1. Fish - Around 3/4 - 1 kg, cleaned and cut into medium-sized pieces
2. Basmati Rice - 2.5 cups
3. Chilli powder - 2 tbsp
4. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
5. Pepper powder - 1 tbsp
6. Coriander powder - 2 tsp
7. Ginger - Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
8. Fennel powder - 1.5 tbsp
9. Yoghurt - 2 tbsp
10. Salt - To taste
11. Onion - 2 large, sliced (Use pearl onions(15-20) to make the gravy more tasty. Crush them along with ginger, garlic, green chillies and the whole spices)
12. Tomato - 2 medium chopped
13. Green chillies - 6
14. Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
15. Garlic - 5-6
16. Ginger - 2 inch piece
17. Whole Spices - Cloves- 8-10, Whole pepper corns - 8 - 10, Cinnamon Sticks - 2, Cardamom - 2-3, Bay leaves - 2, Mace - 3-4, star anise - 1, fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp)
18. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
19. Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
20. Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
21. Coriander powder - 1 tsp
22. Biriyani masala powder - 1 tbsp ( I usually use home-made garam masala but for this recipe I used bombay biriyani masala powder available in the stores here. I always add fennel powder, if I do not use my home-made masala since its flavour predominates my masala powder.)
23. Fennel powder - 2 tsp
24. Salt - To taste
25. Oil - As required
26. Fried onion - 1/2 cup
27. Cilantro - 1/2 cup
28. Mint - 1/2 cup
29. Fried cashews and raisins - 1/2 cup
To cook rice I usually follow the draining method. Soak the basmati rice for around 30 mts. Boil water in a deep vessel. To the boiling water add ghee 2 tsp, lemon juice half lemon, whole spices (peppercorns- 10, cloves 6, cardamoms - 2, bay leaves-2, cinnamon - 2, fennel seeds 1tsp, star anise- 2 and mace - 3). I usually add lots of whole spices. Add enough salt. The water should be slightly salty. Now add the soaked rice and cook it to the perfect consistency. Drain the water and allow the rice to cool.
1. Marinate the fish pieces with the items under marinade for at least 4-5 hrs. Keep it in the refrigerator.
2. Shallow fry the fish fillets in oil and keep aside.
3. Crush together ginger, garlic, green chillies and half of the whole spices mentioned under the ingredients for masala.
4. In a wide pan, heat oil and add the remaining whole spices. Saute for a few seconds and add sliced onion. When the onion turns brown add the crushed ginger-garlic-greenchilli-whole spices mixture and saute for a few more minutes.
5. Now add the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves and cook until the tomatoes are all mashed up. Lower the flame and add the masala powders mentioned under the ingredients. Saute for a minute and add 1/2 cup water. Boil the gravy and switch off. Now add the fried fish pieces to this masala and coat them well. Keep aside.
Smear the base of the baking dish with ghee. Then add the fried onions, chopped cilantro, mint, cashews, raisins, and the fish pieces with some gravy. Now add the rice and repeat the process. The topmost layer should be that of rice with the items under garnish. You can pour the gravy over it. Now seal the cookware with an aluminium foil (so that moisture wont escape), cover with its lid and bake it at 350 F for around 25 - 30 mts (depending on the cookware you use). If you are planning to keep it for long, cook the rice only till it is 95% done or so. If you are using stovetop keep it at low flame for around 10-15 mts. Serve hot with boiled eggs, raita, pappad and any pickle of your choice. This recipe serves around 5 people.