Start the Guide
How to Make Fish "Machboos"
Machboos is probably the most popular Bahraini dish and it's definitely my favorite thing to eat...ever! The pressure is definitely on to make this right...otherwise I better toss away my passport!
First, let's talk about "machboos" : it literally translates to compressed, as everything is compressed by the rice and fish! This could be prepared by any meat you like, today I'm doing it with fish!
Let's talk about the fish...it's a popular Bahraini fish called Hamour! Also known as grouper...A beautiful rich white fish! Any other white fish will work but a meaty fleshy fish is best!
Cut up the fish into good palm sized chunks (2-3 oz each)
Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric
Add 2 tablespoons of veg oil to a pot, allow it to heat up on a medium flame
Cover the rice with water and let it soak for 30 or so minutes
Add the fish skin side down on the hot oil and cook it for 2 minutes on each side, just to brown it
Remove from oil and set aside on a plate
Add the onions into the same pot with the same oil, stir untill it's a deep chocolatey brown color
Prepare your whole spices in a bowl, except for the dried lime
Add them to the onions and keep stirring until the onions brown up
Once the onions are deep brown, add the garlic and ginger paste, make your own paste or use from a jar, both are fine
After cooking the garlic and ginger for about a minute, add the chillies ( i love spicy food ) and the diced tomatoes.
Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes and cover the pot and let the tomatoes cook over low heat for 5 minutes
When the tomatoes "melt" into the pot, add a handful (1/4 cup) of chopped cilantro, stir it in
Mix up your powdered spices
Add the spices and stir over low heat
The dried lime
Throw it in...(hold the camera steady the next time :))
Add the hot water and boil over high heat
Add back the fish and cook it over high heat for about 5 minutes while covering the pot, taste the broth...it should be very salty but that's ok, you will need the salt to flavor the rice!
Remove the fish and set aside one last time
Add the rice after draining it
Mix it in over high heat untill the liquid is absorbed
Reduce heat once the rice absorbs the water
Add the fish back and bury it under the rice
Cover and put over a very low flame for 30-40 minutes until the rice grain is fully cooked and well bloomed.
Serve! Forget garnishing it...not for this dish!
Check out other guides by this author!
I enjoy the simpler things in life, jazz, food and cooking! Follow me for delicious recipes and guides