King Fish Biryani - South Indian Style
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5 people
For marinating the fish
  • King fish- 10 to 12 pieces
  • Chili powder- 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Fennel powder- 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Salt- 2 tsp
For frying fish
  • Oil- enough for frying
For making King fish masala
  • Oil used for frying fish- 5 tbsp
  • Onions, sliced- 4
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 2
  • Kashmiri or regular Chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Fennel powder- ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  • Yogurt (not sour), beaten-3 tbsp
To grind
  • Garlic, chopped- 2 large cloves
  • Ginger, chopped- 2 inch slice
  • Small onions- 6
  • Green chilies- 2 to 4
  • Whole Cardamom- 2
  • Whole Cloves- 2
  • Whole Cinnamon- 2 inch slice
For cooking rice
  • Basmati rice- 2 cups
  • Bay leaves, dried- 2
  • Whole Cardamom- 2
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Water- 3½ cups
  • Salt- 1 tsp
Other ingredients for garnishing
  • Fried onions- 1 Onion, cut thin and long and fried in oil till golden brown.
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Mint leaves, chopped
  1. Clean the king fish steaks under running water, if you want you could cut the steak into medium sized pieces.
  2. Add the spices mentioned for 'marinating the fish', spread all over the fish, let marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Shallow fry the fish in enough oil till golden in color. Avoid over frying the fish, Transfer to a kitchen paper towel.
  4. Place a large pan over medium heat, add 5 tbsp of oil used for frying fish.
  5. Add onions along with curry leaves and ½ tsp salt, cook covered till translucent.
  6. Grind garlic, ginger, small onions, green chilies, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon together to a coarse paste.
  7. When the onions turn soft, add the ground paste, saute for a few minutes.
  8. Cook till onions turn golden brown in color.
  9. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till mashed.
  10. Add chili powder, fennel powder, coriander powder and ½ tsp salt, combine well.
  11. Add the fried fish and gently combine everything.
  12. Add beaten yogurt, combine well and cook covered for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove the lid and cook till the liquid in the masala has dried off.
  14. Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside covered.
Cooking Basmati Rice
  1. Soak the rice with 3 cups water for 15 minutes.
  2. Rinse the soaked basmati rice taken in a large strainer under running water.
  3. Combine rice, bay leaves, whole cardamom, ghee, salt and water.
  4. Cook in a rice cooker till the rice has cooked well. Or cook in a saucepan over stove top for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. In a large pan or wok, spread half of the fish masala as the first layer.
  6. Top with half of the rice as the second layer.
  7. Sprinkle chopped cilantro, mint leaves and fried onions.
  8. Again repeat layering with fish masala, rice, finally top it with cilantro, mint leaves and fried onions.
  9. Close the pan tightly with aluminum foil and then with its lid.
  10. Place the pan over low flame and cook for 10 minutes.
  11. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and keep aside covered for a few minutes.
  12. While serving, combine the rice and fish masala together, serve on a plate along with raita and pickle.
Adjust the spice level according to your needs, if you like it spicy increase the amount of chili powder or green chilies accordingly.
This biryani, in fact all biryanis taste better when it sits for sometime, it would taste even more better the next day.
Recipe by Cooking with Thas - Healthy Recipes, Instant pot, Videos by Thasneen at