Skip to main content

Delicious Fish Biryani- Kerala Fish Dum Biryani

Delicious Fish Biryani- Kerala Fish Dum Biryani

Are you a biryani lover? If you are looking for delicious fish recipes this Kerala-style fish dum biryani is a must-try. It is an irresistibly delicious, soul-satisfying meal and packed with flavor. Fish Biryani is easy to make for a lazy weekend meal or when you have last-minute company. Fish takes very little time to cook, and there is no compromise to taste. It tastes exotic and is finger-licking good. It is a classic combo of rice and fish masala topped with caramelized onions, nuts, cilantro, and mint. There are countless variations of Biryani in India, and each region has its unique flair and taste. For fish biryani, coconut milk, and Malabar spices, add a unique Kerala touch.

Kerala-style fish dum biryani is a filling meal that everyone loves. In Kerala, almost everyone loves  fish. The clues of the cuisine of Kerala lie in its geography. The state of Kerala, in South India, is blessed, with a long coastline, rivers, backwaters, and fish are abundant. Coconut, rice, and fish are indispensable in the culinary traditions of Kerala.  I have made fish biryani several times for guests and friends, and they loved it. 

The fish masala is the most important in this recipe. It is best to fry the fish pieces before adding the tomato yogurt masala. Earthy spices and ghee make the rice fragrant. The rice and fish masala is layered and topped with crispy onions and nuts. Bone-in fish steaks hold up well for biryani especially, Kingfish. Fish biryani can be made in a jiffy, and fish is healthy too. If you are trying this recipe, please share your experience and how it turned out for you. Happy Cooking!

Cooking Fish Biryani is a two-step process. The rice and the fish masala are cooked separately. It is then beautifully layered with additional garnishes like fresh herbs, toasted nuts, and fried onions. The masala consists of onion, tomato, and yogurt with a flavorful blend of earthy spices and herbs. You can use any rice like Basmathi rice or jeerakashala rice. Coconut milk adds more flavor to the rice, but it is optional. Do not discard the oil in which you fried the fish. Use the same pan to make the tomato masala.  Saffron, ghee, nuts, and raisins add richness and taste. Fresh herbs like cilantro and mint add another layer of flavor.
Coconut milk adds more flavor to the rice, but it is optional. The best rice to liquid ratio is 2:1. To cook the rice mix, water, and coconut milk or add fish stock for delicious flavor. Bone-in fish steaks hold up well for pulao especially, Kingfish, pomfret, and Indian mackerel. Tuna, salmon, halibut, seer fish are all great options. Fish biryani doesn’t call for any side dish. It is best when served with some spicy pickle and yogurt/ raita and salad. Here are a few serving suggestions if you have company. Your guest will love it with fish fry, fish pickle, fish roast, yogurt/ raita and salad, and fritters, like potato chips and pappadam.

Delicious Fish Biryani- Kerala Fish Dum Biryani

For the rice

Basmathi rice- 3 cups
Water - 6 cups
salt as needed
Whole garam masala
(cinnamon- a small piece, clove 3,cardamon 2)
ghee- 1/2 tsp

To marinate the fish
King fish - 1 kg
Chilly powder- 1 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Lemon juice- a few drops

For the masala

Onion- thinly sliced- 1
Shallots/pearl onions- 8-10 (crushed)
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbs
Green chilly- 6-8
Yogurt- 1/2 cup
Coconut milk-1/2 cup
Tomato- 1
Chilly powder- 1 tbs
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Biryani masala/Garam masala- 1 1/2 tsp (Check recipe below)
Fennel powder- 1/2 tsp
Chopped coriander leaves- a handful
Mint leaves- a few

For the Garnish
Onion thinly sliced- 1 medium onion
(Approximately one cup of fried onion)
Raisins- 3 tbs
Cashew nuts- 10-15
Ghee- 3 Tbs
Oil- 3-4 tbs

Biryani Masala
You can use garam masala or Kerala style biryani masala. Dry roast all the ingredients below and using a blender, make it into a fine powder. Use approximately one and one half tsp of the masala powder.

