Lebanon is a small country at the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes abundance of fruits, vegetables, starches, red and white meat, fish and seafood. Its mouth-watering combination of Mediterranean and seafood cuisine makes it so unique. One of the famous fish cousin is the sayadieh Lebanese rice with fish. Originated in the southern areas of Lebanon. The origin of the word sayadieh came from “sayad”, which means fisherman in Lebanese. Rice is cooked with caramelized onion and fragrant spices with fish.
You can use any white fish, like sea bass, snapper, haddock or cod. The fish can be fried, grilled or backed. What best suits you.
– 1 to 1 ½ kg of fresh or frozen fish
– 3-4 large onions diced
– 4 garlic cloves minced
– Cooking oil
– 1 tablespoon of turmeric or ½ tablespoon of saffron
– ½ teaspoon of cumin
– ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
– 2 cinnamon stick
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
– 3 cups of long grain rice or basmati
– ½ cup of raw almond
– ½ cup of raw pine nuts
– 4 cup of water
– Salt to taste
Tarator sauce is a tahini based sauce serves as the foundation for mezes like hummus and baba gahanouj. It is also a wonderful sauce in its own way, showing its versatility by adding lemony hit to the kufte or vegetables or fish.
– ½ cup well stirred tahihi
– ½ cup warm water
– 2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
– 1 garlic clove minced
– ½ tea spoon of salt
Puree all the ingredients or blend until smooth.
Preparing the sayadieh
There are two ways to prepare the fish. Using fillet fish and grill in the oven or fry as instructed bellow.
Coat the fish with plain flour so it does not stick to the pan while frying, heat 1 to 2 cups of cooking oil in a pan over high heat. When hot fry the fish on all sides till cooked and crispy. Transferee to a large plate with paper towel to drain excess oil. When cooled to handle remove the fish heads and set aside. Peal the skin off the fish, and remove the fish flesh in large chunks from the bones. Set the fish meat on a clean plate and discard the bones.
Put the fish heads in a pot add 4 cups of water, 2 bay leaves and the cinnamon stick bring to boil and let it simmer for 10 -15 min to get the fish stock flavours from the head. Or you can use fish stock cube.
Toasting the nut
Heat oil in a small pan until hot but not smoking. Add the almond, pine nut and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and toasted 7 – 8 min, using a wooden spoon transfer to paper towel and put aside.
Rinse the rice until water is cleared and soak for 30 min. set aside
In a reasonably sized pot over medium heat remove about ½ a cup of cooking oil from the pan used to fry the fish. Or fresh cooking oil. Fry the onions until the onion are caramelized, crispy and brown in colour.
Remove 5 tablespoon of the fried onion and set aside for the garnish.
Stir in the spices, salt and sifter the fish stock into the pot.
Add the rice to the mixture, Cover and bring to boil.
When the water is about to dry. Gently make a volcano hole in the middle of the rice pot and add in the fish chunks with care and cover with the rice.
Then lower the heat and let the rice cook for 20 min. Add more hot water if needed. The rice is cooked when all water has evaporated.
Serve the rice in a serving plate. Gently spread the fish with the rice and Sprinkle the fried onions and nuts.
Goes well with Arabic salad or tarator on the side.
Basic Arabic salad (salata Arabia). Diced lettuce, tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint and lemon juice, salt, garlic, olive oil for dressing.