My mother-in-law shares with me tasty recipes when she sees one she thinks I might like. These are usually no-nonsense good food recipes, without lots of faff. My kind of recipes. Even if I had all the time in the world, I don’t think I would be someone who wanted to spend hours and hours cooking supper each night. There is always something else to do, whether it’s continuing with my current side project – aka this blog; sorting the washing – less fun; feeding the kids – kind of essential; or my personal favourite which I haven’t achieved for far too long – read a few more pages of my current book. Read a novel at 6pm in the evening, sounds like a dream to me!
Recently, Dave’s Mum shared a recipe for steamed fish with rice and a sweet soy sauce dressing. The rice and fish were cooked separately. It sounded good, but as someone continually battling to make supper with as little washing up as possible, I wondered whether it would be possible to cook the fish on top of the rice. This would mean just one pan to wash. It would also mean that the rice would pick up on some of the fish flavour. In my rational head I thought this should be possible. I would be steaming the rice in a pan, so surely I could steam the fish at the same time.
My first attempt left me with raw fish. Good rice, but raw fish – now I love sushi in all it’s glory, but this raw smoked haddock didn’t look appetising, more like a potential bad tummy night. Not good. My second attempt left me with beautifully cooked fish and rice, but something was missing – the wow factor. Dave added a bowl of Spinach Dahl Soup to his meal and said it was amazing. I have no doubt he was right, but that wasn’t what this dish was meant to be. The rice and fish were the stars of this show, and I wanted them to shine in their own right.
So back to the drawing board for a third attempt. This time, once the rice and fish were cooked, I fluffed up the rice and added dill, coriander and toasted hazelnuts. OK, now we were talking, this steamed fish and rice with herbs was the sort of flavour level I was after. I also added dill and lemon to yoghurt and served that alongside. This tasty creamy sauce brought everything together. The rice was warm and fragrant having been cooked with bay leaves, and mustard and cumin seeds. Mustard seeds give a lovely flavour but certainly no spice. That would be too much for the fish. The haddock is there in all it’s steamed smoked glory. Dill and coriander bring their lovely fresh flavour while not overpowering the fish. While the roasted hazelnuts bring their contrasting texture and taste. Yoghurt with dill and a squeeze of lemon finish the dish perfectly.
This steamed fish and rice with herbs feels so good for your body. 1 tbsp of oil is all the fat involved. By steaming the rice and fish you give this meal a beautiful light feeling, perfect after the heaviness of Christmas food. The herbs and lemon bring an almost cleansing quality. And to top it all, this healthy meal packed full of gently flavours, is ready in 25 minutes and uses just one pan. Treat yourself!
Steamed fish and rice with herbs
- The fish needs to be chunky, around 2 – 2.5cm/1” thick. That way it will take the same time to cook as the rice.
- Your pan needs a lid and should be big enough for the fish to lie without overlapping the sides.
- For my palate this meal doesn’t need salt. There is enough flavour without it. But you could add salt to the stock before adding to the rice.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 100g basmati rice
- 140ml hot vegetable stock
- 2 fillets smoked haddock
- 40g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- 30g coriander, roughly chopped
- 30g dill, roughly chopped
- 100g Greek or natural yoghurt
- ¼ lemon juice or 1 tbsp of juice
- In a pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. When hot, add the seeds and bay leaves and cover with the lid. The mustard seeds will start to pop but keep the lid on until the popping has pretty much stopped.
- Add the onion and serve to combine with the oil and seeds. Fry with the lid on for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and soft.
- Add the rice and stir well. Pour on the stock and then place the fish on top of the rice (if the fish still has skin on it, place it skin side up) and replace the lid. Listen and watch the pan. When the stock starts boiling, you’ll know because you’ll hear it and see steam escaping. Turn the heat down as low as you can (I move the pan from a medium ring to my smallest ring at this point and turn the gas as low as I can.)
- After 10 minutes turn the heat off. Leave the pan as it is for 5 minutes.
- While you wait, mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice and a handful dill.
- Once the rice and fish are cooked, remove the skin from the fish and place the fish somewhere warm. Fluff up the rice. Stir in the coriander, the remaining dill and the hazelnuts.
- Serve with the fish on the rice and the yoghurt on the side.