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!

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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!

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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!

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Cut up the fish into good palm sized chunks (2-3 oz each)

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Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric

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Add 2 tablespoons of veg oil to a pot, allow it to heat up on a medium flame

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Cover the rice with water and let it soak for 30 or so minutes

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Add the fish skin side down on the hot oil and cook it for 2 minutes on each side, just to brown it

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Remove from oil and set aside on a plate

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Add the onions into the same pot with the same oil, stir untill it's a deep chocolatey brown color

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Prepare your whole spices in a bowl, except for the dried lime

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Add them to the onions and keep stirring until the onions brown up

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Once the onions are deep brown, add the garlic and ginger paste, make your own paste or use from a jar, both are fine

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After cooking the garlic and ginger for about a minute, add the chillies ( i love spicy food ) and the diced tomatoes.

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Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes and cover the pot and let the tomatoes cook over low heat for 5 minutes

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When the tomatoes "melt" into the pot, add a handful (1/4 cup) of chopped cilantro, stir it in

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Mix up your powdered spices

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Add the spices and stir over low heat

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The dried lime

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Throw it in...(hold the camera steady the next time :))

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Add the hot water and boil over high heat

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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!

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Remove the fish and set aside one last time

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Add the rice after draining it

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Mix it in over high heat untill the liquid is absorbed

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Reduce heat once the rice absorbs the water

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Add the fish back and bury it under the rice

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Cover and put over a very low flame for 30-40 minutes until the rice grain is fully cooked and well bloomed.

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Serve! Forget garnishing it...not for this dish!

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