For the fragrant rice
Kaima / Jeerakasala Rice –2 cups (I used India Gate Basmathi rice)
Bayleaf – 2
Cinnamon – 1” piece
Cloves – 4 no.s
Cardamom – 4 no.s
Fennel seeds – ¾ tsp.
Ghee –2 tbsp (solid)
Cilantro – few
Mint leaves – few
Rose essence– ½ tsp
Warm milk – ¼ cup
Thalassery biriyani masala powder – 1/4 tsp.
Yellow food colour – a pinch / 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
For the Fish masala
Fleshy fish ( preferably King fish) – 1/2 kg.
Ghee –4 tbsp (solid)
Dalda – 1 tbsp
Thinly Sliced Onion- 3 cups
Coriander powder – 1 dessert spoon (heaped)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Sliced Tomato –1 cup (pureed)
Thick curd – 1/2 cup
Thalassery biriyani masala powder – 1 tsp.
Chopped Coriander leaves – a handful
Chopped Mint leaves – a handful
Curry leaves-1 sprig
Salt – as reqd
For Marinating Fish
Kashmiri chilly powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 3/4 tsp – 1 tsp
Juice of one lemon ( for removing any bad smell of the fish)
Green Chillies – 4 numbers
Garlic – 6 big cloves
Ginger – 1 big piece
Shallots – 6 no.s
Grind them together to a smooth paste in ur grinder. Keep aside.
Almonds – 8 (presoaked & blanched)
Cashewnuts -10 (presoaked)
Poppy seeds – 11/2 tsp ( presoaked)
Grind poppy seeds, cashews and almonds to a smooth paste in ur grinder.
Broken cashew nuts – 1/4 cup
Raisins – 1/4 cup
Dalda – as needed
Boiled eggs – 2
For the Fish masala
Remove the bones & skin of the fish. Wash well & cut into cubes. Immerse in water mixed with lemon juice for 10 minutes. Pat the fish pieces dry. Mix together the ingredients for marinating fish. Marinate the fish pieces and allow it to stand for half an hour at room temperature. Fry the fish pieces for 4-5 minutes on both sides till slightly crispy.
Heat ghee and dalda ( / u may use a little oil left after frying the fish filltes if health conscious) add the onions and saute them till golden brown. Reserve 2 tbsp. of fried onions for garnish.
Mix in the ground shallot, green chili, ginger and garlic paste and saute them for 10 minutes. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder and sauté for a minute and then add the pureed tomato. Stir till oil starts to separate. Stir in the curd & fry on medium low heat for 5 minutes.
Mix the ground poppy seed, almond and cashewnut paste with 1 cup of water. Add this solution to the masala paste and bring to a boil. Now add the fried fish pieces, coriander leaves, curry leaves and biriyani masala powder, mix well. Bring to a second boil & add more salt if needed. Cover and cook for 25 minutes on low heat, stirring occassionally (please don’t break the fish pieces!) .There should be some thick gravy left. Switch off the heat.
For the fragrant rice
Wash and drain the rice well. If using Basmathi rice soak it in water for 30 minutes. Heat ghee and add all the spices. When fragrant add the rice and fry till opaque. Add 4 cups boiling water and 2 tsp of salt into it. Bring to a second boil, lower heat and cover cook rice till soft and all the water is absorbed. Let it stand undisturbed for 10 more mins.
Heat a little dalda in a pan and roast cashews and raisins till brown and keep it aside.
For the layering and dum
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix sugar, yellow food color, 1/4 tsp of biriyani masala powder and rose essence with warm milk and keep aside.
Take a heat proof dish and smear it with ghee, add half the cooked rice Sprinkle a little rose flavoured milk on the rice; spread half of the chopped mint& cilantro. Put the fish pieces and gravy over the rice, followed by the remaining rice & chopped mint-cilantro. Pour the remaining rose flavoured milk over the rice. Cover the dish tightly with an Al foil.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes.
Keep it undisturbed for 30 minutes.
At the time of serving garnish with fried onions, cashews, raisins and boiled eggs.
For the biriyani masala:-
Heat together 1 tbsp shahjeera/ caraway seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 2 1″ piece cinnamon, 1 nutmeg, 3 mace petals, 10 cloves, 8 cardamom, 1 bayleaf & 1 star aniseed & powder them in your coffee grinder. Store in an air tight container.