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 Madeleine Philippe
Cancer Foundation (Aus) Inc

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Fish Bryani
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Fish in bryani sauce
(Alternatively prawns)

  • 700 grams white flesh fish cutlets (or prawns)

  • 1 cup plain yoghurt

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

  • Oil to fry fish (1 cup)

  • 3 medium onions thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic

  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger

  • 1 medium ripe tomato finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder

  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves and roots

  • 2 heaped tablespoons chopped mint leaves

  • 3 tablespoons ghee

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for decoration

  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron colouring

  • Optional and to taste:
    1 teaspoon chilli paste
    1 tablespoon chilli powder

Fish bryani Mauritian


  • 3 cups basmati rice

  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • 4 cardamon pods

  • 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 4 cloves

  • 4 black peppercorns

  • 6 cups hot water

  • 2 teaspoons salt (flush)


    Marinated Fish:

    1.    Carefully cut fish into 2cm cubes, eliminating any fish bones. Use a sharp knife to avoid crushing the fish. Put into a large bowl and sprinkle with the turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional chilli powder. Gently mix together and avoid breaking up or crushing the fish cubes. Cover and allow to marinate for 2 hours or overnight in refrigerator.


    Rice Preparation:

    1.    Wash rice in cold water until it drains clear. Drain all water from rice. Put aside.

    2.    Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a casserole pan large enough to cook and contain the cooked rice, over medium low heat. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves and black peppercorn. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add the medium finely sliced onion and stir fry until the onion slices become transparent.

    3.    Add the drained rice and stir with stir fried onions and other spices. Mix well together and make sure that the rice does not stick to the bottom of pan. Add 6 cups of hot water to rice in pan, add 2 flush tablespoons of salt, mix well, cover and allow to cook over low to medium heat.

    4.    Watch rice carefully and make sure that it is not under or overcooked. When ready, remove from heat and set aside for five minutes. Fluff the cooked rice carefully and gently to loosen the cooked rice grains. Do not scrape nor bring up the burnt layer of rice at the bottom of pan.


    Fish and Bryani Sauce:

    1.    In a deep frying pan, pour 1 cup of vegetable oil. Heat oil over low to medium heat. When oil starts to sizzle, carefully place the fish cubes in batches without touching each other in the pan. Fry fish cubes in batches until fried to a golden colour, carefully remove from pan and drain over kitchen paper. Set aside. (Do not fry prawns beforehand).

    2.    Remove oil from frying pan, except for three tablespoons. Add sliced onions and fry over low heat until it start to turn slightly golden brown.

    3.    Increase heat to medium and add the finely chopped tomato, optional chilli paste, crushed ginger and garlic. Stir fry for 5 minutes until well blended. Make sure that mixture does not stick to bottom of pan.

    4.    Add the garam masala powder, yoghurt, salt to taste (1 tablespoon), chopped coriander and mint leaves. Stir fry for 5 minutes over medium heat. Make sure that mixture does not stick to bottom of pan by gently scraping pan bottom.

    5.    Add fried fish cubes and gently mix with the bryani sauce in pan. Continue cooking until mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.



    1.    In a deep baking tray large enough to contain the rice and fish bryani, place a thin layer of rice alternating with the fish bryani mix and a thicker layer of rice. Be careful not to dislodge the burnt rice from the bottom of the cooked rice pan. Carefully place the fish bryani making sure that the fish and bryani sauce are evenly distributed. The dish looks better if the final layer shows an even combination of rice and fish with bryani sauce.

    2.    Melt 3 tablespoons ghee and sprinkle over mixture in pan. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon saffron colouring in 100 ml of hot water, sprinkle over rice. Cover with aluminium foil and place in oven at 150 degrees centigrade to keep warm. Allow rice to heat through for 20 minutes.

    3.    Just before serving, remove foil and decorate with chopped coriander leaves.

    4.    Serve with a grated cucumber and carrot salad.



    1.    You can substitute the fish with prawns. However, do not fry the prawns beforehand. Just place the marinated prawns into the spice mix and cook until the prawns are thoroughly cooked, but not overcooked.

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