Since Aden is a coastal region, we eat fish pretty much on a daily basis. We also have many rice and fish dishes. This one is called “Sayadiyyah Hindiyyah” which literally means “Indian Fish and Rice” maybe because the locals picked it up from the Indian communities in Aden . It’s one of those dishes , that you have to make a lot of the components separately and then assemble and cook together for the grand finale.
Here are the instructions with pictures to help in the process:
1) Fry a medium onion, by first cutting into slices, mixing in one tblsp of flour, and then frying in oil until browned. Take out and let drain of oil on a paper towel.
2) Quarter a big potato and brown in oil [you do not want it to cook through, you just want it browned on the outside, so make sure the oil is hot enough. Take out and keep aside.
3) 3 pieces of salmon. Each piece was the size of my palm and about 3 fingers thick. If it’s very thin it can break easily. You want fish that will withstand the cooking. We also use King Fish for this dish, but I couldn’t find it fresh. Marinate the fish in some red chilly pepper sauce [Bisbas Adani], 1/2 tsp of ground coriander, 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, salt to taste, 2 cloves of garlic finely minced. Fry the fish in 3 4 -5 tbslp of oil until browned on the outside. Take out and keep aside.
4) In the meantime, half boil a cup and a half of rice in salted water. Keep your eye on it, lest the rice cook through. Drain the water from the rice, and leave aside.
5) In a pot add 3 tbslp of olive oil and fry a medium thinly sliced onion until golden brown.
6) Add 1 tbslp of red chilly sauce
7) Add 2 cloves of finely minced garlic to the onion.
8 ) Add the spices:
a) 1/4 tsp of tumeric
b) 1 tsp of ground cumin
c) 1 tsp of ground coriander
d) 1/8 tsp of ground cardamon [or a 4 crushed pods]
e) 1/2 ground cinnamon
Add salt to taste and let all of these come together–or as my mother says “enjoy the aroma of the spices coming together’
9) Add one small diced tomato
10) 1 tsp of tomato paste and let the sauce thicken.
11) Now it is time to assemble. In an oven safe dish, first layer is the sauce. Arrange the fish on top of the sauce, then the potatoes and half of the browned onions. Then all of the rice comes on top. To finish it off, sprinkle some orange or yellow food coloring, a quarter of a cup of water, and 2 tbslp of olive oil on top. Cover with foil and place in 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!