Eat Recipes

King Salmon Biryani Recipe by Tom Walton

Try this delicious King Salmon Biryani recipe from Tom Walton’s cookbook More Fish, More Veg.

I love everything about this dish. You’re packing so much flavour into one pot, layering up the rice, onion, herbs and spices, which all help to gently cook the fish. I love butter chicken spice mix (not entirely traditional, but so delicious), but you can use any spice mix you like. It might seem like there are a few steps involved, but it really comes together easily.

This dish, which happens to be leftovers-approved (LOA), also offers the opportunity to try different fish types – just stick to firmer white-fleshed fish, ocean trout or Spanish mackerel.

King Salmon Biryani

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 cup (260 g) natural Greek-style yoghurt

1 tablespoon butter chicken spice mix (or any spice mix), plus 2 teaspoons extra

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

1 x 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) or 2 x 400 g (14 oz) NZ king salmon fillets

Sea salt flakes and ground black pepper

3 brown onions, thinly sliced

2 cups (400 g) basmati rice, rinsed

4 cardamom pods

6 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

Handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped

Handful mint leaves, roughly chopped

Large pinch of saffron threads soaked in ½ cup (125 ml) water

Tomato, red onion and coriander (cilantro) salad, to serve

Lime halves, to serve

Avocado tzatziki (see below), to serve (optional)


Combine the yoghurt with the spice mix, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the lime zest. Place the salmon in a large dish or tray, season with salt and pepper, then spoon the yoghurt marinade over the fish and gently rub it in all over. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours or overnight to marinate, then bring it out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

Place the onion in a saucepan with the remaining olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Stir, cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onion begins to caramelise. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring until deeply caramelised. Set aside.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil with 2 teaspoons salt. Add the rice, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Cook for 4 minutes, then drain the rice and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the marinated salmon, skin-side down, and any remaining marinade in a large, deep ovenproof dish or pot. Combine the rice with the onion, herbs (reserving a quarter for garnish) and extra spice mix and spoon this over the salmon. Drizzle the saffron-infused water evenly over the rice. Place a piece of baking paper over the rice to cover it, then cover with a lid or a layer of foil.

Bake the rice in the oven for 25–30 minutes, then allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and scatter on the remaining herbs.

Serve the biryani with the tomato, red onion and coriander salad, lime halves and the avocado tzatziki, if desired.

Tom’s pro tip – You can make the caramelised onion and marinate the fish the day before.

King Salmon Biryani
Images and text from More Fish, More Veg by Tom Walton, photography by Rob Palmer. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99

Want more? Click here for our delicious Salmon Food Bowls and here for Salmon with Lime and Lemongrass Butter.