Both these dishes are a great representation of the fishing heritage of the UAE. I like to use King Fish or Kanaad, which is one of the most popular fish among the Gulf local population.
For many years, the UAE has been a trading centre for spices, and Emiratis have combined several of them in order to create a mix named Bzar or “Bazaar”. Soup is a good dish to end a fast at iftar time and the Bzar Hammour is a dish for sharing with your family or friends, and therefore always a good reminder that Ramadan is all about sharing and being together.
HOW TO MAKE SEAFOOD SOUP
1 litre fish stock
120g baby squid (cleaned and cut into rings)
100g King fish fillets
1 tablespoon garlic chopped finely
2 tablespoon onion chopped
250g canned tomato
100g carrots finely chopped
80g celery finely chopped
2 tablespoon or as needed cumin
2 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Sweat onion, garlic, carrots and celery in oil until soft. Add tomato, then add the fish stock. Add bay leaf and cardamom pods. Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Blend the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning and finish with cream.
2. Season the fish with cumin and pan fry and set aside. Reheat the soup and add the squid while it simmers but make sure to cook them in a minute or less.
3. To plate, place the fish fillet at the bottom then add the soup.
4. Garnish with olive oil, coriander leaves and some lemon wedges in the side.
Optional: Can add some other shellfish like clams, mussels, prawns or any fish or shellfish.
HOW TO MAKE BZAR HAMMOUR
For Bzar Spice rub:
Cloves- 60 grams
Black peppercorns -30 grams
Toast the following spices and grind it until it is in powder form.
Turmeric Powder- 60 grams
Nutmeg powder-40 grams
Chili powder-20 grams
Garlic powder-60 grams
• Mix all of the spices all together. Store in an airtight container.
Hammour- 1pc (we prefer 1-1.5kgs size which is good for 2-3 pax).
When you buy from fish market, you can ask the fishmonger to clean it up for you and tell them to butterfly cut it down for your convenience.
1. Rub generously with spices and leave it for about 20-30mins before grilling. Preheat your grill and make sure it is hot enough so the fish will not stick on it. Rub the fish with olive oil and start to grill both sides and finish it off in the oven for about 15-20mins.
2. Garnish with some olive oil, lemon wedges, and some side salad as you wish.
— Leo Calderon is the head chef at Seafood Kitchen.