Pan-Roasted Tandoori Halibut with Cauliflower Biryani

If you’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant, you’ve surely eaten Naan bread or Tandoori chicken.

Tandoor is a cylindrical oven, traditionally made from clay. A wood fire is lit at the bottom and allowed to die down to red-hot burning embers before food is placed inside.

Naan bread dough is slapped directly onto the side of the oven, where it bakes in minutes with a delicious charcoal flavour. Meats and fish are usually skewered and cooked over the top opening of the oven.

The term Tandoori is the name given to food that’s marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices including ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, pepper and nutmeg and then cooked in the Tandoor.

It’s kind of hard to have a Tandoor in your home kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily replicate the delicious flavours.

Halibut is a large flat fish that lives in deep cold waters. It has significant amounts of selenium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and niacin. Like salmon, it is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike salmon, however, halibut has a mild flavour more like tilapia or sole, so it’s a great option for those who don’t like that “fishy” taste. Because its flesh is firm, it is also easy to handle when cooking.

Biryani is traditionally served as a main dish and typically contains rice and meat. It is lightly spiced with sweet spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc and gets its golden hue from turmeric and/or saffron.

This recipe is super simple to make. The fish is rubbed with spices and “roasted” on the stove top in a pan. The biryani is made from riced cauliflower and coleslaw mix. Stores sell different kinds of slaw mix - you can use the plain one (just shredded cabbage and carrot) or get adventurous and try one with beets or kale. You can make the biryani ahead and just reheat it in a fry pan prior to serving.

Ingredients for Cauliflower Biryani:

3 Tbsp ghee

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp fine Himalayan sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 medium head of cauliflower, riced

2 cups coleslaw mix

1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1/4 cup raisins, optional


Heat ghee in a large frypan set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, all spices and salt and pepper. Stir and cook until onion is translucent. Add the coleslaw mix and cauliflower and cook, stirring, just until cauliflower is al dente. Remove from heat and toss in the toasted almonds and raisins.

Ingredients for Halibut:

4 125g halibut filets

1 tsp fine Himalayan sea salt

4 tsp Super Simple Tandoori spice mix - see below

1/2 cup coconut cream*

1 lemon or large lime, quartered


Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Sprinkle both sides of each piece of halibut with 1/4 tsp of the salt.

Lay fish pieces out onto parchment lined sheet pan.

Stir Tandoori spices into the coconut cream. Spread top of each piece with some of the spiced coconut cream.

Transfer to hot oven.

Let the fish cook until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. 

The cooking time will depend upon thickness of the filets, but should take less than 15 minutes! Don’t overcook it.

-serves 4

*For coconut cream, place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge to chill overnight. Open can and carefully skim off the firm cream that will have risen to the top. Whisk until smooth.

Super Simple Tandoori Spice Mix:

1 Tbsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine all spices in a glass jar and shake. Done! Use as needed…