Fish Biriyani

This is a great biriyani. I like the fact that, the rice takes in the flavor of the spices and marinated fish. Yet, the smell of fish does not overpower the taste of rice, as the fish stays intact,in one piece. Really really good. Try it!

What I used: Serves 4

4 fresh/frozen boneless tilapia fillets
2 cup Rice (Basmati or Sona Masoori)
1tsp whole garam masala (4 cloves, 2 cardamoms, ½ inch cinnamon, 1 bay leaf)
½ cup onions chopped finely
½ cup tomatoes sliced lengthwise
¼ cup fresh/dry mint leaves
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
½ cup thick yogurt
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
8-10 green chilies sliced lengthwise
1 tsp biriyani masala powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp lime juice
4 tsp ghee/canola oil
Salt or to taste
¼ tsp saffron or turmeric soaked in 4tsp milk
For the marinate
1tsp red chili powder
½ tsp pepper powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1tsp ginger garlic paste
1tsp yogurt
1tsp oil
1tsp lime juice
Salt to taste

In a shallow bowl, mix the marinate ingredients. Massage it on both sides of the fillet. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Soak the raw rice in cold water, and set aside for 30 minutes. In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a good boil. Add salt and 1tsp oil. Drain the raw rice and add it in. Let it cook till it is 50% cooked. Drain and set aside.

Use a large quart pan with a thick bottom, or a cooker pan. Add in 3tsp ghee. When it begins to shimmer, on medium heat, add whole garam masala. When you smell the aroma of the spices, add whole mint leaves, slit green chilies and onions. After a minute, spread the onion mixture uniformly in the pan, to make a bed. Lower the heat. Arrange the marinated fish fillets. Let it cook for about 1 minute. Gently turn over to the other side. The fish should be half cooked. Remove all the fillets and place it on a platter.

Increase the pan heat to medium. Add 1 tsp ghee, add ginger garlic paste, and roast for another 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium high. Add in tomatoes. Cook a minute, add in the biriyani masala powder, salt, turmeric, chopped cilantro, yogurt, and any leftover marinate. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add lime juice.

Take 3-4tsp of the cooking mixture and pour it over the cooked fish in the platter. Set aside. It is time to add the cooked rice now. Pour it over the yogurt mixture, and spread it evenly. Now pour this rice mixture into a baking dish.  Layer the top of the biriyani with the fish. Seal the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Set the oven to 350 degree F. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check to see if the rice is completely cooked. Do the finger test. The rice should mash completely between 2 fingers and should be dry, not gooey. The fish will sure by flaky by now. You may cook it on a stove top too, but I prefer the oven. It saves me the trouble of constantly peeping in to check if the bottom has not charred. In the oven, its cooked in steam on the inside. The taste is just so special. 

Garnish it with fresh cilantro and some ghee. First take out the fish onto a plate, and then add the rice on the side. Serve hot with a yogurt salad, or cucumber. Enjoy!