Sayadieh Recipe – Fish & Lebanese rice

Fish and rice are a great combination and this Ultimate Sayadieh Recipe is definitely an example of that. This dish is a lovely marriage between rice and fresh fish. The fish must be very fresh in order to keep its namesake. You see, Sayadieh in Lebanese roughly means a “fisherman’s meal”. This dish is widely regarded as a delicacy and it is sought after by everyone who goes to a Lebanese maritime restaurant. In this post, we will teach you the ultimate Sayadieh Recipe so you can make it yourself from the comfort of your home. 

Sayadieh Recipe - Fish & Lebanese rice

The Ultimate Lebanese Sayadieh Recipe

The ingredients 

2 kg sea bass, or any other large white fish such as red snapper or cod
long grain rice: 3 cups
3 large onions
Olive oil: 3 tablespoons 
Vegetable oil: 3/4 cup 
Raw pine nuts: 1/2 cup 
Almonds: 1/2 cups 
Turmeric: 1/2 teaspoon 
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon caraway
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt to taste

The steps

This coveted dish starts off with a selection of fresh fish. We recommend sea bass. Although, you might also opt for another type of large white fish, such as red snapper or cod. So go down to the port or your local fish market and grab 2 kgs of your favorite white fish. This Sayadieh Recipe also requires many other ingredients:

You should fillet the fish that you purchased. Make sure to let the knife do the work as you go through the fish. The first step is to lay the fish down and gently scrap its skin. Then make a longitudinal incision along the belly of the fish. pull out the innards of the fish.  Thoroughly clean the fish before cooking it as this can alter the taste. Make sure to also remove the gills and the head of the fish and then cut your fillets to four or six portions per fish. 

In a pan, fry the almonds and pine nuts in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until they become slightly caramelized. Then remove them from the pan and set them aside on an absorbent kitchen paper. 

Gently rub the fish with a mixture of olive oil and salt.

Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan and fry the fish until tender. Turn off the heat.

Remove the fish from the pan and keep the oil in the pan.
Fry the onions, in the reserved oil in the pan, until crispy and brown in color. Remove 3 tablespoons of the fried onions and keep aside for the garnish.

Add the fish head, the spices, and 4 cups of hot water to the fried onions in the pan. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 30 min on medium heat or until the onions become very soft.

Remove the fish head. Bring the sauce to a boil then add the rice. Cover the pan and cook the rice over low heat for 25 min. Add more hot water if needed and taste to see if more salt and seasoning is needed. The rice is cooked when all water has evaporated.

And Voila! now add your garnish of nuts and caramelized onions (maybe even some parsley too) and serve it while it’s hot

If you want to enjoy this Sayadieh Recipe the way its meant to be cooked but you don’t have time to make it yourself? You’re in luck!  If you’re around Beirut you should definitely order Mama’s Tabkha. The Sayadieh frequently features on the menu so you don’t want to miss it