Lightened Up Fish Biryani With Fresh Dill #SundaySupper

fish biriyani Fish Biryani! Tender fish cooked in a savory mixture of rice, spices and fresh dill! The heady aroma of dill and spices filled my home when I cooked fish biryani last night! My Sunday Supper team is celebrating dads this week and I made one of my dad’s favorite dishes: fish biryani! I call this a lightened version because I used mainly olive oil to make this dish.  Traditionally any biryani is made using loads of ghee (clarified butter) and since my dear dad has heart issues I made this lightened version using very little ghee and more heart healthy olive oil. I also swapped traditional cilantro with dill in this recipe. I love cilantro but I find dill pairs with fish much better than cilantro in this dish. Fresh dill gives it a unique fresh flavor and creates a light flavorful healthy fish biryani! I seared the fish on both sides with some spices to keep it from breaking up and that holds the fish together when you cook the biryani. I also cooked the fish biryani on the stove for the first part and then popped it into the oven for the last twenty minutes. This ensures evenly cooked rice with a slightly baked flavor. My family loved my fish biryani, a dish inspired by my dad! fish biriyani5 Nutrition Wise!

Fish is a good source of heart healthy omega 3 and lean protein. Add some olive oil and fresh dill and you have a hearty dose of antioxidants! Fish biriyani2 About my dad!

My dad is one of the kindest persons I know of.  He was a zoology professor and I have vivid memories of different kinds of specimens displayed on shelves in our home. I also remember his students dissecting frogs, snakes and fish in our large dining room. No wonder I do not flinch or squeal even when I see the largest bugs. I grew up with them ;) ! My dad lives in India so I don’t see him as much as I’d like but every time I make this lightened version of fish biryani I remember him. fish pulav


Fish Biriyani with Fresh Dill

Serves 10-12
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian


  • 3 cups basmati rice (uncooked)
  • 2 lbs boneless fish (cut into 3 inch slices)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil divided
  • 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3 tsp ginger paste (or grated ginger)
  • 3 tsp garlic paste (or finely diced garlic)
  • 3 tbsp biryani masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup fresh dill (chopped and divided)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp saffron (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt


Biryani masala is available in Asian & Indian stores. Combine equal parts of powdered cumin, coriander, turmeric, fennel with 1/2 quantity of powdered chili, cinnamon, cloves to make your own custom basic biryani masala mix.


Soak rice in water.
Heat 2 tsp oil. Smear fish with cumin, turmeric salt and lightly sear on both sides for 2 minutes. Keep aside.
Heat remaining oil in a deep dish. Add onion and cook about 3-5 minutes till translucent. Add ginger, garllc paste and cook another 2 minutes. Add biryani masala, tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes till oil floats on top..
Add 4 cups water and cook till it boils. Add soaked rice, salt, half of the dill and close the lid. Cook ten minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Open the deep dish, add remaining dill, milk and gently stir the mixture. Rice should be half cooked at this point. Gently slide in fish, saffron, Drizzle the ghee, cover with rice and cover the lid. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Serve warm with yogurt or raita.

Check out what the rest of my Sunday Supper team had cooked up in honor of their dad’s !

Dad’s Favorite Main Dishes: 


  1. I love Fish Biriyani, so a lighter version means I can have seconds right?
    Laura recently posted…Daddy’s Favourite Pecan Pie #SundaySupperMy Profile

  2. I never heard of Biriyani before but your dish looks amazing!!
    Jennifer recently posted…Skillet Meat Lasagna #SundaySupperMy Profile

  3. Nice recipe. Thank you so much. Your dad’s favourite – that’s great!

  4. Oooo! I have fresh dill in the garden begging to be used. This looks like a perfect use!

  5. What a perfect recipe to dedicate to your Dad. I couldn’t even imagine growing up as a Zoology Professors daughter. How awesome was that!
    Megan recently posted…Happy Fathers Day! Cast Iron Filet Mignon #SundaySupperMy Profile

  6. Oh my goodness Sue! I can’t stop looking at this incredible fish. What absolutely gorgeous photos. Incredible job. And you are so right about how dill goes so well with seafood.
    Renee recently posted…Golden Coconut Bars for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  7. I personally do not like fish except fried due of the bone :(
    I think I should try this recipe as alternative of fried fish. Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  8. I’ve been trying to cook more fish lately, Sunithi, so this dish is perfect. Loads of spice and flavor! Which we love. Thank you!
    Stacy recently posted…Barbecue Beans and Pork Ribs for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  9. Great recipe for Father’s Day, love all the ingredients!!
    Tara recently posted…Spicy Caramelized Bacon Wrapped Smoked Oysters for Father’s Day #SundaySupperMy Profile

  10. Lovely! I\’ve never put dill in my bryani before but now I\’ll fix that up super soon.

  11. Your fish looks so good and the pictures are lovely. Love all the flavors and spices!
    Family Foodie recently posted…Easy Family Friendly Recipes #WeekdaySupperMy Profile

  12. This sounds amazing – I know all the staff at school would go for this
    Sarah Reid, CNP ( recently posted…Chewy Oat Cookies with a Banana Bread Influence for a Father’s Day #SundaySupperMy Profile

  13. I love the ways you lightened this up, but it still looks just as amazing as the original!
    Lori recently posted…social power and my nemesis, the plastic bagMy Profile

  14. What a beautiful dish, and I love that you lightened it up for your father – I am sure I’d like it that way too!
    Katie recently posted…Mixing black, white, and brownMy Profile

  15. Sue, this post is making me drool big-time! That fish nestled in that fragrant rice is calling my name. What a cool job your dad had! Maybe if I grew up surrounded by bugs ‘n creepy crawlies, I wouldn’t be so freaking terrified of them now! It’s too bad your dad lives so far away but it’s lovely that you made this fish biryana in his honour.
    Nancy recently posted…Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins for an Angry Asian RantMy Profile

  16. Yuuuummmm! Being a housewife is just rewarding when you know your family loves the meal you prepared. And this will definitely make my job a whole lot happier!

  17. I can almost taste this with all of those seasonings you have going on. SO yum!
    Jen recently posted…Crunch Burgers with Horseradish Mustard Sauce ~ June #PassTheCookbookClub!My Profile

  18. I LOVE the pictures! Looks time consuming but very worthwhile. On my ‘to do’ list!


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