Malabar Style Fish Dum Biriyani !!!

Malabar style fish biriyani, is most famous in South Indian cuisines (kerala). The best type of fish to use for fish biriyani are bone less (fillets) or hard fish which have single bone like king fish (Tamil – Kadal veeral,Vanjaram meen; Malayalam – Nei meen). For fish biriyani, patience is important, becaucse it cook fast, skillful handling the fish is the key, otherwise you may break it. After placing the fish on dum, stir it occasionally. To get rid of fish smell, use fresh one, wash it by using turmeric & shallow or deep fry the fish before using in biriyani.

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Marination Time : 15 – 20 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 – 45 minutes

Recipes Cuisine : South India


Basmathi Rice – 1 cup

Onion – 1 no. thinly sliced

Tomato – 1 no. chopped

Ghee / Unsalted butter – 1 tbsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Anise seeds / sombu – 1 tsp

Poppy seeds / kas kas – 1 tsp

Cardamom – 3 nos.

Cinnamon – 1 stick

Star anise – 1 no.

Cloves – 4 nos

Red chili powder – 1 ½ tsp

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Curd / yogurt – 1 cup

Salt to taste

Ginger – garlic paste:

Ginger – 1 large pieces

Garlic – 7 cloves

Green chilies – 2

Fish Marination:

Fish boneless (Ocean perch) – 10 – 12 pieces

Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Red chili powder – 1 tsp

Garam masala – 1 tsp

Mace / javintri powder – ½ tsp

Nutmeg powder – ½ tsp

Salt – ½ tsp

Ingredient for layering & Garnishing:

Cilantro & mint leaves – handful

Cashew nuts – 1 tbsp

Raisins / dry grapes – 1 tbsp


Step 1:

Fish Marination & Gravy:

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  • First clean the fish & remove the moisture by using paper towel.

  • In a bowl, add turmeric, red chili powder, nutmeg, mace, lemon juice, garam masala, salt & mix it well.

  • Add the fish to the mixture and marinate it for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

  • Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, slightly fry the fish on both sides, remove the extra oil & keep aside.

  • Now keep the large pan on low heat, add oil, ghee, whole garam masala & saute it for a minute.

  • Add the thinly sliced onions, fry until golden brown & reserve some of these mixture for rice preparation.

  • Now add ginger garlic & green chili paste, sauté until raw flavor goes off.

  • Add tomato, cook until mushy, now add red chili powder, turmeric, yogurt / curd & cook the mixture for 5 minutes.

  • Now add the fried fish, close the lid & cook it for 5 minutes on medium flame (don’t stir continuously, it leads to broken the fish).

  • Once it cook & absorb the masala, remove the fish & keep aside.

Step 2:

Rice Preparation:

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  • Soak the basmathi rice for 30 minutes with enough water.

  • Boil the water in a pot on stove top or rice cooker, add rice (ratio 1 cup rice: 1 ½ cup water), reserved fried onion mixture, salt and cover with lid. Cook until half done.

Step 3:

Layering the Dum Biriyani:

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  • Now layer the half cooked rice over the prepared sauce or gravy, topped with fried cashew nuts, raisins, cilantro & mint.

  • Cook it on high flame for first 5 minutes.

  • Finally add the fish on top of the rice, cover it & cook it for another 5 – 10 minutes on very low flame.

  • Serve it hot & enjoy with onion raitha & curries.


  1. For dum biriyani use heavy bottomed utensil / nonstick.

  2. Don’t worry if you are not having tight lid, cover the pan with news paper / muslin cloth & close it with lid [or] keep heavy vessel over top of the lid (this helps for perfect dum, without releasing the pressure).

13 Comments Add yours

  1. thelady8home says:

    That looks fabulous,, no kidding!

  2. Preethi..this looks awesome!I just love fish biriyani n this looks perfect!

  3. LFFL says:

    That looks wonderful!!

  4. Madraasi says:

    Thanks a lot Preethi, I have tried and also it came out too good 🙂

    1. thank u Deepa !! Fish Biriyani looks amazing !!

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