Ilish Biryani

Ilish Biryani

Ilish Biryani

Ilish Biryani is an exquisite fusion dish that combines the rich flavors of Hilsa fish with aromatic and spiced basmati rice. This mouth-watering recipe is perfect for special occasions or when you want to try something new with Hilsa fish. Follow the recipe below to prepare Ilish Biryani at home.


  • 500g Hilsa fish, cut into 4-5 pieces
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp biryani masala powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fried onions (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup milk, mixed with a pinch of saffron
  • 4 tbsp ghee or oil
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tbsp of ghee or oil. Add the sliced onions and cook until golden brown. Remove half of the onions and set aside for garnishing the biryani later.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste to the pot and sauté for a minute. Next, add the chopped tomato and cook until it becomes soft and pulpy.
  4. Stir in the yogurt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and biryani masala powder. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the Hilsa fish pieces to the pot and gently mix to coat them with the masala. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chopped mint and cilantro leaves. Stir gently and remove the pot from heat.
  6. In a separate pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice and salt to taste. Cook the rice until it is 70-80% done, then drain the water and set the rice aside.
  7. To assemble the biryani, start by spreading a layer of cooked rice in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Next, spread a layer of the Hilsa fish and masala mixture. Continue layering the rice and Hilsa fish mixture, finishing with a layer of rice on top.
  8. Drizzle the saffron-infused milk and remaining ghee or oil over the top layer of rice. Garnish with the reserved fried onions, and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  9. Cook the biryani on low heat for 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the rice to finish cooking.
  10. Carefully remove the lid and use a fork to fluff the rice. Serve the Ilish Biryani hot with raita or a simple salad, and enjoy the delightful flavors of this unique fusion dish.
Updated: 21 April 2023 — 06:43

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