Siyadiyeh – Lebanese fish and rice



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


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


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


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


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


Add half of the remaining crispy onions and cook on a rolling boil for a further 5 minutes


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)


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


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


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

  • 100g of unsalted butter


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


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