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Goan Fish Biryani Recipe

11828592_715945958533603_6497945083010939242_nA delicious and flavourful fish biryani from the land of sun and surf – Goa!
The most unique thing about this fish biryani is the addition of grated coconut and black kokum. Though red kokum is used traditionally, I have used black kokum or kudampuli in this one. Medium sized fish like small seer fish or mackerel is best suited for this biryani preparation.

1. For the rice:
• 4 cups, long grained basmati rice; soaked
• 3 green cardamom
• 1 black cardamom
• 3 cloves
• 4 peppercorns
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 star anise
• 1 dry bay leaf
• 2 slit green chillies
• Salt, to season

2. For the fish:
• 8 seer fish (small) pieces
• ½ tsp turmeric powder
• Juice of ½ lemon
• Salt, to season

3. For the masala:
• 3 medium onions, finely sliced
• 2 tbsp fresh ginger garlic paste
• 2 large ripe tomatoes, finely sliced
• ½ cup freshly grated coconut
• ¾ tsp turmeric powder
• 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preference)
• Salt, to season
• 3 dry red chilli (long variety)
• 2 small black kokum (use 3-4 if using red kokum)
• 1 tsp mustard seeds

4. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
5. 4 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
6. 2 cups fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
7. ½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
8. 1 lemon

To prepare the rice:
• Bring 9 cups of water to boil and add the whole spices along with salt and green chillies. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water. Cook till the rice is done 80% and drain. You can either leave the whole spices and chillies in the rice itself or remove it after draining. Keeping the spices in improves flavour of the overall dish.

To prepare the fish:
• Marinate the fish pieces in a paste of turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt for at least 30 minutes. In a large pan, heat the oil and shallow fry the fish pieces till 75% done. Keep aside.

To prepare the masala:
• In the same pan in which the fish was fried, add 2 tbsp ghee. Crackle the mustard seeds and add the dry red chillies.
• Add the sliced onions and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
• Then add the ginger garlic paste and continue to sauté till the onions turn light brown.
• Next add the grated coconut and kokum pieces; sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
• Add the sliced tomatoes and continue to sauté till the tomatoes turn mushy.
• Add the turmeric and red chilli powder; season with salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes on low heat.
• Add ½ cup water and sauté on medium heat till the whole masala comes together.
• Add the fried fish pieces to this and coat well with masala. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes and remove from flame. Discard the kokum pieces.

To assemble the biryani:
• In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp ghee and add a layer of rice. Next add a layer of the fish with masala; sprinkle with coriander and mint leaves.
• Continue to layer and finish off with a layer of rice and herbs on top.
• Cover and cook on very low heat for 10 minutes.
• Serve warm with vegetable raita.

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