If you are looking for a different way to cook fish, you are going to love this easy one-dish fish and rice bake. Succulent white fish fillets are nestled on a bed of rice, and oven-baked in a spicy tomato sauce. Just put it in the oven and then relax while it cooks itself!
Spicy fish and rice bake
I grew up in the north of England where a plate of fish and chips formed the staple part of most people’s diet. I remember being sent to the fish shop to fetch the family supper and watching as the golden chips and crispy battered fish were scooped out out of the warmer onto a sheet of newspaper, before being wrapped up and handed over to me. How times have changed. My local chippy now packs the fish and chips into a polystyrene box!
But I think those early days must have been where I developed my love of fish. It’s still one of my favourite foods and it features on my menu, in one form or another, at least once a week.
The recipe I’m sharing today is for a spicy one-dish fish and rice bake. It’s super quick and easy to prepare, and tastes amazing. The fish is baked in the oven along with the rice in a spicy tomato and onion sauce, until it is fork-tender and the rice has absorbed all the lovely flavours from the sauce.
And because the sauce is packed with onions, tomatoes and red and yellow peppers you don’t need much by way of side dishes. A bowl of peas is probably sufficient, and perhaps a fresh green salad if you are feeling really energetic!
This is a meal that basically cooks itself, so without any further ado, let’s get on to the recipe, so I can show you how quick and easy it is to make.
How to make spicy fish and rice bake
The ingredients given in this recipe are sufficient for 2 people. If you are feeding more people you can just double the quantities.
You will need a 7″ x 9″ baking dish. However if you are making a larger quantity you will need to increase the size of the baking dish.
You will need one large or 2 small fillets of firm white fish (about 200g / 7 oz) per person. Cod or haddock is a good choice, but any firm white fish will be suitable for this recipe. I wouldn’t use a delicate fish like sole though, because this will just fall apart during cooking. You need a nice firm chunky fish.
Also check the fish carefully to ensure that there are no bones.
I used basmati, but you can use any long-grained white rice. Don’t use brown rice because the longer cooking time for brown rice would mean that the fish would be cooked long before the rice was cooked.
For 2 people you will need 3/4 cup (150g) uncooked white rice.
For this recipe you need 1 1/4 cups of stock. You can make the stock with a stock cube. I like to use a vegetable stock cube for this recipe because I don’t want to introduce any other meaty flavours. If you don’t have vegetable stock cubes then a chicken cube would be the best alternative.
The ratio of liquid to rice is 2 : 1 – ie double the amount of liquid by volume. So for 3/4 cup of rice you would normally use 1 1/2 cups of liquid. However, because of the liquid that is present in the tomatoes I reduced the liquid by 1/4 of a cup to compensate. The aim of this recipe is to have just enough liquid to be fully absorbed by the rice. Too much liquid and the dish will be ‘runny’; not enough liquid and the rice will be hard.
Dissolve the stock cube in 1 and 1/4 cups of boiling water and then mix in 1/2 teaspoon chilli paste or crushed chilli. This will add a little heat. You can adjust this to your own taste. Do take care if you are doubling the recipe that you don’t overdo the chilli. Then add 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons tomato puree.
Place the rice into the baking dish and cover with the hot seasoned stock. The heat from the boiling water will give the rice a head start in the cooking process.
You will need one large onion, two large tomatoes and half each red and yellow bell peppers. These should be cut into approximately 1cm pieces. and then fried in a little olive oil until the onions are translucent and the peppers have softened. I find that if I leave the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to the lowest setting that the vegetables sweat nicely, and take about 5 minutes to soften. They don’t need to be completely cooked. They will finish off the cooking process once they are in the oven.
Mix the onions, peppers and tomatoes into the stock and rice mixture.
Add the fish
If the fillets are very large cut into smaller pieces and then submerge them in the rice/sauce mixure.
Cover the dish with a sheet of tinfoil and place in a pre-heated oven (290C / 350F) for 30 minutes. Try to fold the tinfoil as tightly as possible over the edges of the dish to keep as much steam as possible inside.
After 30 minutes remove the dish from the oven and carefully remove the tinfoil lid. I speak from experience when I say the steam will be very hot, so take care not to burn yourself!
Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked. It should be soft and the liquid should have been completely absorbed. If the rice is still hard, and the liquid is not all absorbed, replace the tinfoil lid and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Serve with a side helping of peas, and possibly a fresh green salad.
Can you freeze this fish and rice bake?
To freeze the rice, let it cool completely, then pack it into a rigid plastic container. (I wash and keep old plastic margarine tubs or ice-cream tubs especially for freezing leftovers). It will keep happily in the freezer for 6 months or more.
To use, let it defrost either in the fridge, or at room temperature. Then tip the rice into a saucepan and reheat gently, stirring occasionally, until it is piping hot. Alternatively, you could leave the defrosted rice in its container and reheat it in the microwave.
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Recipe – Spicy fish and rice bake in tomato sauce
Spicy fish and rice bake in tomato sauce
- Baking dish
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- 400 g firm white fish cod or haddock, or your fish of choice
- I large onion
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 yellow pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup uncooked white long-grained rice 150g
- 1¼ cups vegetable stock use a stock cube.
- ½ teaspoon chilli paste / crushed chilli or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 Tablespoons tomato puree
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C / 375°F
- Peel the onions and chop into 1cm pieces.
- Cut the tomatoes and peppers into 1cm pieces
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan and saute the vegetables gently until the onions are translucent and the peppers have started to soften
- Make the stock by dissolving 1 vegetable stock cube in 1¼ cups of boiling water
- Add ½teaspoon chilli paste (or crushed chilli), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika and 2 tablespoons tomato puree to the stock and stir to combine
- Place ¾ cup (150 g) rice in a 7" x 9" baking dish
- Pour the stock over the rice
- Mix in the vegetables
- Submerge the fish in the stock/rice mixture
- Cover with a sheet of tinfoil
- Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes
- Remove from the oven and serve with rice and a fresh green salad
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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