Sayadieh Samak is a  sensational dish from the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean, specifically the Levant region.  It is a savoury rice dish cooked with fish, fried onions and fragrant spices, then  garnished with caramelized onions and toasted nuts. The origin of the word sayadieh comes from siad (صياد) , which means fisherman in ArabicYou can use any white fish for this dish, like sea bass, snapper, haddock or cod and it can be fried, grilled or baked. 

Preparation Time

  • 2 hours 

Cooking Time

  • 45 minutes


  •  4 — 6 pax


  • 500g fish fillets (grouper, tilapia or cod)
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 6 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup flour  (dusting the fillets)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • garnish : fried onions, toasted pine seeds and almonds, pomegranate seeds, lemon wedges

For Sauce

  • ¾ cup white short grain rice
  • 2 medium red tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup split chickpeas
  • ½ bunch spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch of parsley, chopped medium fine
  • ¼ bunch mint, chopped medium fine
  • 2 heaped tablespoons sumac
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of ground all-spice
  • ¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 large lemon or to taste
  • ½ cup Olive Oil


  • Soak the rice in water for up to an hour.
  • Mix half the ground cumin with lemon juice and ¼ cup of olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Place fish fillet in a dish and pour the cumin mixture over it. Leave to marinade for about 2 hours.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions and the remaining cumin. Mix and cook until golden.
  • Add the rice to the pan and mix well, coating everything together. Pour water into the pan to come, cover just over the rice, about 3 cm. and bring to a boil, Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook for a further 5-7 minutes, be sure to check the fish to make sure it doesn’t over cook.
  • When it is cooked and crispy, place the rice mixture onto a place, top with fish and garnish with nuts, mint and lemon wedges.