Siyadiyeh – Lebanese fish and rice

This traditional dish was originally the reserve of Lebanese fishermen, but it's now enjoyed across the Middle East and served at special occasions. While Stosie uses turbot, you can serve it with pretty much any fillet of fish you fancy – the real magic of this dish comes from the onions, which are cooked until crisp and candied, providing bags of flavour for both the lemon-spiked sauce and rice. An incredibly tasty dish that only requires a handful of ingredients.

First published in 2021

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

  • 250ml of rapeseed oil
  • 500g of white onion, peeled and very finely sliced
  • 1l fish stock, ideally turbot stock if you can find it!
  • 250g of basmati rice
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 fish fillets, such as turbot, wild sea bass or hake, seasoned with salt and kept on kitchen paper in the fridge to firm up
  • 150g of unsalted butter
  • salt

Equipment

  • Cooking thermometer
  • Food processor

Method

1
Heat the rapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan to 100°C. Add the onions and stir, keeping the pan over a high heat and stirring continuously. The goal is to get a candied crisp onion rather than a reduced one, so you must not turn the heat down but keep the stirring, moving the onions around at all times. This will take 15 to 20 minutes until the onions are a deep russet brown. Take care not to burn them
  • 250ml of rapeseed oil
  • 500g of white onion, peeled and very finely sliced
2
Once the onions are the correct colour, remove the pan immediately from the heat and carefully pour the contents through a fine metal sieve sitting over a pan. Give the onions a good shake to strain off any excess oil, then turn the onions out onto a plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper. Reserve the onion oil for later
3
Pour 500ml of the fish stock into a pan, then add half the cooked onions and the lemon zest. Cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat until reduced by a quarter. Transfer to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and return to a clean pan to reheat later
  • 0.5l fish stock, ideally turbot stock if you can find it!
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
4
Wash the rice in running water until the water is clear and no more starch remains. Cover with 100ml of water and leave to sit for 15 minutes (no longer) while you prepare the stock
5
In a large heavy-based pan, add 150ml of the reserved onion oil and gently warm through. Pour in the remaining 500ml of fish stock and 1 tsp of salt and bring to a rolling boil
  • 0.5l fish stock, ideally turbot stock if you can find it!
  • salt
6
Add half of the remaining crispy onions and cook on a rolling boil for a further 5 minutes
7
After 15 minutes of soaking, strain the rice and add it to the boiling stock. Cook at a medium boil for 5 to 8 minutes uncovered, while stirring continuously to prevent sticking (be gentle so you don't break the grains up)
8
Once the stock has completely evaporated, take the rice off the heat and cover with the pan lid wrapped in a clean tea towel. Leave for 15 minutes off the heat to finish cooking in the residual steam
9
Whilst the rice is resting, cook the fish. Pour 100ml of the onion oil into a large frying pan with enough room for the fish to sit comfortably (use 2 pans if needed). Place over a medium-high heat until the oil is nice and hot. Add the fish fillets skin-side down, pressing them down slightly to ensure the skin is in complete contact with the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, then add 50g of the butter and flip the fillets over. Remove from the heat, jostling the fillets slightly so they're sitting in the butter, and set aside to finish cooking in the residual heat
  • 4 fish fillets, such as turbot, wild sea bass or hake, seasoned with salt and kept on kitchen paper in the fridge to firm up
  • 50g of unsalted butter
10
While the fish rests, reheat the blitzed onion sauce until it's almost boiling, then add the lemon juice to taste (you might not want to add all the juice). Lower the heat and allow to reduce for 5 minutes, then just before serving whisk in the remaining 100g of butter
11
To serve, fluff up the rice with a fork and stir in the remaining candied onions. Serve in bowls alongside the fish and sauce, with a little remaining onion oil drizzled over the fish

A whirlwind of talent and skill in the kitchen (which she runs almost single-handedly), Stosie Madi has made rural inn the Parkers Arms one of the most beloved gastropubs in the country.

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