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.


Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tanya knew that Palestine was her symbolic homeland. Always curious about her identity and connecting with her roots, she was eager to strengthen her ties to the Levant and traveled the region, desperate to learn more. It wasn’t until her first trip to Palestine that she became spiritually and emotionally connected.

She studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She then moved to the UAE, supporting numerous NGOs related to children’s welfare in the region. When she had her own family, she created the My Olive Roots platform in the hopes that her children and the Arabs diaspora would have a place to connect, learn and preserve their roots. Tanya enjoys discovering humanist stories and exploring the connection of food and art with culture.

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