Egyptian Whole Fried Fish (Sayyadiah)
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We start by creating the seasoning paste. With a knife, cut the following items into small piece: green bell peppers, hot chilis, and garlic.
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In a food processor or chopper, place the green bell pepper, hot chilis, garlic, ground cumin, ground dry coriander and 2 table spoons of sea salt. Also add the vinegar and lemon juice, but try to reduce their amounts if you think that the final mixture will be very liquid. You need to create a thick paste. Run the food processor for some time and add more vinegar and lemon juice if needed to reach a better texture.
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Pour the resulted paste in a container and seal it. We will use it to season the fish, but any excess amounts can be preserved in the refrigerator and used for other seasoning needs.
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Scale and gut the fish. I like to leave the heads on, but you don't have to if you don't like it! Rinse it with excessive water and wipe dry.
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Place the fish on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut four deep slits (5 cm-long each) into both sides of the fish.
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Rub the seasoning paste on both sides of the fish and into the cuts.
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Put the fish in a flat plate, wrap it and leave it to marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. The more you leave it, the better the taste. I like to prepare it in the evening and let it to marinate overnight.
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When it's time for frying, mix the flour and 2 table spoons of sea salt in a large shallow bowl. One after the other, place the fish inside the bowl to get the flour mix stick to it. Flip it to the other side and repeat the process. Make sure the whole fish is evenly dusted with the flour mix from all sides.
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Prepare a large pot, a wok or a deep skillet. Fill it up to the half with olive oil (you need the right amount of oil to deep fry the fish, based on its thickness). You can also use a deep fryer if you have one.
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Transfer the flour-dusted fish to a flat plate or surface, and let it stand for 10 minutes, so that the flour gets slightly dryer.
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Heat the oil to 180 degrees Celsius.
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Carefully lower the fish into the oil and fry until brown. On average, it will need around 7-12 minutes to get cooked.
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Remove the fish from the oil and drain briefly on an absorbent towel.
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Place the fish in the serving plate and season it with salt and parsley. Serve immediately with Tahini salad (review my recipe) and green salad.
Enjoy your meal!