Fish Biriyani

Kerala Style Malabar Fish Biriyani Recipe

Fish Biriyani
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian, Kerala
Serves: 3-4
For fish masala
  • King fish - ½ kg
  • Onion - 2 big
  • Crushed Ginger & garlic - 1 tablespoon each
  • Crushed green chilli - 1 tablespoon
  • Tomato - 3 medium
  • Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  • Curd - ¼ cup
  • Ghee/dalda - 1 tbsp
  • Oil
For marination
  • Chilli powder - 2 teaspoon
  • Pepper powder - ½ teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger & garlic - 1 table spoon each
  • Small onion - 3,4
  • Fenugreek - a pinch
  • Mustard - a pinch
  • Salt
For white paste
  • Coconut - 2 tablespoon
  • Poppy seeds - ½ tablespoon
  • Cashew nuts - 1 tablespoon (soaked in water)
For rice
  • Basmati rice - 2 cups
  • water - 4 cups
  • Cardamom - 6
  • Cinnamon - 2 medium size stick
  • Clove - 6
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice - 1-2 tablespoon
  • Chopped Mint leaves - 1-2 tbsp
  • Chopped Coriander leaves - 2-3 tbsp
  • Salt
  1. Grind together all the ingredients for marination into a fine paste. Marinate the cleaned fish pieces with this paste for ½ an hour.
  2. Grind together the ingredients for white paste & keep aside.
  3. Shallow fry the marinated fish till it is half cooked.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon ghee to this oil & saute the onion till it becomes soft. Add the crushed ginger, garlic & green chilli & saute for 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder. When the oil starts appearing add the tomatoes.When the tomatoes are cooked well add ¼ cup curd. Mix well. Add the shallow fried fish pieces. Make sure that the fish pieces are covered with gravy. After 5 minutes add the white paste. When the gravy becomes thick & fish is cooked remove from fire.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan and add the whole masala (cardamom, cloves & cinnamon). Add the washed rice. When the rice starts cracking add 4 cups of boiling water, salt, coriander & mint leaves & lemon juice. Cook the rice till the water is completely dried.
  6. Butter a baking dish. Spread one layer of fish masala first & a layer of rice on top of it. Repeat the same. Top layer should be rice.
  7. Preheat the oven at 200 C, 10 mins before baking. Reduce the oven temp to 180 C and bake for 20-25 minutes. Spread a wet cloth over the dish while baking. Garnish with fried onions,nuts, raisins. Serve the biriyani with raitha,mango chutney & pappad.
Stove Top Method:

If you dont have an oven to bake the biriyani, do the following method.

1. Layer the rice and masala in a greased heavy bottomed vessel/non stick pan & cover it with a tight lid.

2. Heat a thava/dosa kallu, when it is really hot, place the biriyani vessel on top of that. Reduce the heat to the lowest flame & cook for 20-25 mins. Keep the heat at the lowest flame throughout, otherwise it might get burnt.

3. Also place a pan of boiling water on top of the biriyani vessel at the same time.

Make sure you stir the fish masala gently, otherwise the fish pieces may break. There are chances of fish pieces breaking and the bones get mixed up in the gravy, even if you stir gently. So be careful about the separated bones, while serving children.




  • Kunjumole

    This receipe looks good. I will try and let you know. I think you can try with prawns in the same fish masala.

  • Sumina Kapoor

    Tried ur recipe.. was awesome.. :)

  • Maria

    Thanks Sumi, Please try other dishes also and let me know your comments.

  • Susmitha

    Thanks for the recipe. Is there a substitute for Poppy seeds??

    • Maria

      Hi Susmitha,

      I’m not very sure about the substitutes. If it’s not available, you can omit it and it still tastes great. I dont get poppy seed here, so I usually make this without poppy seed.


  • Sujitha


    i tried ur fish biriyani today…today was my husbands bday…he loved it…so did the rest of us…i didnt bake it in oven, instead steamed it…but was good…mummy n i made it together…she told to tell u that it came out well…

    was so hungry by the time we made that photos click cheyaan ellarum maranu poyi :)

    this is the first time we are making a fish biriyani, eating one n infact seein one also….

    thanks & regs

    • Maria

      Hi Sujitha,

      Hope you had a great day with your family. Belated b’day wishes to your husband.

