Saffron Moghrabieh with Sea Bass and Chickpeas

A recipe for a beloved festive Lebanese dish from a Terra Madre chef…

Moghrabieh, a type of couscous, literally means, “a dish from the Maghreb”. It is a beloved traditional dish in Lebanon and a staple in festive family meals. This recipe was provided by Terra Madre chef Joe Barza

Joe Barza is looking on as two Palestinian women make maftoul.
Joe Barza is looking on as two Palestinian women make maftoul.

Serves 4:

Ingredients
250g dried moghrabieh
1l (4 cups) fish stock
2 pinches of saffron
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 tbsp (30g) butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
juice and zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh cream
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
15g grated Parmesan
1 tbsp white wine
250g sea bass filet (or other sustainable local fish), sliced into strips
1 cup fish stock
1/4 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup coriander leaves
salt to taste

Moghrabieh is even known as giant couscous.
Moghrabieh is even known as giant couscous.

Method:

For the moghrabieh
Place the dried moghrabieh, fish stock and a pinch of saffron in a pan and simmer on a low heat until half cooked through (about 10 minutes).
Drain, reserving the remaining stock. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, add the onions and sweat until translucent.
Add the moghrabieh and mix.
Pour in a small amount of the fish stock to the mixture until the liquid is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally. Repeat the process until the moghrabieh is cooked.
Stir in the chickpeas, lemon juice and zest, cream, salt, fresh and ground coriander, Parmesan, white wine and cumin.
Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the fish
Preheat the oven to 140°C. Place the fish strips together with the fish stock in an ovenproof dish and bake for 20 minutes.

For the sauce
Place the remaining stock and cornflower in a pan with a pinch of saffron and stir over a low heat until it thickens.

To serve, dish the moghrabieh in a bowl and place the poached fish on top. Garnish with pine nuts and coriander leaves, and top with the sauce.