Salmon Biryani Rice, A Quick Recipe

Salmon Biryani

Mamta Gupta

Biryani is traditionally quite a rich dish, taking quite a while to prepare and cook. Here I have made it very simply, with fresh salmon, but you can use other fish of choice. A biryani can be a full meal in itself, but can be served as part of a special meal/party. It is often served with a chilli dish called Mirchi Ka Salan. Serves 2-3


  • For boiling the rice

  • 1 1/2 cup, about 250 gm. Basmati or other long grain rice, Basmati is best

  • 5-6 cups water to boil the rice by pasta method

  • A small sprig of mint leaves

  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder

  • For layering the biryani

  • 1 large onion (250-300 gm), thinly sliced

  • Enough oil for deep frying or pan frying, as you prefer.

  • 1 tbsp. clarified butter/ghee

  • For cooking the Salmon

  • 250 gm. salmon fillet, skinned and cubed into 2-3 inch pieces

  • 1-1 1/2 cup. frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans, corn kernels)

  • 2 tbsp. oil

  • 1-2 medium sized (300 gm.) onions, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • 1/2 tsp. ginger root, grated/finely chopped

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 1 small cinnamon stick

  • 2-3 green cardamoms (brown ones are too strong for salmon)

  • 6-7 black peppers

  • 1-2 dry red chillies

  • 2 tbsp. tomato puree

  • 1/2 tbsp. Curry Powder. You can use a good ready-made one

  • 1 cup water

  • Salt to taste


  1. Measure and prepare everything in advance, this will make the recipe easier to follow.

  2. Wash rice in running tap water. Drain.

  3. Bring water to boil. Add mint leaves and turmeric, then drained rice.

  4. Boil briskly until 2-3 grain remain. You can check this by squeezing a grain of rice between forefinger and thumb. See photo.

  5. Fry onions for layering the biryani: Deep or pan fry sliced onions and until quite brown in colour. Lift out the onions with a slotted spoon and keep aside in a tea strainer. This will drain excessive oil.

  6. Put this oil aside. It will not be required for further cooking.

  7. Cooking the salmon

  8. Heat the 2 tbsp. oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns, red chillies, green cardamoms, cinnamon, bay leaves.

  9. Stir for a few seconds until cumin seeds crackle. Add onions, ginger, garlic pastes. Fry until soft and medium brown.

  10. Add curry powder and salt. Stir-fry for a few seconds.

  11. Add tomato puree and stir-fry for 10-20 seconds, until well mixed.

  12. Add frozen vegetables and stir-fry for a minute or two.

  13. Add water and bring to boil.

  14. Add salmon. Mix gently and cook for a few minutes, taking care not to break the fish or vegetables. Turn heat off. Salmon should not be cooked for too long, only a few minutes.

  15. Putting the Biryani together:

  16. Grease and oven proof bowl with a little ghee.

  17. Spread half of the rice at its base. Dot it with a little ghee.

  18. Spread the Salmon-vegetable mix over it evenly.

  19. Spread the remaining half of rice evenly over it.

  20. Sprinkle the fried onions on top.

  21. Cover with aluminium foil and then a tight fitting lid. You can now leave it in a fridge, to be served later, even next day.

  22. Before serving, cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 C. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until rice is steaming hot. You can cook it in a microwave oven for 5-6 minutes, but do not use aluminium foil if you do this. Traditionally, the lid of a Biryani was sealed with dough. It was then cooked on a low charcoal fire, with a few dying coals on the top of the lid. This is called Dum method.

  23. You can serve it in the ovenproof dish that you have cooked the final stage in, or take it out on a platter.

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