Fish Biryani
Fish Biryani

Fish Biryani

A Simple Recipe To Make Hyderabadi Style Fish Biryani

The combination of rice and fish curry is made in heaven. This surely stands true, from the first bite of fish biryani. This Hyderabadi fish biryani is a quick and easy recipe, that amalgamates the warmth of basmati rice with the tenderness of fish fillet.

The Popularity Of Fish Biryani

Available in almost every Hyderabadi restaurant, the popularity of fish biryani comes from its unique flavours and super quick and easy recipe in comparison to other variants of biryani. In addition, the fish biryani is a wholesome, one pot dish that is ideal for a cozy lunch at home or for brunches, kitty parties, festivals and celebrations

Taste And Flavour Of Fish Biryani

Traditionally cooked with the ‘dum’ method, the rice and fish fillet used in the dish takes on the flavours and aromas of all the spices involved. A typical Hyderabadi fish biryani will have a soft and succulent fish with spicy crispy skin, accompanied by flavoursome rice that are cooked to perfection.

The Specialty Of Fish Biryani

While other variants of biryani, from prawn to mutton, use protein that has meaty flavour and texture, fish biryani offers something different on the table. The fish has crispy skin as it is fried, but inside it is soft and juicy, taking the flavour and texture profile to another delectable level.

Serving And Presentation Of Fish Biryani

A classic trick of serving Fish Biryani is to serve in the pot, it has been given dum in. This allows the layers, to stay intact. The garnishing of fried onion beautifully compliments the succulence of the fish, Onion raita and spicy sallan are great accompaniments to the dish.

How To Prepare Fish Biryani

The Hyderabadi style, fish biryani is quite an easy recipe. The fish is marinated in spices and fried and rice is steamed separately. A thick aromatic gravy with a number of spices is used to layer the fish and rice. These layers are further steamed, i.e. dumbed to enhance its flavour and aroma.

Fish Biryani

An Overview of Fish Biryani Recipe

The below-mentioned recipe takes about just 45 minutes – 1 hour, with 10 minutes of preparation time, including marination and around 35 – 50 minutes of cooking time. You can cook approximately 3 serves, with the ingredients given below.


For Rice

  • Basmati Rice – 1 1/2 cups
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

For Marination of Fish

  • Fish– 500 – 600 gm with bone
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • Biryani masala or regular garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/8 to ¼ tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1/8 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For Fish Biryani Gravy

  • Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Onion – 1 large, sliced thinly
  • Curd – 3/4 cup
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Star anise – 1
  • Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
  • Green cardamoms – 3
  • Cloves – 4
  • Caraway seeds - ½ tsp
  • Mace – 1 small strand
  • Biryani masala - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mint Leaves – 1/8 cup finely chopped
  • Coriander Leaves – 1/8 cup finely chopped
  • Red chili powder– 1 tbsp
  • Kewra water – 2 tbsp
  • Saffron a pinch (optional)
  • Warm Milk – 2 tbsp (optional)

For Garnishing

  • Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Oil – for deep frying
  • Saffron - 3 – 4 strand

How to make

Cooking rice

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak for 20 – 30 mins.

  2. Bring 4 -5 cups of water to boil, add salt and oil.

  3. Drain the rice properly and pour it into the boiling water.

  4. Cook until just cooked, al dente.

  5. Don’t overcook the rice is mushy rice will spoil your fish biryani.

  6. Drain the excess water and spread the rice to cool down.

Fish Marination

  1. Mix yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, biryani masala and lemon in a large bowl.

  2. Add fish fillets and softly coat the fish with the marination.

  3. Leave for 10 minutes.

Frying Fish and onion for Fish Biryani

  1. Shallow fry the fish on medium – high flame from both sides, till the fish turns translucent and the coating turns golden.

  2. Keep the fish aside, along with the remaining oil or stock

  3. Add more oil for deep-frying onions.

  4. Once heated add onions, fry till lightly brown.

  5. Set aside on a draining paper, to be used later for garnishing.


  1. Take a thick bottom pan and add oil.

  2. Once heated add star anise, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, caraway seeds, mace, and bay leaf.

  3. Add ginger garlic paste as oil becomes fragrant.

  4. Sauté until the raw smell goes away, then add red chili powder, biryani masala and coriander powder.

  5. Fry them for a 1 -2 minutes, until they start oozing oil.

  6. Reduce the flame to low-medium and add curd into the mixture.

  7. Cook until a thick gravy is formed.

  8. Add mint and coriander leaves.

Layering and giving dum to fish biryani

  1. Grease a copper vessel or a thick bottomed deep pan

  2. Add half of the cooked rice and layer it's evenly.

  3. Layer the gravy evenly over the rice.

  4. Add the fish and the oil/stock that oozed out of it, spread them evenly.

  5. Add the remaining rice over it.

  6. Separately heat the milk and add saffron.

  7. Spread the milk and saffron mixture over the rice.

  8. Sprinkle kewra water evenly

  9. Seal it with foil or with a tight lid, so the steam could not escape.

  10. Cook on high flame for 1 – 2 minutes and then lower the flame for about 10 minutes.

  11. Let the Fish Biryani, rest for 10 – 15 minutes before removing the lid.

  12. Garnish with fried onion and saffron strands.


  • In case of frozen fish, do not leave it longer than 10 – 15 minutes after marination as the fish might break quite quickly while cooking due to the marinade.
  • You can replace the curd with fresh coconut milk, the latter will add a different note to the dish.

Nutritional Value Of Fish Biryani

  1. Total Fat 8 g
  2. Saturated Fat 2 g
  3. Cholesterol 92 mg
  4. Sodium 249 mg
  5. Potassium 878 mg
  6. Total Carbohydrates 85 g
  7. Dietary Fiber 3 g
  8. Sugars 5 g
  9. Protein 44 g


Many cooks like to skip the ‘dum’ step as they feel it’s complicated, however, the steaming process further enhances the aroma and the flavour of the dish. So, do not skip that step.

Leave a Reply