Kingfish Biryani

The recipe for this impressive centrepiece comes from Al Fanar, an Emirati restaurant group. Unlike a regular biryani, here the fish and rice are cooked separately
Kingfish Biryani
ITP Images
Kingfish Biryani
April 28, 2020
Preparation Time 20-25 minutes
Cooking Time 45-50 minutes
Serves Rice serves: 12-15; Kingfish serves: 2 (multiply the recipe by the number of people for whom you’re cooking)
PHOTO BY Aasiya Jagadeesh


For the biryani

4L spinneysFOOD Bottled Drinking Water
30g spinneysFOOD Salt
120ml lemon juice
15g biryani masala spices
8g chicken stock powder
1kg spinneysFOOD Long-Grain Basmati Rice, washed and soaked in cold water
15ml spinneysFOOD Pure Corn Oil
3g cardamom powder
15g butter, melted
30g ghee, melted
20g fried onion, plus extra for garnishing
5g spinneysFOOD Fresh Coriander, chopped, plus extra for garnishing
5ml food colour

For the kingfish

600g king fish
5g spinneysFOOD Fine Turmeric
5g Baharat spice mix
5g spinneysFOOD Salt
spinneysFOOD Pure Sunflower Oil, for frying

For the onion-tomato masala

4 tbsp spinneysFOOD Pure Sunflower Oil
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2½cm piece ginger, minced
3 green chillies, slit
2 large tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp tomato paste
4 tbsp spinneysFOOD Fresh Coriander, chopped
1 tsp bezar spice
¼ tsp spinneysFOOD Fine Turmeric
½ tsp spinneysFOOD Fine Cinnamon
1 loomi (dried lemon)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
spinneysFOOD Salt, to taste
spinneysFOOD Black Pepper, to taste


  • 1

    In a stock pot, boil the water and add the salt, lemon juice, biryani masala spices and chicken stock powder and mix. Once the water is boiling, add the rice and reduce to a medium heat.

  • 2

    Once the rice is almost cooked, strain. Pour the oil into the pot. Sprinkle half the cardamom powder and immediately place the rice back in the pot. Pour the butter and ghee on top. Sprinkle over the fried onion and coriander followed by the food colour.

  • 3

    Cover with the lid and cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove and set aside.

  • 4

    Prepare the kingfish by marinating it with the spices and salt. Deep fry it and set aside.

  • 5

    To make the onion-tomato masala, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and sauté till golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, coriander and sauté well. Add the bezar, turmeric, cinnamon and loomi. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes.

  • 6

    Add the lemon juice and seasoning. Add the kingfish and coat well.

  • 7

    To serve, place a generous helping of the biryani on each plate and top with the kingfish. Garnish with the extra fried onions and coriander.


This is a great option for an iftar gathering. Ready in under an hour and a half, we've chosen to make ours with prawns - but the beauty of this dish is its versatility, so feel free to opt for any protein of your choice!