Kerala Style Malabar Fish Biriyani Recipe

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Fish Biriyani
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Fish Biriyani

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Maria Jose Martin


For fish masala

  • 1/2 kg Cleaned King fish
  • 2 big Onion
  • 1 tbsp each Crushed Ginger & garlic
  • 1 tbsp Crushed green chilli
  • 3 medium Tomato
  • 1-2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Ghee / dalda
  • Oil

For marination

  • 2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp each Ginger & garlic
  • 3 - 4 Small / Pearl onion
  • A pinch Fenugreek
  • A pinch Mustard
  • Salt

For white paste

  • 2 tbsp Grated Coconut
  • 1/2 tbsp Poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Cashew nuts (soaked in water)

For rice

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 6 Cardamom
  • 2 medium size Cinnamon
  • 6 Clove
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1-2 tbsp Chopped Mint leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
  • Salt


  • Grind together all the ingredients for marination into a fine paste. Marinate the cleaned fish pieces with this paste for 1/2 an hour.
  • Grind together the ingredients for white paste & keep aside.
  • Shallow fry the marinated fish till it is half cooked.
  • 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- 2 teaspoon coriander powder. When the oil starts appearing add the tomatoes.When the tomatoes are cooked well add 1/4 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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35 thoughts on “Kerala Style Malabar Fish Biriyani Recipe”

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

    • 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!


  2. 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 :-)

  3. 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 ?!

  4. hi maria,
    i tried your fish biriyani last sunday, it was excellent.   I got good comments from my in-laws. 

  5. 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..


    • 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…


  6. 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

    • 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 :)


  7. 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…

    • 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…


  8. maria

    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

    • 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 :)


    • 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.


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

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