Cinnamon stick- 1 inch stick
Whole pepper- 1 tsp
Cardamon- 3
Fennel seed- 1 tsp
Cumin- a pinch
Javitri- 2
Nutmeg- small piece
Star Aniseed- 2

Soak rice for half an hour, drain and set aside. Heat a heavy bottom pan and add one tsp ghee into it. When hot, add the rice and stir fry on a low flame so that the oil coats the rice. Pour in 6 cups of water. Add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom( preferably tie the whole spices in a cheesecloth, and put it into the boiling water), mint, and salt to taste. When the rice is 70% cooked, drain it and spread it on a plate for cooling.
Fry Onions till they are crispy. Roast cashews and then add raisins. Keep this aside for garnish.

Wash fish using salt and lemon juice. Marinate the fish with the ingredients listed and set aside for half an hour. Shallow fry them for two minutes on either side. Fry it till it is slightly roasted( not like usual fish fry). Reserve the oil to make the fish masala.

Heat oil in a pan and add in crushed or finely chopped garlic, ginger, green chilly, and mint leaves and fry for a minute. Add sliced onions and crushed shallots and fry till golden brown. Add finely chopped tomatoes and saute till it is soft. Now add in the turmeric powder, chilly powder and saute for two minutes ( you can also add coriander powder - 1/2 tsp if you like). Take one spoon full of this cooked onion masala, mix it into the yogurt and blend well. Now add this to the masala ( this will prevent it from curdling). Pour half a cup of hot water and stir well. Carefully place the fish pieces, pour the lemon juice cover, and simmer for around 5 minutes.

Layering the Biryani
In a heavy bottom pan, layer half the cooked rice and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and some fried onions, nuts, and raisins. Drizzle one tablespoon of ghee. Layer the fish pieces and the masala. Layer the rest of the rice on top of the fish masala. Garnish the top of the rice with chopped coriander leaves, fried nuts and raisins, and fried onions. Pour 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk finally on top of the rice.  Coconut milk adds more flavor to the biryani and keeps it moist. Adding coconut milk is optional. Sprinkle cardamom powder, and drizzle some ghee and juice of 1/2 a lemon juice. You can add soaked saffron or a bit of yellow color if you like. Cover tightly and set in low flame for 10- 12 minutes ( or place a Tawa first and then the biryani vessel) for the biryani to steam and the flavors to develop. Serve warm with pappadam, pickle, and raita or yogurt. Enjoy!

You might also like,

Kerala Style Fish Masala Roast
Easy and Delicious Fish Biryani/ Salmon Fish Biryani
Mashed Tapioca/Kappa Vevichathu/Puzhukku
20 Best Kerala Christmas Recipes
Ellum Kappa/ Kappa Biriyani- Tapioca and Beef 

Try this..
Hope you will all enjoy...


  1. wow! suja these clicks are tempting me to make it tmrw itself!! can very well imagine the taste!!i had bought some king fish tmrw my lunch menu will be from your blog:)

  2. Wow kothiyayitu oru rakshayum illa kketto..eniku chicken biriyani ye kalum ishtam fish biriyaniyaa..

  3. Omg, thats a delicious fish biryani,soooo tempting and loving it.

  4. biriyani looks superb, mouth watering

  5. I am a fan of i will try this for sure

  6. Wow..nice biryani with fish...i am tempted now..

  7. I am hungry now and seeing that plate made me crave for this..Adipoli biriyani...

  8. omg..kandittu kothi sahikkunnilla...aa plate ingu kittiyirunnenkil...

  9. What a lovely recipe..It looks absolutely delicious!

  10. Tempting for a veggie like me adipoli

  11. Tempting biryani...super aayittundu....

  12. It looks absolutely delicious and perfect...Tempting Clicks

  13. Adipolittoo..sherikum kothiyavunuttoo.

  14. Such a droolworthy and inviting briyani,just makes me hungry..

  15. Droooolllzzzz .....Luv the fish Biryani !


  16. Lovely Fish Biryani...beautiful click :)

  17. delicious flavourful biryani filling

  18. Wonderful recipe and well tried.Book marking it.I have tried ur ginger prawns .it came out really good.

  19. Wow, I love them a lot n lot n lot Just made them the other day n we were licking our plates! Yours looks too rich!

  20. Suja,what a hearty presentation yaa..Looks tempting and rich.I personally love fish biriyani than any other..The flavour is so unique no ? great suja !

