediately as well.
  • Open the lid and take the Biryani out with a wide spoon.
  • You need to be careful while mixing. Mix it from the bottom to top slowly from one side. Then cover all sides.
  • As soon as you open the lid you can smell the full flavour and aroma from the biryani.
  • This biryani is spicy and tastes good. It goes well with raitha or brinjal curry.

Notes

  • You can fry few cashew nuts and raisins in ghee (clarified butter), use for garnishing. Refer my Malabar fish biryani and other biryani.
  • If the bottom of your utensil is thick the rice will not burn.
  • The heavy aluminium utensils are good as roasting can be done well.
  • If non-stick then take wooden spoon only, to stir the spices.
  • While giving dum or simmering you can keep a flat tava below the vessel and simmer it to avoid the burning of rice.
  • You can reduce the chillies, if you do not eat spicy food or your chillies are very hot.
  • Rice should be 3/4th only cooked, the grain, might have become longer than its usual size, but when pressed in thumb, not cooked fully.
  • While cooking the rice can add few drops of oil or..

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