Easy Portuguese Fish Rice

I spent a lovely day with Luís Lopes and his team at their culinary school, Cooking Lisbon, mooching around Mercado de Arroios, a restored 1940s food market, and then learning to cook with the ingredients we bought there. This is based on their recipe.

The amount of liquid in fish rice can vary hugely – sometimes the texture is the same as risotto, sometimes it is closer to soup. For authentic soupy rice, use a ratio of 4:1 fish stock to rice.

Serves: 4


  • 4 x 120–150g fresh white fish, such as hake, cod, haddock or bass
  • generous splash vinegar
  • 750ml water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red peppers, halved, ribs and seeds removed, and finely chopped
  • generous pinch salt
  • a handful each flat-leaf parsley and coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 50ml white wine
  • 4 tablespoon passata or blitzed canned tomatoes
  • 200g carolino, risotto or long-grain rice
  • freshly ground black pepper


Place the fish bones into a bowl of iced water with a generous splash of vinegar – this helps remove any blood and gives a clearer stock. After about 15 minutes, remove, rinse and place the bones in a large saucepan. Cover with water and simmer for about 15 minutes to make a stock. (Or use good quality, ready-made fish stock.)

Place a large pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic and peppers, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for about five minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent, then add the coriander and parsley stems and the chopped tomatoes. Stir, then add the wine. Let it bubble for one or two minutes, then add the passata.

Drain the stock, discarding the bones, and pour the liquid into the pan. Add the rice and cook gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. When the rice is tender, taste the mixture, which will be quite wet, and add more salt if you like, and some pepper.

Finally, add the fish pieces, cover and cook for four or five minutes, until just cooked through. Serve in four bowls, with the chopped herbs on top.

Recipe taken from Rebecca Seal by Lisbon
Full of history and great food, and bursting with character, Portugal’s capital is one of Europe’s most charming cities. In Lisbon, Rebecca Seal shares her favourite recipes, inspired by her travels. Set on seven hills, Lisbon features world-class beaches, city views and wild forests. And the food is as diverse as the surroundings – from the bars in Baiiro Alto to the cafes in Chiado, there’s something for everyone. Try the roasted octopus with smoked paprika, parsley and lemon, pork with clams, and the classic chicken piri piri, all washed down with some homemade sangria. Rebecca’s sweets are not to be missed, and include a delicate almond cake, a coconut Brioche, and a decadent chocolate cake.

You can purchase Lisbon at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

Related articles:
Fish Curry
Cheesy Salmon Patties
Fried Rice for One

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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