Biryani Samak ~ Emirati Fish Biriyani



Life is back to normal. My parents went back home on Thursday night, so the weekend was very drab without them. Just to cheer up, I attended a small potluck tea party of a very vibrant FB group of homemakers. I thanked myself for doing that. I had a good time and the kids enjoyed themselves in the company of the other kids as well. The night was cold though, so once back home, I started getting jitters and yesterday I was totally low. I had everything except fever. I just managed the day with all leftovers from the fridge and simply stretched myself on the couch most of the day. Today, school has started and the mornings are getting colder and darker. Slowly, traffic will also start picking up once all schools open by early next week. So I am trying to brace myself up for it after enjoying pretty easy rides for the past three weeks. InShaAllah, I am hoping to get back to my workout routine from today as well. Thinking about everything is making me overwhelmed, but I guess I take it as it comes… πŸ™‚


Food has a lot of nostalgia associated with it. So is this fish biriyani I am sharing with you. We used to get our stock of fish biriyani during Ramadan from D’s colleague, who used to in turn get it from the cooks at an Arab’s house. I have already mentioned how generous Arabs are during the month of Ramadan, that most of the people don’t even have to cook food during the holy month. That reminds me that we have just another a-little-over-five months! SubhanAllah, life is moving really fast… While I chanced upon this recipe, I was reminded of the fish biriyani we would get and I got into action over a weekend. I was really worried how it would turn out to be or whether it would taste as good or at least close to that delicious biriyani. Alhamdulillah, we loved how good this tasted, so much like that biriyani! One caution though – since our tongues are so used to the spicy style Indian biriyani, this may be too mild for the taste buds. If you see, the spice comes only from the minimal green chillies used and a minuscule amount of chili powder in the marinade. So you can add some chilli powder while preparing the masala if you need a little bit of spice. HD, though he liked the flavor, was not really impressed since he missed the spice. But for me, having memories associated with this dish, it was more than enough for me to enjoy a couple of plates of it and bask in its glory! Off to the recipe…




You can make your own batch of Bezaar spice blend and use it for many savory recipes of the Emirates.


5 from 1 vote

Biryani Samak ~ Emirati Fish Biriyani

Course Main Course
Cuisine Emirati
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda


  • 500 gm king fish steaks
  • 1 tsp bezaar spice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch pc ginger minced
  • 3 green chillies slit
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp bezaar spice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 loomi dried lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cup basmati rice washed well and drained
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil


  • Rub the marinade ingredients on the fish and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • In a saucepan, heat the oil and fry the fish on both sides till golden brown. Drain and set aside.
  • Into the same oil (add more if necessary), add the onions and saute till golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and saute for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and coriander and saute well.
  • Add in the bezaar, turmeric, cinnamon, loomi and salt and cook the mixture for five minutes, till raw smell is gone.
  • Add the fried fish and toss to coat well. Cook for another five minutes and switch off.
  • Boil lots of water with salt. Add in the rice, curry leaves and lime juice and cook till almost done. Drain the rice and wash well.
  • In a large saucepan, sprinkle half the oil. Then spread 1/3 of the rice. Put the fish masala on top and spread. Put the rest of the rice.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the oil, cinnamon powder and coriander leaves.
  • Close the lid tight, keep on low flame for around 20 minutes.
  • Switch off and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Join the Conversation

  1. Looks so yummy,love the spice mix.Bookmarked.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Suja…

  2. Nice biryani dear…I saw this post on the ‘reading list’ when I published my chicken majboos and saw the first few lines mentioning about your parents and for a moment I thought : rand aalkkum ore manassayo,because even I posted a rice recipe mentioning about my parents hehe..I am sure you had a lovely time with them…And yes time flies…

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Hehe… yeah, that does happen, doesn’t it? Thank you so much Ruxana…

  3. Looks yummy. what is bezaar spice.. can we get it in India

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      We can make the spice mix at home, the recipe is on the blog and I have shared the link in this post… Thanks a lot Shobhaji…

  4. I am gonna try this very soon!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Please do! Thanks a lot Ria…

  5. 5 stars
    It looks delicious . I must try it . Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much…

  6. Thank you for posting this. Do you think I can make this biryani with chicken in bone instead of fish? I am allergic to seafood. Many thanks

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Hi dear… There is already a chicken biriyani recipe on the blog which is the Emirati style. Hope you can search for it and find it… Hope you try it and let me know your feedback… πŸ™‚

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