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Compiled by Asanda Mbayimbayi

Digital Intern

Recipe of the day: Fish biryani

Celebrate Friday night with a delicious fish biryani, a delightful blend of fish, aromatic spices and basmati rice.

For your chilled Friday night, get ready to pamper yourself with a delicious treat − a yummy fish biryani recipe.

This mouthwatering dish combines tender fish, fragrant basmati rice, and flavourful spices, creating a fantastic blend of tastes and textures.

Following a couple of simple steps, this impressive fish biryani will leave everyone satisfied and amazed at your culinary skills.


Fish biryani

Celebrate Friday night with a delicious fish biryani, a delightful blend of fish, aromatic spices and basmati rice.

  • Author: Lorraine
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Indian




  • 500 gram fish about, 8 small pieces
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt


  • 1 cup long grain or basmati rice
  • 2 pieces cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • Salt
  • Egg yellow food colouring

Fish biryani

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground soomph/fennel
  • 2 tsp masala or chilli powder
  • 4 large roma tomatoes skim removed and pureed
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Handful mint leaves chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 boiled eggs (optional)



  • Marinate the fish with the masala, ginger garlic paste, cumin, salt and lemon juice for and refrigerate for an hour.


  • Rinse the rice well. Cover the rice with water, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves and salt. Cook until the rice is half cooked. Drain the excess water, sprinkle some egg yellow food colouring on top of the rice, cover and set aside.
  • When the rice is ready to be used you will fluff the rice with a fork so you will get a few different shades of rice.

Fish biryani

  1. Fry one large onion, finely chopped, until golden brown and crisp, in about half a cup of oil and drain on paper towel.
  2. To cook the biryani add a quarter cup of the oil, used for the onion, to a large pot. Sear the fish on both sides, just a few seconds each until it browns a little on the edges. Do not cook it too long as it will cook further in the oven.
  3. In the same oil add one small onion, finely chopped together with the thyme, curry leaf and green chilli. Fry until the onion is golden brown. Peel and smash the 2 cloves of garlic, add it to the pot and fry for a minute.
  4. Add the spices, turmeric, masala, cumin, coriander and fennel. Fry for at least 2 minutes. Add a few drops of water if required.
  5. Add in the pureed tomatoes and any excess marinade from the fish. Season with salt. Add the chopped mint leaves. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes are cooked, about 10-15 minutes. If it gets too dry you can add a little bit of water.
  6. Remove half the tomato mixture and place in a bowl. Layer half the fish on top of the tomato mixture in the pot
  7. Fluff up the rice with a fork and place half the rice on top of the fish. Spread the other half of the tomato mixture on top of the rice.
  8. Layer the remaining fish and boiled eggs (if using) on top. Sprinkle the rice on top.
  9. Scatter the onion on top of the rice. Cut the butter into little cubes and “tuck” it into the rice. Pour a cup of warm water over the biryani and cook in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the rice is tender.
  10. If the biryani dries up before the rice is cooked you can add a little more water.

Notes from the chef

  1. Depending on where you live you may need less water, altitude does play a role in the amount of cooking time required. On the coast the biryani may cook in 30 minutes thus requiring less water.
  2. You can double the recipe if you want a larger quantity.
  3. If you are not keen on all the frying you can omit the fried onion although it does enhance the flavour of the biryani.
  4. You can also add fried potatoes to the biryani should you wish.

Keywords: fish,biryani

*This recipe was sourced from tamarindnthym.com.

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