Iftar recipe to try at home: Fish Machboos

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Published: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 5:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 7:20 PM

Serves: 4
Hammour - 3 (medium sized)
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Vegetable oil - ¼ cup
Whole dry spices - 1 bay leaf, 3 green cardamoms, 2 sticks cinnamon, 4 cloves, ½ teaspoon black pepper corns
Dry lumi (Arabic dry lemons) - 2
Garlic - 2, chopped
Onions - 2, sliced
Green chilli - 1, chopped
Tomatoes - 1-2, chopped
Cilantro leaves - a handful
Turmeric - ½ teaspoon
Arabic spice mix/bezar - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - ½ teaspoon
Coriander powder - ½ teaspoon
Himalayan salt - to taste
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Vegetable oil - 4-5 tablespoon
Saffron - 1 pinch
Warm milk - 4 teaspoon
For the Marinade
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - ½ teaspoon
Cumin powder - ½ teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
Roasted pine nuts/sliced almonds, golden fried onions
Soak the saffron in the warm milk. Wash the basmati rice and soak it in water for a minimum of 30 minutes. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the rice while it soaks, it makes the colour of the rice pop naturally and you get longer grains too. Drain well before the cooking process.
Clean the fish and cut slits on each side. You can even cut it into smaller pieces. But when you have guests at home, keep the fish whole as it gives the dish a better visual appeal. Mix the ingredients for the marinade and rub it over the fish. Set it aside for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. Fry the fish in hot oil (use a deep casserole) for 15 minutes on each side until it becomes golden brown, keep it aside.
Now in the same casserole, put some more oil, add the whole dry spices, chopped garlic and onions and fry well. Once the onions are nicely browned, add the spice powders (turmeric, chilli, coriander and bezar) and stir fry. Now, add the green chilli, tomato, salt and cilantro leaves, cover and let it cook until the tomatoes are soft. Now, add the basmati rice, saffron milk and 4 cups of water. Add 1 crushed and 1 whole dry lemon (lumi) with salt to the rice water and let it come to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer, cover and cook well.
Once the rice is 3/4 cooked, lower the flame to minimum, put the fish over the rice and let it slow cook for 20 minutes or more until it's done and fragrant.
You can serve Fish Machboos topped with nuts and fried onions and a side of Salata Hara (a spicy tomato crush), it goes well with this rice.
Salata Hara (Arabic style tomato crush/salsa)
Blend together 1 large diced tomato, 1 green chilli, 1 clove garlic and a handful of cilantro with ½ teaspoon salt. Blend it until it's just about crushed, it shouldn't be totally mashed, you need to see small bits of cilantro and tiny chunks of tomato.
Recipe courtesy Anupa Mathews. Follow her blog www.saffronbowl.com or Instagram @anupa.210 for Arabic-inspired recipes.

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