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Another classic Lebanese dish I grew up eating is called Sayadieh, which is basically a Middle Eastern fish and rice dish. This classic family favorite recipe that is full of warm Mediterranean spices, sweet caramelized onions and perfectly cooked pieces of fish. It’s a unique recipe but made with easily accessible ingredients!
Table of Contents
RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL
How do you make Sayadieh
- Chop 3-4 large onions and transfer to a large skillet or deep pot. Lightly caramelize the onions with olive oil until the color is lightly golden brown, but be careful not to over brown them.
- Add the rinsed rice on top of the caramelized onions, along with the spices.
- Stir everything together while the heat is still on in order to toast the rice with the spices. Add double the liquid amount to the rice amount and bring mixture to a boil.
- Simmer on low and cook until the rice is tender. Be sure to fluff the rice after letting it rest.
While the rice is cooking, you can prepare the fish that is an essential part of the sayadieh recipe. This part of the recipe can be adapted to suit your cooking preference for the fish. Traditionally, you would bread the fish with flour and deep fry it to serve it on top.
However, we grew up either lightly pan searing the fish or baking the fish when making sayadieh. Make sure to use white flaky fish like cod, snapper or halibut for best results. Then you can serve the fish whole on top of the rice or cut it up into chunks and mixed in with the cooked rice.
Tips for making sayadieh
- Use long grain rice. Compared to short grain rice, long grain rice, like basmati, has a more firm texture and less starch. That means the final sayadieh result will yield rice that’s tender without being as sticky.
- Give the rice time to steam after cooking it. This is my rule of thumb whenever I cook rice. I always turn the timer on for 5-10 minutes (depending on the quantity of rice I make) and allow the rice to steam in the pot to absorb any extra liquid. It helps to let the grains separate to yield a more fluffy consistency.
- Serve the sayadieh with tahini sauce. While there is so much flavor in the spiced rice and cooked fish, we love to add a lemony tahini dressing on the side to drizzle over every bite.
Frequently asked questions
I recommend using long grain white basmati rice for best results. However, if you want to use brown rice, be sure to add an extra 30 minutes of cooking time to the recipe since brown rice needs more time to become tender.
While you can really make sayadieh with any type of fish, it’s most common to pick. white flaky fish like cod, halibut, haddock or snapper.
If you’re looking for new rice dishes to try out, this is a very approachable recipe that’s very well balanced between the rice and fish. It’s a family favorite that we make a few times a year. Just get ready to chop a lot of onions!
For more rice recipes:
- Mediterranean Ground Beef and Rice
- Lebanese Rice
- Lebanese Lentils and Rice
- Tomato Rice Pilaf
- Jollof Rice
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Sayadieh recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
This Sayadieh recipe was originally published on March 25, 2020 and has been recently updated with new photography, including ingredients and step-by-step process shots to better help make the recipe.
For the Rice
- In a large deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and fry the chopped onions until lightly golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the rice on top of the onions and season with 7 spice, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine the rice with the spices and onions. and toast the rice lightly with the spices, about 5 minutes.
- Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let the rice rest, covered, for 10 more minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
- While the rice is cooking, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring frequently, until they’re golden-brown and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. (this will be just like the “How to Toast Almonds but in a bigger pot, so I recommend just transferring it from the big pot to a small skillet for the tutorial or vice versa)
- Use paper towels to pat the fish dry, then season with salt, pepper and cumin on both sides. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dip the cod fillet in the flour lightly on both sides.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the same skillet used to cook the almonds over medium-high heat.
- Add the fish into the skillet and cook the first side for about 3-4 minutes then flip and cook the other side for about 3-4 minutes.
- Serve the cooked fish on top of the rice mixture and garnish with toasted almonds and parsley.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.