Sea Bass with Turmeric & Saffron Rice

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
This recipe is a seasonal staple from the kitchen of my grandmother, who raised my mother and uncles along the seaside in the city of Saida in South Lebanon, facing the citadel. It works equally well with sea bream.
1 whole sea bass (about 2kg)
200ml vegetable oil
100g plain flour
1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tsp allspice
1 tsp turmeric
1⁄2 tsp saffron
220g short-grain rice
220g long-grain rice
50g toasted pine nuts
100g toasted almonds
Salt, to taste
For the taratour
160ml tahini, well stirred
Juice of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt, to taste
Wearing rubber gloves, lay the bass on a cutting board and hold it by the tail. Starting at the tail and working towards the head, remove the scales by scraping them off with the blunt side of a knife, using short strokes against the grain of the scales. Make a cut down the center of the belly from head to tail and discard the guts. Scrape the inside of the fish until all the internal parts are removed, and cut out the gills. Rinse the fish very well in cold water, inside and out. Pat dry with kitchen towels. Cut into 4 pieces, keeping the head and tail.
 
In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip the fish pieces in flour and place them in the pan, in batches if necessary. Fry
the fish until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with several layers of paper towel. Reserve 75ml of the frying oil.
 
When the onions are ready, increase the temperature under the saucepan to high and pour the frying oil over them. Add the cumin, allspice, turmeric and saffron, season with salt, and stir to combine. Pour in 750ml water and bring to the boil. Add all the rice and cook on high for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium- low, cover and simmer for 30 mi nutes, or until the rice is al dente.
 
While the rice cooks, skin and debone the fish.