Cape Malay Style Fish Breyani

Serves 6 – 8


  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 10ml coarse salt
  • 20ml crushed ginger and garlic
  • 40ml red chilli powder
  • 4 large over-ripe blanched and chopped tomatoes or 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 10ml ground cumin
  • 10ml ground coriander
  • 5ml garam masala
  • 2,5ml turmeric
  • 125ml fresh cream
  • 4 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1,5kg fresh hake steaks
  • 3 potatoes, peeled sliced and fried
  • 400g tinned lentils, drained
  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice (measured after cooking)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced and fried until golden
  • 60g butter 125ml boiled water
  • 5ml egg yellow
  • 6 – 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 30ml Magic Masala, optional or 5ml fragrant garam masala
  • Fresh coriander, to garnish


  1. Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC pot. Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Add the chopped onion and salt. Saute until the onions are golden brown.
  2. Add the crushed ginger and garlic. Fry for a few seconds until the moisture evaporates, then add the red chilli powder. Heat the chilli through for 3 seconds, taking care not to burn the spices.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and the ground cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric. Simmer the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon to break down the lumps.
  4. Stir in the fresh cream and add the curry leaves.
  5. Add the hake and spoon the sauce over the steaks to cook.
  6. Place a layer of par cooked fried potatoes over the fish, then add half the drained lentils.
  7. Layer the basmati rice over the lentils – the rice must be cold to prevent it from becoming sticky.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining lentils over the rice and top with crispy fried brown onion.
  9. Dot the rice with butter and pour over the boiled water.
  10. Drop the egg yellow over the rice and arrange the sliced boiled eggs on top.
  11. Sprinkle with the Magic Masala or an extra teaspoon of garam masala.
  12. Reduce the heat and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
  13. Steam the breyani on a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the steaks.
  14. Garnish with fresh coriander.