smoked mackerel biryani
I enjoyed a rather special game biryani at Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen a little while back which had the inspired addition of freshly-snipped dill and mint that really livened up the intricately spiced rice dish. This Smoked Mackerel Biryani is loosely based on his goose-based recipe (unfortunately I didn’t have any leftover goose meat knocking about!) and I think the oiliness of the mackerel lends itself well to the dish. A great one-pot supper for a casual gathering, or garnish with boiled egg wedges for a lovely alternative to kedgeree at brunch.
Smoked Mackerel Biryani
250g smoked mackerel fillets, flaked
200g basmati rice
1 red onion, sliced
3-4cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, grated
125g greek yoghurt
50g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 star anise
a pinch of saffron
1/2 cinnamon stick
12 green cardamom pods
1 heaped tbsp parsley (leaves only), chopped
1 heaped tbsp mint (leaves only), chopped
1 heaped tbsp dill, chopped
100-150g smoked mackerel fillets, flaked
small handful of dill, roughly chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs (optional)
Soak the rice in tepid salted water for at least an hour then drain and rinse under a cold tap until the water runs clear. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a deep heavy-bottomed pan over a medium flame and fry the red onions and ginger briefly until fragrant. Season with a good pinch or two of salt, then add turmeric, cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and ground ginger.
Once the onion is tender stir in the mackerel and yoghurt, letting it all warm through for a couple of minutes. Add the saffron, whole spices, then tip in the rice and mix so that the grains are nicely coated with all the aromatics.
Pour in boiling water so that it comes up to about 1.5 cm above the rice. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid then turn the heat up so everything bubbles away for 2 minutes then turn it right down to low for 8-10 minutes.
When all the liquid has been absorbed turn the heat off and leave the pot covered for another 10 minutes.
Stir through the chopped herbs and garnish with the remaining mackerel, dill fronds and quartered eggs (if using). Plate up to individual portions or serve straight from the pot, with greek yoghurt on the side.