Main Dishes/ Rice

Fish Pilao

This is a recipe from my mum’s friend who taught us Arabian, Pakistani and Kenyan dishes, you could never visit her and not be fed a whole meal!

Fish Pilao

Print Recipe
Cuisine: Arabian Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 15 minutes


    Stage 1

  • 1lb (50g) white fish fillets
  • 1tsp salt
  • qtr tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chillies
  • 1 tsp lime/lemon juice
  • Stage 2

  • half cup oil
  • whole masalas – 1 tsp peppercorns, 1 stick cinnamon, 4 cloves, 1 tbs whole cumin, 1 tbs whole dry coriander
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs tom puree
  • 1 tsp red chillie powder
  • 1 tbs crushed garlic
  • 3½ cups water
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 4 tbs fresh sliced green coriander (optional)



Rinse 2 mugs of rice and soak in cold water for 2 hours or more.

Stage 1


Wash and pat dry the fish pieces.


Apply all ingredients and marinate for 2 hours.


Grill or shallow fry and remove into a flat dish without piling up.

Stage 2


Switch on oven GM3-4/160C


Put half cup oil into in a large pan, add the sliced onion, and fry until dark brown, then add the whole masalas, measured water, salt, tomato puree, red chillies, garlic and bring to the boil.


Drain the rice in a colander, discard water add rice to the pan, return to the boil, cook uncovered on medium heat until mixture reduces and most of the water is absorbed. Switch off.


Gently arrange the cooked fish on top of the rice, cover tightly with aluminium foil and a tight lid and place in the oven on a low heat for 15 mins, or cook on lowest setting on stove top for 10mins (dhum).


Carefully use a fish slice to disturb the rice and fish and remove generous helpings onto a serving platter.


Garnish with garam masala and fresh coriander if using, take to the table steaming hot.


Serve with a cooling cucumber raita, bundi raita or plain low fat yoghurt.