Spicy masala fish biryani

Fish biryani like any other biryani would probably be everyones favourite dish. In this fish biryani recipe I have used ready made biryani masala, my own spices and made it a more masala type biryani. My other fish biryani recipe is quite similar in terms of cooking procedure but the ingredients are different. Fish biryani needs time and patience but the end result will be good. In every recipe I have said that it depends on your taste whether you want to make the biryani spicy or light. If you want this fish biryani to be light, then adjust the quantities of spieces accordingly. If you do not have any of the required spices in your kitchen, just avoid that and hopefully you will still be good for your biryani.

You need to be very careful while cooking fish biryani. Fish is very delicate and can easily get broken when you are as the fish is very delicate. In the picture, the biryani seems to be in very reddish colour, it’s because from my hand more biryani colour fell into the rice by mistake. So be care full while adding it, but in the taste there was no difference, it was as tasty as before, only the colour was dark. It does not matter for me, till the taste is good for me. But next time, I will not repeat this mistake again. It is spicy and with a different flavour and taste also is quite different. This is because, I have added dill leaves or soya leaves, and you can see it in the picture also. I always cook any food according to my taste and my likings of spices and ingredients, so you also can adjust or avoid if you don’t have or don’t like any spice. About oil or ghee it is up to you, how much to use, I am just giving you the tasty food which I like.

For fish biryani, you can use king fish, kodduva (tamil), sea bass, tilapia, pompfret any firm fish you like. Can use boneless fish also, but I have not used boneless pieces but with fish bones, I have used king fish, it has only one bone. Can cut the fish pieces in medium size, it will be easy to cook. Do not use very thin slices of fish, it can break easily.

Dill or soya leaves it has a very sweat fragrant and flavour. If you go and search about dill leaves in google search, you will get lot of details. In the curry I have not added any whole spices as biryani masala is added in this, only in the rice I have included whole spices, which is optional.


  1. King fish – 700 gms
  2. Marinate

  3. Biryani masala (aachi biryani masala)– 1 tsp
  4. Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  5. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  6. Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  7. Curry

  8. Oil – 3/4 cup
  9. Onion (medium) – 4 to 5
  10. Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  11. Biryani masala (aachi or shakthi brand) – 2 tbsp
  12. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  13. Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  14. Curd (thick) – 1 cup
  15. Coriander leaves – 3/4 cup
  16. Dill leaves - 1 1/4 cup
  17. Green chillies (slit) – 7
  18. Salt - as per taste
  19. Water – 1 cup
  20. Rice

  21. Black cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
  22. Green cardamom – 4
  23. Cloves – 4
  24. Rice – 3 cups
  25. Water - as required
  26. Layering/garnishing

  27. Mint leaves – 3/4 cup
  28. Lemon juice – 4 to 5 tbsp
  29. Fried onions
  30. Colour - a pinch


  1. Slice the onions and keep it aside.
  2. Chop the soya/dill leaves roughly and keep it aside. Discard its stalks, only the leaf part taken like mint leaves.
  3. Coriander leaves chopped with its stalk roughly.
  4. Slit the chillies and add.


  1. First marinate the fish with all the marinate ingredients ,including salt as per taste and wrap the bowl and keep it in the fridge for 4hrs to overnight.

Making gravy

  1. Take a big utensil add 1/2 cup oil and keep remaining for frying fish, when it gets hot , stir it for 3sec, then add onions and fry till it is soft and brown, it will take 10-12min, can close the lid and cook it.
  2. When the onions are cooked well, take 1/4 of onions and keep it aside for garnishing and other 3/4 in a bowl for gravy.
  3. There should be enough onion for the gravy, as in this no tomatoes are added.

Frying fish

  1. Take the marinated fish from fridge 1/2 hr in advance before cooking.
  2. Now add the marinated fish for frying in the same vessel in which onions were fried, in the same oil. If oil is not there use the remaining oil. Fry the fish on medium eat do not turn the fish immediately. Can drizzle some oil in between on fish from the remaining oil which we kept aside. When all fish pieces are cooked well on both sides, take it out and keep it aside. Fry the fish in batches, turn it carefully, as it can break.

