Persian herbed rice with fried fish(Sabzi polo ba mahi)
• For Herbed Rice
• 2 cups basmati rice
• 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
• 2 cup dill, finely chopped
• 1 cup green onions (green stems), finely chopped
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1/4 tsp of saffron threads
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 1 whole branzino or other white fish, butterflied
• 1 clove garlic, slivered
• 1 tsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp rice flour
• 3 tbsp canola oil
1 Add the finely chopped parsley, cilantro, dill and green onions to a bowl and mix together. I used a knife to chop the herbs but you can also use a food processor; rinse and dry the herbs, pulse each one individually, and then combine.
2 In a large bowl, rinse the rice in 3 or 4 changes of cold water until the water runs clear. Add enough water to cover the rice along with 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir and let soak for 1 to 2 hours.
3 Bring 10 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Drain the rice and add it to the hot water. Boil uncovered for 7 minutes over a medium heat.
4 Pour the water and rice from the large pot into a strainer to drain the water. Rinse the rice with cold water and set aside. The rice should be a little undercooked.
5 Rinse and dry the large pot the rice was being boiled in, and place it back on the stove on medium heat. Add the 2 tbsp of canola oil, 1/2 of the cumin seeds and spread both on the bottom of the pan with a ladle.
6 Gently spoon 1/3 of the rice into the pot in one even layer.
7 Next, spoon 1/2 of the herbs in a thin even layer over the rice followed by another layer of rice. Repeat until both rice and herbs have been used up, ending with a layer of rice. Sprinkle the rest of the cumin seeds on the last layer of rice.
8 Pour 1/2 cup of water around the edges of the rice in the pot.
9 Add saffron to 3 tbsp of hot water in a small bowl and soak for 5 minutes. Pour the saffron water on the top of the rice.
10 Cover with aluminum foil and a tight lid to lock in the steam. Cook for 30 minutes on a low heat.
11 Meanwhile, rinse and pat dry the fish. Lay it on a flat surface and brush a little oil on onside. Sprinkle salt, pepper and 1/2 of the rice flour. Flip the fish and repeat on the other side.
12 Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wide saute or cast iron pan. Cook the fish, skin side down, for 4 minutes.
13 Sprinkle slivers of garlic, finely chopped parsley and salt on the fish and cook until the fish is cooked through. Approximately another 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked fish to a platter.
14 Once the rice is cooked, using a ladle, gently stir the rice and transfer it to a serving dish or a plate. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve with the fried fish.