How can I cook rice with fish so that the fish is not over cooked or breaks into smaller pieces? Fish meat cooks quickly, in much less time than rice. Would anyone like to share tricks or tips for this?


2 Answers 2


This problem can be solved with a bit of kitchen maths:

You noticed already that

  • your rice takes X minutes unti fully cooked and
  • your fish takes Y minutes.

You also noted correctly that usually X > Y.

The best time to add the fish to the rice would therefore be after (X-Y) minutes.

But I guess you want a slightly more practical answer?

  • Well, X will depend on the type of rice you are using - white rice will need somewhere around 20-25 minutes, perhaps 30 if you like it very soft, while whole grain may need up to 45 minutes.
  • The cooking time of the fish will depend on the kind of fish and the thickness of the fish pieces, a few minutes will be enough for a thin fillet.

Assuming that you have used both ingredients before, you should have at least a rough idea on the timing already.

Additional hints:

  • Cooked fish will break apart easily when done, so ideally you simply put the fish on top of the rice and serve it like that or, if your dish needs stirring, stir once, briefly and carefully when adding the fish, then leave the pot alone.
  • Of your two ingredients, the fish is by far the more critical one. A bit too long, and you have exactly the over cooked state you wanted to avoid. So if you are unsure about when to add the fish, pick the later time and cook the rice longer.

While boiling/cooking rice and fish is safe for consumption, the cooking method gives the rice an extremely fishy taste. If you crave that flavour, go ahead with cooking the two things together.

However, if you wish to retain the individual flavours of the food, par boil the rice while you can pan fry the fish pieces in a separate utensil (to get rid of the excessive sweet/salty fishy flavour). Add the fish to the rice at a later stage. By doing this, not only will the fish pieces retain their shape and form after frying, but your rice would remain fragrant on its own as well.

  • 1
    I feel like you haven't really addressed the question, which was about preventing overcooking, not taste.
    – SuperWild1
    Nov 17, 2018 at 17:10
  • As stated by Stephie, cooking time of fish varies due to the type of fish and its cut. A simple test would be to use a fork to check it the fish is flaky. A time period would be misleading to stated in this case. Basically, rice takes longer to cook than fish. Thus, the fish can be introduced to the rice at a much later point, depending on the texture of fish one wants. Besides, frying the fish would be a good way of controlling the overcooking - again depending on whether one is shallow frying or deep frying. Nov 30, 2018 at 7:53

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