During our last trip to the market, I asked Kak’mbang to pick up some fish for making this dish I was curious about, by Chef Ammar. She took the fish out of the freezer today thinking I was going to make it for dinner, but honestly it almost slipped my mind. When I remembered, I went downstairs to see if the fish was out of the freezer. Seeing that it was already out it would totally ruin a good piece of fish to re-freeze it after thawing, so I decided to go ahead with it. For today, I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand, but the results were pretty good nonetheless.
Fish is quite unconventional in Bukhari rice, but it is a great alternative when you are feeling like something lighter. Don’t skip the cilantro; its flavour goes really well with the fish. We served it with Kak’mbang’s acar. Give it a go!
Based on the recipe from Episode 4 of Chef Ammar’s cooking show.
Updated on Aug 26, 2017, with new pictures.
Fish Bukhari Rice
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 red snapper OR grouper fillets
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Chef Ammar Bukhari Spices or your preferred Bukhari spice mix, plus more for seasoning fish
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup large raisins
- 1 cup cooked or canned chick peas
- 2 1/2 cups long grain Basmathi rice, rinsed and soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained
- 3 3/4 cups water OR fish stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup roasted or fried whole almonds (optional)
In a small bowl or cup, soak the saffron threads in 1 tablespoon hot water for about 20 minutes.
Generously season both sides of the fish fillets with the Bukhari spices.
Season the fish with a bit of salt. Cut crosswise in half, and make a few slits on the skin.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Gently place the fish in the pan, and fry undisturbed for a few minutes before flipping over to the other side. When the fish is half-cooked, remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Reserve the oil.
In a large dutch oven or your rice cooker pot over medium high heat, heat 1/4 cup of the reserved frying oil.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden.
Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring, until fragrant.
Add the 1 1/2 tablespoons Bukhari spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes.
Add the raisins and chick peas and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. The mixture should have a dark chocolate colour.
Add the saffron liquid, and stir to combine.
Add the rice, and gently stir until rice is evenly coated.
Add the water…
…and the salt, and stir to combine.
Transfer the pot to your rice cooker, if using. Gently place the half-cooked fish in the pot.
Cook, until the liquid has evaporated. If using a stove, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the rice is done.
Garnish with the mint leaves, cilantro and almonds before serving.