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Sayadiyeh / Lebanese Fish "Risotto" Recipe

Sayadiyeh / Lebanese Fish "Risotto"

Serves 4

You can turn this plain sayadiyeh into a "Sayadiyeh Royale" by adding 60g pine nuts - saute the nuts in a little butter until golden brown and stir into the rice just before serving.


400g white short grain rice
500g fish heads
1 kg white fish filets or steaks
Sea salt
Vegetable oil for frying
4 medium onions, sliced
1 tsp Adonis Fish Spices
1 lemon, quartered

Cooking instructions

Rinse the rice under cold water, then let soak in cold water for about half an hour.

Put the fish heads in a saucepan. Add 900 ml water and place over a medium heat. Just as the water is about to boil, skim the surface clean. Boil gently for 15 minutes.

Rinse the fish filets or steaks in cold water. Pat them dry with kitchen paper and rub them lightly with salt. Fill a large, non-stick frying pan with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 cm. and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot - dip a piece of bread in the oil; if the oil bubbles around it, it is ready - fry the fish for 1 minute on each side to seal it. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a double layer of kitchen paper to drain off the excess oil.

Add more oil to the pan to deep fry the onions and wait until the oil is very hot before adding the sliced onions. Fry until they caramelize and turn a rich brown - be careful not to let them burn. Remove with a slotted spoon onto several layers of kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil. Spread the onions thinly to drain well and become crisp.

Strain the fish stock. Return to the pan and add three quarters of the fried onions. Reserve the rest for the garnish. Bring back to boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the stock takes the color of the onions. Strain the brown stock. Liquidize the onions and return to the stock.

Put the stock and onions in a clean saucepan and place over medium heat. Drain the rice and add to the stock together with any loose fish flakes from the fried filets or steaks. Season with the Adonis Fish Spices and salt to taste and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is done and the liquid is fully absorbed. Place the fish filets on top of the rice. Wrap the lid of the pan with a clean kitchen towel and replace over the pan. Let it sit for a few minutes, or until the fish is done to your liking. Carefully transfer onto a serving dish, making sure you place the fish in top of the rice. Scatter the reserved crisp onions all over. Serve hot or at room temperature with the lemon quarters.

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