Yesterday I made Salmon biryani for Ifthaar. I had such a craving for fish biryani as I hadn’t made it in a long time. Unlike me, nobody loves fish in my family. It turned out delicious – just the way I imagined it! I did not touch any of the ifthaar snacks as I could not wait to enjoy it. I made the mint and the yoghurt chutneys which not only complemented it but added a zing to it.
1 lb Salmon (6-8 medium size pieces)
3 onions (medium size)
2 Tomatoes medium size
4-6 Green chillies small
1 tbs Ginger Garlic paste
1/2 a cup thick Yoghurt
A few Mint leaves (Fresh)
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1 inch Cinnamon stick
5 Green cardamoms
2 tsp Red chilli Powder
1 1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tbs Lemon juice
a pinch of Saffron
2 tbs Warm milk
1 1/2 cups Basumati Rice
1/4 cup Vegetable oil + 2 – 3 tbs for frying salmon.
1. Slice the onions and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Make fresh ginger garlic paste and set aside.
2. Wash the basumati rice and let it soak for 30 mins,
3. Rub the salmon pieces with salt, lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp red chilly powder, 1 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp cumin. Marinate for half an hour and set aside.
4. Fry the salmon in the vegetable oil for 2 or 3 mins on each side by turning over only once.
5. Heat the oil in a pot, add the whole spices – cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms then the sliced onions and fry till golden brown.
6. Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and tomatoes and simmer till the tomatoes turn soft. Mix well.
7. Spoon in the whisked yoghurt then the green chillies, mint and cilantro. Mix well and cook till the sauce is smooth.
8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Transfer the sauce to a roaster, add the fried salmon pieces to it and simmer in the preheated oven for 5 mins. Then remove the fried salmon pieces from the sauce and set aside. Dissolve saffron threads in 2tbs warm milk and keep aside.
9.Meanwhile bring to boil 4 to 5 litres of water in a big pot. Add the rice with 2 tbs of salt and cook till half done. To test if the rice is done pinch a rice grain between your index finger and thumb, it should be gritty/ breakable and you should be able to see two or three white spots inside. This is the texture we want so switch off the stove immediately and drain the rice in a colander.
10. Layer the cooked basumathi rice on the sauce in the roaster, add fresh mint leaves, cilantro, then the saffron milk. Now place the cooked salmon pieces that we removed from the sauce on the rice layer. You could sprinkle some more white cooked basumathi rice and chopped cilantro on top just for decoration. Cover the roaster with its lid and steam in the pre-heated oven for 10 – 12 minutes.
11. When done, remove the roaster from the oven and let it rest for 5 – 10minutes. Then mix the rice little by little with a flat spatula by scooping the rice from the bottom and spreading it on the top layer slowly and gently without breaking the fish pieces.
12. Serve the biryani garnished with a little fresh cilantro and enjoy with yoghurt and mint chutney on the side.
Cooking in the instant Pot:
If using the instant Pot, prepare the sauce in the instant pot by following steps 1, 5, 6 & 7 by pressing on “sauté normal” and then cook the fried fish pieces for 5 minutes on “sauté less” then after removing the pieces transfer the 70% cooked basumathi rice as described above, on the sauce in the IP then layer the top with mint, and cilantro, sprinkle saffron milk then place the fish pieces on the top layer, close the lid and steam cook for 5 mins. Vent the steam out 2 minutes after the IP beeps “All done”. Serve hot and enjoy.