Sayoudeiah: Lebanese Fried Fish with Tarator Sauce and Rice

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
Prep:
30 min
Cook:
45 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • Tarator:
  • 1/2 cup tahini, recipe follows
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Fried Fish:
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 to 1 cup olive or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 (6-ounce) mild, firm white fish fillets
  • Chopped fresh parsley, garnish
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Chili oil
  • Lemon wedges, garnish
  • Homemade Tahini:
  • 4 cups sesame seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
Directions
Fried Fish:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the tarator: Place the tahini, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in a blender and process on high speed. With the machine running, continue adding more water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until it becomes a smooth sauce with the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the parsley and process to incorporate. Adjust seasoning, to taste, with additional lemon juice or spices. Transfer to another container.

For the Fried fish: In a small bowl, combine the black pepper, ginger, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and fenugreek. Stir to combine.

In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, until golden brown and fragrant. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the onions and fry, stirring, until golden. Add the rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon of the mixed spices. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and the rice is coated with oil, 1 minute. Add the water. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer without stirring until the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit without stirring for 10 minutes. While the rice is cooking, cook the fish.

In a large saute pan, heat enough oil to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan over high heat until hot but not smoking.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, remaining spice blend, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour to coat on both sides, shaking to remove any excess. Add to the hot oil in batches, if necessary, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, shaking the pan to prevent the fish from sticking. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Fluff the rice with a fork and add the fried pine nuts, stirring to incorporate. Divide among 4 plates and top with the fish. Spoon the sauce over the fish, garnish with parsley and drizzle with pomegranate molasses and chili oil. Serve with lemon wedges, and serve immediately.

Homemade Tahini:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the sesame seeds on a shallow baking tray and bake, shaking frequently, until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown. Cool. Put the sesame seeds in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil. Process to a smooth paste, about 3 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to bring the paste to a thick pouring consistency. (Tahini will keep, refrigerated, in a tightly covered container for several months.)

Yield: approximately 4 cups


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