Guide to making Emirati Fish Biryani
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Serves: 5 to 6
1kg basmati rice
1 kg king fish
50 gms carrot
50 gms green chilli
3 dried lemon
500 gms red onion
300 gms tomato
100 gms ginger
100 gms garlic
1/2 tbsp Arabic masala (typically consists of cumin seed, whole fennel seed, whole coriander seed, pepper corn, cinnamon sticks, dried red chillies, turmeric powder)
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp fish masala
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
50 gm garam masala powder
1 tbsp salt or as per taste
200 gms corn oil or vegetable oil
100 gm ghee or clarified butter
For fish marinade
1 kg king fish
50 gms fish masala
10 gms turmeric powder
50 gms chilly powder
20 ml lemon juice
10 gm white pepper powder
10 gm salt or to taste
1. In a pre-heated cooking pot, add ghee, cumin powder and cut onions. Sauté until the onions start to turn golden
2. Add cut tomatoes and whole green chillies. Whole green chillies give a smoky, upfront flavour and not necessarily increase the hotness of the food.
3. Add Arabic spice, turmeric powder, cumin powder and garam masala to the sauce pan and mix them well. You may turn off the gas for now, till we deep fry the fish.
To marinate the fish:
4. Mix fish masala, turmeric powder, chilly powder, lemon juice, white pepper powder and salt and make it into a paste.
5. Smear the paste on the king fish and let it sit in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
Deep fry the fish
6. Take the fish out from the refrigator and bring it down to room temperature.
7. In a frying pan, heat oil for deep frying the fish. One by one slowly slide the fish with a frying ladle into the hot oil.
8. In 2 to 3 minutes gently flip the fish, to let the upper side fry. Since the oil is very hot, be careful while turning it over. Use the frying ladle and a par of tongs, if need be.
9. Once the edges of the fish turn slightly brown and the texture starts looking slightly crisp, remove it and place it on a plate and keep aside.
10. Turn on the gas and give the ingredients in the pan a stir. After 10 to 15 seconds add freshly pound ginger-garlic mix and fish masala to it. Combine well.
11. Mix the ingredients well and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the ginger-garlic begins to release an aroma. Let it cool for a while before grinding into a fine paste.
To Cook the rice
12. Soak long-grained basmati rice for 30 minutes in water. Then, in a cooking-pot add water (should be double the quantity of rice) and bring it to a boil. Add a little oil. Adding oil in boiling water at this stage prevents rice grains from sticking together.
13. Let the rice cook for 15 to 20 mintues on low flame. Once the rice is 75 per cent cooked, it will look like how it is in the picture below. You should only let the rice cook 3/4th or 75 per cent because while layering it biryani and placing it under 'dum' (dum is a Persian word derived from 'Dumpukht' which means air-cooked or baked), will make it cook a further.
14. In a separate pre-heated pan, add ghee or clarified butter. Then add the onion- and tomato-based freshly blended paste and mix it well.
15. Now, add the fried fish in the sauce pan and smear it with the paste. Collect one of the fish and keep it aside.
16. Layer the fish with the cooked biryani rice and drizzle a little ghee or clarified butter.
17. Add the other fried fish on the rice and garnish it again the same way with fried onion, dried fruits, mint and coriander leaves.
18. Cover the rice with a lid and let it cook on 'dum' for 20 minutes.
Serve hot with fresh cut onions and raita (yoghurt-based dip).