Thalassery Meen Biriyani | fish Biriyani

Biriyani has always been my comfort meal, and mutton/lamb or fish biryani is the favorite.

My first tryst with Fish Biryani was when cousin got a takeaway pack from a small biryani restaurant near his college in Kochi. Biryani is already quite a flavorful meal, but the chunky pieces of fish added a whole new dimension to the dish. At home, it was always chicken or mutton biriyani, and I tried to persuade mom to try hand at fish biryani but with little success. Years later, I started doing it my own and nowadays its quite a preferred choice for the weekend; do give it a try and I am sure you’ll like it – Thalassery Meen Biryani.

You need –

  • For the ghee rice:
  • Basmati Rice- 1 1/5 cups
  • Cinnamon – 1 small stick
  • Cloves- 2
  • Cardamon-4
  • Fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ghee/clarified butter – 3 tablespoon
  • Hot water – 3 cups
  • Lemon juice- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste

To make the fish biriyani  masala –

  • King fish – 750 grams , sliced
  • Onion- 2 large, finely chopped
  • Curry leaves – 2 spring
  • Tomato – 2 medium, finely chopped
  • Shallots – 4 nos, crushed
  • Finely grated ginger- 2 teaspoons
  • Garlic- 6 cloves, finely grated
  • Green chili- 3-4 or as per your taste
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon
  • Pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 3 teaspoons
  • Biryani Masala powder – 2 teaspoon (I have used Eastern brand)
  • Coconut oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

For garnishing – 

  • Fried Cashew nuts- 3 tablespoon
  • Fried Raisins- 3 tablespoon
  • Fried Onions – 1/2 cup
  • Garamram Masala – ¾ teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves chopped- 1/2 cup
  • Mint leaves- 1/4 cup

How to –

Wash the rice and soak for 20 mins. Strain and set aside.

Clean and wash the fish well. Drain the water out completely. Marinate the fish with ¼ turmeric, pepper powder and a squeeze of lime for 30 mins.

Biryani masala

Heat oil in a pan and fry the fish till light brown on both sides (do not cook the fish till done). Remove and set aside. To the same pan (add little more oil if required) add the grated ginger, garlic and fry for a minute. Add the onion and shallots, curry leaves, green chilies; fry until the onions are soft and turn golden brown. Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, biryani Masala and cook till the oil starts to separate

Add the tomatoes, salt, Cover and cook till mushy. Sprinkle with little water if the mixtures is dry. Add the fish, mix gently. cook till almost done and the gravy is thick.

Ghee rice –

Heat ghee in a pan, add the whole spices and cook till fragrant. Add the rice in and fry till the rice is translucent and ensuring the rice not turning brown. Add hot water, salt and mix well, cover and cook till the rice is 80% done.

Layering the rice-

In a heavy bottom pan, spread some ghee, Layer a layer of half the rice and then the fish with gravy. Sprinkle some gram masala, chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint, fried nuts, raisins and onions. Layer the remaining rice and sprinkle some gram masala, chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint, fried nuts, raisins and onions.

Seal the pan with a aluminum foil and cover with heavy lid so that the steam does not escape. You could place a heavy pan with water or use the pestle on top on the lid.

Cook on a very low heat for 30-40 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve hot with raita or with you favorite pickle.


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