TIN FISH BIRYANI
This Indian Recipe Serves 3-4
A Classic Indian Tin Fish biryani is not your typical specialty. The taste has no words to describe & you will most probably only find this dish in the Indian homes of South Africa, as not many restaurants have this dish on the menu.
My gran used prepare this delicious Tin Fish Biryani for the family & her biryanis were always the best in my opinion. This recipe is hers & I hope you will enjoy the flavour it has to offer.
Biryani otherwise called biriyani or biriani, is a blended rice dish with its origins among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is mainstream all through the subcontinent & among the diaspora from the area. It is made with flavors, rice, meat &/or vegetables.
This dish can be prepared using long grain basmati rice or parboiled rice.
South Africans usually prepare biryanis’ with parboiled rice.
“Biryani” is a Urdu word got from the Persian dialect, which was utilized as an official dialect as a part of various parts of medieval India, by different Islamic administrations.
Tin Fish is “Pilchard” or “Sardine” which are regular names used to allude to different little, sleek fish inside the herring group of Clupeidae. The term sardine was initially utilized as a part of English amid the mid fifteenth century & may originate from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once rich.
Tin Fish Biryani Ingredients:
- 1 onion, slivered
- 2 tomatoes, grated or blended
- 1 teaspoon ginger & garlic paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 potatoes
- vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon jeera powder
- 1 teaspoon dhania powder
- 2 tablespoons chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder + additional 1 teaspoon
- salt to taste
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ¼ cup biryani dhall (masoor)
- ¼ cabbage
- 3 eggs
- 1 sprig thyme
- ¼ teaspoon jeera (cumin) seeds
- ¼ teaspoon soomph (fennel) seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- yellow food coloring
- 1 can (400 grams) tin fish
- 1 ½ cups rice
- fresh dhania (coriander), for garnishing
- 5-6 teaspoons butter or margarine
- Place rice in a medium sized pot.
- Wash rice until water runs clear. Fill pot with water & allow to soak for 10 minutes.
- Thereafter, rinse again & fill the pot with water & place on the stove top on medium heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt to taste, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 2 bay leaves & 1 cinnamon stick. Boil for 15-20 minutes, until soft but not mushy or overcooked.
- Once the rice has cooked, strain & set aside.
- Place the biryani dhall (masoor) in a small pot.
- Rinse the biryani dhall (masoor). Cover with water, add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil & boil until soft but not mushy.
- Drain & set aside.
- Place eggs in a small pot, fill with water, add a pinch of salt & bring to a boil. (Click here to find out how to properly hard boil eggs).
- Once the eggs have boiled, remove the shells & set aside in a bowl.
- Peel potatoes.
- Cut potatoes into quarters.
- Place the potatoes into a microwavable bowl & microwave on high for 3 minutes.
- Once the potatoes have steamed in the microwave, remove & add ¼ teaspoon of yellow food colouring onto potatoes & mix well.
- In another pot, heat a little oil & place coloured potatoes in to fry on low heat.
- Once potatoes are cooked throughout, remove from oil & set aside.
- Slice onions & set aside.
- Using only ½ of the onions – fry the ½ in the same oil that the potatoes were frying in until browned.
- Once the onions have browned, remove & set aside.
- Slice the cabbage.
- Place the sliced cabbage into a bowl.
- Fill the bowl with boiling water & set aside. This process will kill the gas from the cabbage.
- Cut tomatoes in halves & grate the flesh of the tomatoes in a bowl. Alternatively, blend them in a blender without removing the skin.
- Next clean out the tin fish. Empty contents of the can into a bowl. Under low running tap water, gently hold one pilchard at a time & rub of the black scales on the fish. Thereafter gently open the pilchard & remove the bone. Do this for all & set aside in a bowl.
- Be sure not to discard of the tomato sauce that the pilchards were in, as we will be needing that for this Tin Fish Biryani recipe.
- In a much bigger pot, add in about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil, when oil is slightly hot, drop in the remaining onions.
- Next, add in the whole spices which include thyme, curry leaves, jeera (cumin) seeds & soomph (fennel) seeds. I did not add other whole spices such as cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, elachie or star aniseeds as these are already in my ground spices but you may add those if you desire.
- Simmer until onions are translucent.
- Add in the ground spices which include, turmeric powder, garam masala, jeera powder, dhania powder & chilli powder. Also add in the ginger & garlic paste.
- Mix well & simmer for 30 seconds.
- Add in the grated or blended tomatoes.
- Pour in a little boiled water & mix well.
- Allow tomatoes to cook for about 10 minutes until melted.
- Once the oil has surfaced, add in the cabbage with some boiled water. Discard of the water that the cabbage had been soaking in.
- Mix well & allow to cook until cabbage is soft.
- When the cabbage is cooked, add in the cleaned tin fish, the tomato sauce that was initially in the can & salt to taste.
- Gently mix & allow the fish to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Once the tin fish is cooked, turn off the heat & set aside.
- Thereafter, add ½ teaspoon yellow food colouring to the cooked rice for some colour but this step is completely optional.
- Mix well so that most of the grains are coated with that orange colour.
- Next, add the biryani dhall (masoor) to the rice.
- Mix well.
- Gradually add the rice mixture to the cooked tin fish, gently stirring as you add the rice.
- The rice & the tin fish curry should become one.
- Leave about ½ cup rice aside (do not add it in the curry mixture).
- Next, I prefer emptying the whole mixture into a wide pot, but this step is up to you.
- Add the fried potatoes & thereafter cover with the left-over rice.
- Next, slice the boiled eggs in half & place over the rice.
- Top with the fried onions.
- Garnish with freshly chopped coriander (dhania).
- Add the butter or margarine.
- Cover pot with lid & place in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
- The Tin Fish Biryani is now ready to dig in to.
- Serve this Tin Fish Biryani with pickles or salads &/or pea dhall, curried dhall.
- I served it with Carrot Sour Milk Salad.