Cooking the gravy

  1. In the same vessel, in which fish was fried, gravy has to be prepared; the idea is to get the fish flavour in gravy.
  2. You can see in the picture, the remaining masala after frying fish, just scratch it and add the onions with it and cook the gravy, the gravy will be more delicious and fish flavour will be there. No need to discard the remains of fish fry after cooking.
  3. If it is very dark and bitter, then do not add, you can discard it.
  4. Now add the 3/4th onions which we kept in a bowl, keep the vessel warm, and mix with the remaining oil left.
  5. When the onions get hot, add ginger & garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, curd, coriander leaves, dill leaves, mix well, if it is thick add the water 1/2cup and cook for the gravy.
  6. When curd is added, stir it quickly, so that it won’t curdle. Cook for few minutes, stirs it in between.
  7. After roasting for few minutes all the ingredients, it leaves oil; add water for the gravy required immediately before it gets dry and salt mix well. Close the lid and cook for few mins on medium heat. Stir in between; you can see that a thick gravy consistency is formed.
  8. The gravy should be enough to mix with the rice.
  9. Now add fish pieces in the gravy and green chillies, cook it on simmer for 10 to15 min, by closing the lid.
  10. After 10 to 15min, you can see that a good consistency of gravy is formed with oil on top. Now again take out the only fish pieces, if little gravy comes out with the fish pieces, its okay and keep it aside.
  11. Taste and see, if you require any spice or salt.
  12. While cooking the gravy, we should cook the rice 3/4 and keep it aside.
  13. Cook the rice or can cook it in advance also.

Cooking rice

  1. While boiling the rice add other ingredients and boil, when it is 3/4th cooked, strain it and keep it aside, can rinse in cold water if you want and then keep it aside, to avoid sticking of rice. While boiling does not stir it often, the grain can break. Add salt as required. The rice has to be raw still.


  1. As soon as the rice is cooked, can add this directly on the gravy, spread the rice evenly, and mix it with the gravy and bring the gravy upwards more on top.
  2. Keep some rice for layering again, now add the fish pieces, arrange it evenly, pour the remaining rice, then the remaining gravy.
  3. Then sprinkle colour, fried onions, mint leaves, lemon juice evenly.
  4. Mix it slowly, so that the rice is mixed with the gravy, without breaking the fish pieces or just can leave it for dum.
  5. Can see in the picture that rice is well soaked in the gravy, as rice is still raw and when it gets cooked, it will absorb all the gravy.
  6. Close the lid tightly and cook it on simmer for 20 to 25min or till your rice are cooked.
  7. If your bottem of the utensil is thick the rice will not burn. But if you want to avoid can keep a thick pan or tava below the utensil and can cook the rice on simmer. After that you can switch it off and let it rest for sometime 10 to 15min or can serve

Simmering or dum

  1. While giving dum or simmering you can keep a flat tava below the vessel and simmer it to avoid the burning of rice.
  2. When the rice is cooked aroma starts coming from the dum, when it is simmering. It means the biryani is almost ready.
  3. After sometime open and take the biryani out with a wider spoon, mixing slowly from one side only.
  4. Mix it from downwards, from sides, so that gravy and rice is mixed well. As soon as you open the lid you can see that full flavour and aroma comes from the biryani.
  5. This biryani is spicy and tastes good also, goes well with any raitha, brinjal curry or any curry you want.


  1. In my other fish biryani, I have fried fish first then, in the same vessel and in the same oil I fried the onions, you can do according to your comfort.
  2. I have used ready made masala from south part of India, in that masala chilli powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and other ingredients were there. If you are using other biryani masala, first use lesser quantity, then can add more.
  3. If biryani masala is not there, use little garam masala 2tsp and add to the gravy, it will taste different.
  4. You can reduce the chillies, if you do not eat spicy food or your chillies are very hot.
  5. Rice should be ¾ th 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 vinegar also, while draining wash it under cold water to keep the rice grain separate. Or when the gravy is almost cooked, cook the rice also in a meanwhile when the chicken is simmering and add to the gravy during layering. No need to keep the rice aside also. Immediately you can do this after cooking rice.
  6. The gravy quantity should be such that, it should be enough for the rice, when you mix it.
  7. I have not added tomatoes in this, if you want can add while adding spices and roast it.
  8. If you want to reduce the oil, and then reduce it, it’s your wish. But the onion has to be roasted in oil or ghee well.
  9. Carefully add salt for the gravy and rice also. Divide the salt quantity and put, it will be easy for you.
  10. Whenever I grind 300gms ginger and 300gm garlic paste,I have grounded with whole spice.view my ginger and garlic paste recipe.
  11. If you donot like dill leaves, can use mint and corainder leaves instead. If you think that the quantity of dill leaves is more , you can reduce it also. I have chopped dill leaves roughly but not mint, if you want you can do that also.
  12. For this gravy, I have used water as per requirement, do not use much.
  13. Mix colour with 2tbsp of water or with milk also and put on rice. saffron can be used instead of colour or can just like that sprinkle on biryani.
  14. Always whenever biryani is cooked equal amount of fish and rice is taken, or 1kg fish for 500gm rice. Sometime rules are ignored, if the rice is more and meat is less, does not matter.
  15. In this biryani you can do layering or just add rice and other ingredients on the gravy as we do in dum biryani, no layers of gravy and rice as seen in previous chicken dum biryani 1