      Next time undakkumbo foto eduthu ayachu thannal mathi :)


  • Anjali

    hello dear….I tried this and it came out really good. I also spinkled orange colored water (food color) in between layers to give the rice a colorful look….

    I also tried your stuffed buns…

    I am a frequent visitor to your site now..and I have to tell u…the recipies r really amazing…Keep going…

    • Maria

      Hi Anjali,

      How are you? long time…

      Thanks a ton dear for taking the recipes from here :) I’m really happy that you like it.

      Take care…


  • Dr.Sindhu.V

    Nice preparation.Surely less fatty or oily than our traditiional mutton biriyani expect more from u

    • Maria

      Hi Sindhu,

      Thank you.

      I like less oily/ghee in biriyani, otherwise I feel full too fast & cant enjoy the taste of biriyani also :)


  • Ruby Maria

    Hi Maria,

    This is the first time I’m visiting your website. I tried chilli fish and chicken biryani and they turned out delicious. The recipies in your site are just awesome and easy to prepare, as you suggest with easily accessible ingredients. Keep coming up with lot more…

    God bless!

    Ruby Sujay

    • Maria

      Hi Ruby,

      Thank you so much for dropping in and also for trying out the recipes from here. I’m so happy to know that you liked it.

      Thanks again for your wishes and wish you the very best!!

      Happy cooking :)


  • Hema

    Hai Maria,,

    Your fish biriyani and veg pulav are awesome,,
    But I would like to get a receipe of mutton/chicken biriyani w/ less oil..
    Can you add these in your list..


    • Maria

      Hi Hema,

      Nice to know that you like fish biriyani & veg pulao recipe posted here.

      About less oil version of mutton/chicken biriyani, you can use the recipe posted here. But reduce the qty of oil to minimum. Hope that helps…


  • Roshmab

    hi maria.,
     i tried ur fish biriyani, it was marvelous. my husband loves it.

    • Maria Jose

      Hi Rosh,

      Thank you so much! I’m happy that the biriyani came out well for you :)


  • Ginu

    tried it…came out really well..All ur recipies r no fail dishes….thanx a lot

    • Maria Jose

      Hi Ginu,

      Thanks a ton for the comment :)


  • Harshitha

    Hi Maria

    I am becoming a big fan of all your recipes and seem to come back for more. When you say 1 cup of rice, what is the quantity you mean- is it 150 ml/gms ?!

  • shruti gopinath

    hi maria, i want to thank you soo much for this amazing recipe… yesterday i made fis biriyani for the first time and guess what my husband still cant stop talking about it… praises for my biriyani has already reached both our homes !!! i’m so happy today and he has already asked me to make it again today !! i wanted to let you u know that i added mint and coriander paste too… thank you soo much maria….all the credit goes to you !!! keep up the good work :-)

    • Maria Jose

      Hi Shruti,

      Thanks a lot for your wonderful feedback :) So good to know that the biriyani became such a hit at your place. Btw, I think the cook can also take some credit ;)


      • shruti gopinath


  • geethu

    hi mariya,is there any thing i can use instead of poppy seeds as it is banned in my place,thank you

    • Maria Jose

      Hi Geethu,

      You can skip it or just add a bit extra cashew nuts and follow the recipe.
      Hope the biriyani comes out well for you. All the best!


  • Smitha George

    Great Work Maria!!! Thank you for this awesome recipe!!! We all really loved it!!!
    Keep it up!!

    • Maria Jose

      Thank you so much :) I’m glad that this recipe worked out well for you..

  • sisira

    Came out well…thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    • Maria Jose

      You are welcome Sisira :) Glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment!


  • Maria Jose

    Hi Andrew,

    I used 1 tbsp of Coriander powder. However if you want you can reduce the qty to suit your requirements.


  • Rohit

    Just wanted to point out that the ingredient list doesn’t mention coriander or mint leaves, but the recipe does.

    • Maria Jose

      Thanks Rohit for pointing it out.. I’ll correct it soon.