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South Asian Fish Biryani Recipe | Desi~licious RD

5 from 1 vote
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Desi-liciously spiced with layers of fragrant basmati rice, grilled peppers and flaky masala haddock fillets, cooked in a tomatoey sauce infused with cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and saffron to create a biryani recipe that'll knock your socks off!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main, Main Course
Servings: 9 people
tray of south asian fish biryani with a cinnamon stick on top



  • 2 cups basmati rice washed thoroughly
  • 6 cups water for boiling rice


  • 12 shishito peppers you can also use bell peppers
  • 1 tsp olive oil extra virgin


  • 8 haddock fillets (908 g) medium pieces, frozen, defrosted and dried with paper towels.
  • ½ cup gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil frying all the fillets - divide into two batches if needed

Biryani sauce & layering

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 10 green cardamom seeds removed and crushed
  • 2 black cardamom seeds removed and crushed
  • 1 cinnamon 3-inch stick
  • 2 bay leaves large
  • 4 onions medium, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • 8 prunes dried. You can use plums as well
  • 12 tomatoes medium, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tsp salt sea salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder red
  • tsp saffron
  • 2 tbsp milk any type



  • Start by thoroughly rinsing the rice. You will need to do this at least three times.
  • In a medium pot, add the drained rice along with 6 cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium/high and continue to boil for 7 minutes.
  • Drain and spray with cold water and set aside.


  • Drizzle olive oil on the peppers and grill for a few minutes until charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.


  • Defrost the haddock fillets and pat dry using paper towels.
  • In a medium plate, add the flour, garam masala, salt and pepper and mix.
  • Coat each fillet with the flour-spice mix.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan and pan-fry four fillets at a time for a couple of minutes. The intention is not to cook these through. Remove from pan and place on a plate with kitchen towels to absorb any excess oil. Repeat this step with the remaining defrosted fillets.

Biryani & layering

  • Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the cumin, cardamoms, cinnamon and bay leaves.
  • Add the onions and plums and cook until the onions turn light brown.
  • Add in the cubes of fresh tomatoes along with turmeric and chilli. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.
  • Place the fish fillets in the sauce and gently coat the pieces with sauce. Cover and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens. It should not be watery.
  • Preheat the oven at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a small ramekin, warm the milk and saffron in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  • Transfer your fish curry into a large dish. To create the first layer, add four fillets and enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pot. Add a handful of grilled peppers - spread all around. Follow with half of the rice. Repeat this step and end with any leftover sauce and peppers. Make sure you add most of the sauce to the bottom layers - with a bit saved for the top.
  • Pour the saffron milk on top.
  • Send in the preheated oven for 15 minutes (middle shelf).


  1. Opt for Basmati rice; the grains are nice and long and become fluffy once cooked
  2. Don't forget to dry the fish before coating with the flour-spice mix
  3. Make sure your oil is well heated before adding the fillets to the pan - otherwise they will stick
  4. Be mindful not to undercook/overcook the fish or rice. This will make or break your biryani recipe
  5. If you don't have access to Piments Shishito peppers, opt for your favourite bell peppers (2 should do the trick)
  6. Once cooked, refrigerate and store for up to 3 days
Nutrition Facts
South Asian Fish Biryani Recipe | Desi~licious RD
Amount Per Serving
Calories 436 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 76mg25%
Sodium 1148mg48%
Potassium 1165mg33%
Carbohydrates 63g21%
Fiber 9g36%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 1488IU30%
Vitamin C 36mg44%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please note the nutritional analysis numbers are estimates and suggestions. The nutrition facts table does not know your life; your body - including you hunger and satiety cues - change daily. It’s okay to eat more or less. Let's say no to food guilt and embrace mindfulness.