  21. Suja,....thatz a fantastic dish and bookmarking it..yummy .. Already made ur ginger was awesome

  22. Biriyani with fish sounds interesting looks yumm

  23. Love Kerala fish biriyani, simply irresistible.

  24. Suja,I can't take my eyes off this delectably delicious fish biryani. I seriously want to pour the thin coconut milk next time I prepare fish biryani,I am totally hung on this tip:)

  25. Fantastic !!! Quite irresistible

  26. HI ....absolutely delicious...greetings MARIMI

  27. iam not able to take my eyes off the dish.. wanna that rite away.. i cud image how yummy it wud have been!!

  28. hmmmmmmm yummy Biriyani

  29. I'm so hungry looking at your photos! So yummy...

  30. Nice presentation..looks very very inviting..:P
    Tasty appetite

  31. Thanks all for stopping by and for the sweet comments:)
    @Mini do try this will not disappoint you and u will love it..
    @Shanavi thanks for the feedback,glad to know that u enjoyed:)

  32. suja

    if i don try this when i'm in kerala and tell it's not me aaadu thoma :P

  33. adipoli kaalan...super ayittundu..nalla photosum aanu...:)

  34. i m manu,and i love cooking......let me tell u something these are the best recepies i ever saw..everything so detailed ...congratsssssssssssss

  35. Hi manu,
    Thanks for stopping by and a big thanks for your encouraging comment...I am happy that liked my visit again.

  36. Suja. Sawala engene as varkunathu ? Mine turn soggy always. Is there some tip you can give me for this. Pls drop a line at

  37. Made it with salmon, beyond delicious! Thankyou for sharing the recipe.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

12 Best Traditional Kerala Snacks - Tea Time Snacks

 12 Best Traditional Kerala Snacks - Tea Time Snacks  Are you looking for some light bites to indulge during tea time? Well, you have come to the right place. Kerala cuisine has an exhaustive list of traditional tea-time snacks.  The list of ingredients is available in your pantry, making it possible to make these delicious snacks. Many of these snacks, can be quickly whipped up with rice flour, coconut, and jaggery. I am sharing a list of snack recommendations from Kerala that are easy to cook at home. These sweet and savory snacks are heartwarming and will make you nostalgic. It is by no means is a complete list. I am sharing some of the top picks of this blog in one space for easy reference. If you like to try, more recipes check my earlier post on 10 Quick and Easy Kerala Snacks/ Tea time snacks that you can make in under 20 minutes . Do you have any favorite snack that is simple and easy to make? I would love to hear about your favorite traditional snacks. Please share your idea

Kerala Black Halwa/ Karutha Halwa/ Rice Flour Halwa

Kerala Black Halwa/ Karutha Halwa/ Rice Flour Halwa December has finally arrived and it means it is almost Christmas time! How many of you look forward to the Season of Joy! My birthday also comes in December, so it is a double celebration for me :) How is the Christmas planning coming along for everyone? It is exactly three weeks for Christmas and I am planning to share a few recipes for the holidays this year. This is the first one I wanted to share with all of you -Kerala style sweet delicacy- a real nostalgia, the Black Halwa. Halwas has always amazed me with its simplicity, unique texture and taste. It is a gel-like sweet candy that you can never stop eating. When making halwa there is a time-honored cooking technique and halwa making is time-consuming. So people simply prefer to buy it from the shop. But making your own is a rewarding experience. Now many of the traditional sweets are forgotten or get overlooked for fancier ones in bakeries. But that is not the case w

Cauliflower/ Gobi 65

 Gobi 65 Crispy and spicy fried cauliflower it can be served as an appetizer, side dish or as a snack. This is the vegetarian version of chicken 65 and is quick and simple. Ingredients Cauliflower florets- 3 cups 1)Corn Starch- 1/3 cup All purpose flour/maida- 1/2 cup Kashmiri chilly powder-11/2 tsp Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp Ginger garlic paste- 11/2 tsp Garam Masala- 1 tsp Chilly garlic paste- 3 tsp Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp Coriander power- 1/2 tsp Soya sauce- 1 tsp For garnish Onion- 1 medium Bell pepper- 1/2 Coriander leaves- a little Cumin Powder - a pinch Garam masala- 1/2 tsp Curry leaves - a few(optional) Lemon juice- a few drops Cut cauliflower into small pieces.Sprinkle salt and pepper powder and put into micro wave in high for two minutes or just drop into boiling water for a minute and drain(Only half cooked the florets). Mix all the ingredients listed under one to make a smooth batter. Batter should be similar to bhajis  or pakod