Malabari Fish Biryani | Recipe by SuperChef Nandakumar

The Malabar biryani is rich with a liberal use of ghee and aromatic with a medley of spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg, to name a few. Surprisingly, this biryani is not mouth-numbing “hot” but spicy in a good way. It does include red chilies, in powder form.

Kozhikode (Calicut) is known for many things. Amazing local cuisine, beautiful beaches, and a sense of unparalleled camaraderie that goes beyond economic and faith divisions. Calicut also boasts of a long and illustrious past that included a bustling trade in spices with Chinese, Arabs and later on, the Europeans. The local cuisine therefore is known for the sumptuous meat dishes that has Arab influences, and this Fish biryani is the crown jewel. Locals and visitors alike also wax eloquent about Kozhikodan halwa and chips

Biryani is the rhythm of Malabar on the whole. Very soft and subtle, flavorsome , and mellowing too. Apart from all, the good natured people of Kozhikode consider it as their pride and with the love and whole heartedly when they make a biryani, you simply will say its awesome , delicious and the last word yummy too.

Biryani is a culture too for them, not a dish for them ,


Malabari Fish Biryani


  • King Fish darn cut slices: 1 kg
  • Onions sliced: 500gms
  • Long Grain Basmati Rice: 750 gms
  • Tomatoes chopped: 3 nos
  • Cinnamon: 2nos
  • Cardamom: 4nos
  • Cloves: 3nos
  • Shajeera: 1tsp
  • Bay leaf: 2nos
  • Lime Juice: 2Nos
  • Salt: To taste
  • Coriander Leaves: 100 gms
  • Mint Leaves: 50 gms
  • Thick Curd beaten well: 3 tbsp
  • Cashew Nuts & Raisins [together]: 75gms
  • Oil for sautéing / Ghee: 1Tbsp
  • Coconut Milk: 200 ml
  • Jeera Powder ½ tsp
  • Turmeric Powder ½ tsp
  • Chilly Powder: 1tsp


  • Wash, clean Fish Slices, through running cold water and pat dry. Marinate withsalt, turmeric, and Lime Juice.
  • Make a paste of chilly powder, pepper powder, GG, little oil. Smear the paste on the fish slices, cover with a foil and refrigerate.
  • Fry the onions to golden brown color and grind the green chilly coarsely in a pestle and mortar, keep aside.
  • Take out the fish from the refrigerator and keep separate. In a non stick pan deep fry the fish slices to light golden brown color. Keep in a tray.
  • Heat oil in thick bottom degchi , sauté half the quantities of whole spices, add GG paste, ground green chilly and sauté for one minute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and continue sautéing till the tomatoes are well cooked. Then continue cooking with chilly powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, fish masala powder. Add curd, lemon juice, and cook for 5 mts. on med. heat.
  • When the oil rises to the top, place the fish pieces and slowly with out breaking, blend well. Add coconut milk and coriander leaves, mint leaves. Cook till the coconut Milk has a fine blend with Fish masala. Keep aside.
  • In the mean time boil around 2 lts of water add whole spices add rice, that has been soaked in water for 20 mts. When the basmati is ¾ cooked, transfer the rice to a ghee smeared degchi and level the bottom.
  • Then place fish masala, fried onions, coriander leaves, mint leaves and spread evenly. Spread the remaining rice on top and seal with a tight lid and cook for 10 mts on low fire.

Serve biryani hot with Date chutney, and Pomegranate Raita.

Recipes Credits

SuperChef Nandakumar


Chef Nandakumar Menon or ‘Chef Nandu as he is known evolved into the Super Chef series. He was at the CASINO HOTEL in Kochi and later at the remarkable COCONUT LAGOON in Kumarakom. Both iconic Hotels and restaurants of repute for the quality and consistency of food offered at their restaurants. Coconut Lagoon where Chef Nandu headed the kitchen moulded him to cater to international clientele from all over the world coming in to experience the magic of the backwaters of Kerala and Kerala itself as a unique destination.

From his early Catering Technology days at Adayar, Chennai and training at the famed TAJ MAHAL INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, Mumbai, Chef Nandu was back again at the Welcome Group’s ADAYAR PARK INN, Chennai.

Later he headed the setting up of the various F&B outlets of the ABAD PLAZA group, Kochi as its Corporate Chef.

And then with the Quilon Beach hotels, Chef Nandu created a redefined art of culinary expertise. His clientele were Doctors, Cashew businessmen and of course celebrities from the tinsel world, the cloyed connoisseurs had a different feel with his nouvelle cuisine.

He still loves to cook and share his valuable experience of the world of food with The Daily Brunch and its readers in our series on SUPER CHEFS.

See more from SuperChef Nandakumar