Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Sayadieh" Middle Eastern Fish and Rice

Sayadieh is a very flavourful and aromatic Middle Eastern, Mediterranean dish, composed of panfried white fish, a very aromatic curry rice and tomato based sauce. There are many variations of this dish among all the middle eastern countries. This recipe here was given by the grandmother of one of my friends. I loved this dish since the first time I tried it and I now make it very often.

Serves 4 portions

- 1 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (powedered)
- 1/2 teaspoon Middle Eastern all spice mix (Ras el hanout - can be replaced with pinch of nutmeg, pinch of Cinnamon, and pinch of cardamom)
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 dehydrated lime (optional - can be replaced with teaspoon of lime zest)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan, heat up olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic, chili flakes, curry powder, coriander seeds, middle eastern spice mix, saffron, dehydrated lime (optional), salt and pepper. Saute for another 3 minutes.

Add rice and mix to coat. Add water and bring to boil. Once the rice comes to boil, reduce to the lowest possible heat and cover with lid. Let steam for 20 minutes. Remove off heat and let stand for 5 minutes, covered. Before serving, fold in the cilantro leaves.

Tomato cilantro sauce

- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic
- cilantro stems, chopped really fine
- cilantro leaves, chopped coarsly
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree (from can or tube)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil

In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and heat on medium. Add onions, cilantro stems and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and diced tomato. Let cook and reduce for 10 minutes. Puree the mix using a blender or an immersion blender. Add cilantro leaves, salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

Panfried Tilapia

- Vegetable oil for frying, 1/4 inch in a wide frying pan
- 3 Tilapia filets, cut along the center line to form 6 long tilapia strips
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Salt/pepper
- pinch of smoked paprika (Optional)

Prepare the fillets and dry them using paper towel. Add salt and pepper to the fillets (and optional paprika) on both sides. While the oil heats up (medium), prepare the flour mix. Combine flower, salt, pepper and baking soda. Dredge each fillet with the flour mix and shake of excess. Carefully add enough fillets to the pan (do not overcrow the pan). Cook for 3-4 minutes (until brown and crispy), then carefully turn fillet over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. You may need to adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of the fillet. Do not overcook the fish or it will get very dry. Remove and let the fish rest on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Serve with lemon wedges and cilantro leaves to garnish.