Fish Biryani

Cook time 1 hour and 15 minutes
Servings 4


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, finely sliced

1 x 3 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped

3 tbsp Madras curry paste

1 x 400g can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

1 x 400ml can coconut milk

250g frozen spinach, thawed

300g (1 ½ cups) basmati rice

2 cardamom pods, crushed

1 fresh bay leaf

700 g blue-eye trevalla fillets (or kingfish, swordfish, blue grenadier or salmon), cut into 5 cm chunks

100g jarred mango pickles

20g (1/4 cup) crispy fried shallots


Fish Biryani


Heat the oil in a 3L ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes to soften and caramelise before adding the ginger. Stir regularly for 2 minutes, then add the curry paste and cook for a minute until fragrant. Tip in the tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon, then pour in the coconut milk. Turn the heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, stirring regularly so the sauce doesn’t catch, for 10 minutes until thick. Add the spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool for 10–15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Rinse the rice 3–4 times in cold water until the water runs clear. Pour 1L of water into a large saucepan, add the cardamom and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Add the rice and a pinch of salt and cook for 5–8 minutes until al dente. Drain, reserving the cardamom and bay leaf to flavour the rice while it cooks in the oven.

Place the fish in the sauce and fold through. Top with the rice, spread out evenly with the back of a spoon and sprinkle on 3 tbsp of water to ensure the rice steams and stays moist. Dollop on the mango pickles, cover with foil and a tight-fitting lid and bake for 40 minutes until the rice is cooked. Scatter over the crispy fried shallots.