Herbed Rice with Coriander Seeds and Fish Fillets in a Cumin Marinade: Ruz Hoot bil Kusbur رز مع السمك

Ruz bil Kusbur is a strongly flavored rice with herbs and tomatoes, studded with crunchy coriander seeds. It is served with seafood, and traditionally cooked in a stock made from fish heads. The typical Libyan marinade for fish is based on cumin and garlic, sometimes with the addition of chillies. It is used for grilled and baked fish; but also to add zing to fried fish fillets, as in this recipe.

Despite Libya having one of the longest coastlines on the Mediterranean, with the majority of the population living in the coastal areas, lamb and chicken based dishes dominate the cuisine. Seafood is eaten regularly though, some favorite recipes being Haraimi (fish poached in a spicy tomato sauce), baked Faruj (grouper), stuffed squid, and small fried fish with potato stuffing (Mubattan Kawali). While sometimes eaten with bread, these seafood dishes are more often accompanied by Ruz  bil Hoot.

Serves 4-6

Herbed Rice with Coriander Seeds
3 cups short grain rice washed and well drained
about 6 cups hot fish stock (or 2 fish stock cubes dissolved in 6 cups hot water )
5 tbspoons corn oil 
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
1 finely chopped chili peppers
2-3 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1-2 tablespoons pan roasted coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of each, cumin,black pepper, paprika
2 tablespoons salt

Libyan Cumin and Garlic Marinated Fried Fish

6 White fish fillets (any kind)
vegetable oil for deep frying  

Marinade (also used for whole grilled or baked fish)
3-4 garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon cumin
1 finely chopped chili pepper (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Juice of half a lemon

for fish coating 
5 tbspoon white flour  
5 tbspoons fine breadcrumbs

2-3 tbspoons water  
2 eggs

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade, put in food processor until it becomes a smooth paste, coat the fillets and set aside while you start cooking the rice. 
Put the oil in a thick base pot, add the chopped  ingredients, stir for a few minutes, and leave  to cook on low heat until the onion soften.

Meanwhile roast the coriander in a frying pan, preferably just before adding. Some like to grind them first, but whole coriander seeds give a nutty texture to the dish.
 Add the rice, the remaining spices, stir well and add the fish stock (or crumble stock cubes and add hot water). The stock should be about 2 fingers above the level of the rice. Leave on moderate heat until evaporated to just above the level of the rice, stir well, cover and leave on low heat for approx. half an hour.

Meanwhile, start frying the fish. Whisk the egg with 3tbspoon water, dip each fillet first in the egg mix, then coat both sides with flour and breadcrumbs mix, then deep fry in batches until golden in colour, place on kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.

Put the rice in serving plate, top with the fish fillets. Serve with haraymi sauce and lemon wedges