Sayadieh

5 from 353 votes

This authentic Sayadieh recipe is also known as Lebanese Rice and Fish - made with perfectly seasoned fluffy rice & pan fried fish, topped with toasted nuts.

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With deeply spiced rice, caramelized onions, and golden flaky cod–all topped with crunchy toasted almonds–Sayadieh is a Lebanese fish and rice recipe that’s perfect for dinner! This fish sayadieh recipe is easy and approachable, and the Middle Eastern flavors are so good. This one’s a family favorite that we make and enjoy often.

Large platter of Sayadieh, Lebanese rice with fish, garnished with toasted almonds.
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I grew up eating sayadieh (also spelled sayadiyeh), a classic Lebanese fish and rice dish full of warm Mediterranean spices, sweet caramelized onions, and perfectly cooked pieces of fish. Authentic Middle Eastern sayadieh recipes often call for coating the fish with flour and deep-frying it, but in my family, we pan-seared or baked the fish for a lighter–yet still delicious–version.

For this sayadieh recipe, I coat the fish in flour and seasonings and pan-fry it for a perfect golden sear. It’s so good served on top of the flavorful rice with crunchy toasted almonds! Serve the fish whole on top of the rice or cut it into chunks and mix it with the cooked rice; your choice. Just add a vegetable or easy salad, and dinner’s made.

Recipe at a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Lebanese
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Dairy-free
Key Flavor: Warmly spiced
Skill Level: Beginner

Summary

  • Healthy weeknight meal: Sayadiyeh is an simple-to-make meal that comes together easily, making it a great option for dinners during the week.
  • Nutritious: Cod is rich in protein, omega-3s, and many vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense choice.
  • A new way to cook fish: If you’re looking for new ways to prepare cod or other flaky white fish, this sayadieh rice recipe brings different flavors to the table, making fish interesting again!
  • Accessible recipe: This sayadieh rice recipe might be unique, but it’s made with an accessible list of ingredients so you can recreate it easily at home.

Ingredients to Make Sayadieh

Ingredients for recipe before prepping: fish, parsley, onions, almonds, spices, rice, oil, flour and water.

For the Rice:

  • Basmati rice: Long grain rice, such as basmati, has a more firm texture and less starch than other types of rice, for a finished dish that’s tender but not sticky.
  • Onions: I like to use yellow onions, but white onions or sweet onions will work as well.
  • Olive oil: For sautéing the onions and toasting the rice and spices.
  • 7-spice: Lebanese 7 spice is a spice blend used many Middle Eastern recipes. Feel free to use store-bought or homemade.
  • Ginger, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric: Dried and ground, these spices add another layer of warmth and depth of flavor.
  • Salt & pepper: For highlighting the many flavors in this delicious rice.

For the Fish and Toppings:

  • Cod fillets: Fresh or frozen cod fillets will work in this recipe. If you’re using frozen, thaw them completely in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours before cooking it. I always recommend checking your fillets bones to prevent any surprises at mealtime.
  • Salt, pepper, & ground cumin: When it comes to cod, simpler is better, so only these three flavor enhancers are called for in my sayadiyeh.
  • Flour: For dunking the fish fillets into before cooking, resulting in a flavorful, golden crust. Use all-purpose flour for best results.
  • Olive oil: For sautéing your fish fillets.
  • Slivered almonds & parsley: These toppings are perfect on sayadiyeh. Toasted almonds provide a nutty crunch while parsley adds color and a welcome herbal note.
  • Use another type of fish: This recipe works well with other types of flaky white fish such as such as halibut or snapper.
  • Replace the almonds with pine nuts: This fish and rice recipe is also excellent with toasted pine nuts in place of the slivered almonds.
  • Serve 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.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon: A bit of fresh lemon juice is always welcome! Squeeze half a lemon’s worth it on top of the fish just as it’s finished cooking, or sprinkle a bit over the top of your assembled platter of sayadieh.

RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

How to Make Sayadieh

This Lebanese fish and rice recipe is simple to make. First, caramelize the onions, then add the spices, rice, and water. While your rice is cooking, toast the almonds and prepare the fish. It’s that easy!

Make the Lebanese Rice

  1. Saute the onions until soft and golden brown.
  2. Add the rice and spices, tossing well to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, toasting the rice and blooming the flavors of the spices.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until the rice has absorbed the water, turn off the heat, and let it steam for a bit longer. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
4 image collage making recipe in a pot: 1- sauteed onions, 2- with rice and spices added, 3- after adding broth, 4- after cooking rice.

Cook the Cod Fillets

  1. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season both sides with the cumin, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the flour to a bowl and dip the cod into the flour, coating it on both sides with the flour.
  3. Heat the skillet and toast the almonds until fragrant. Remove the almonds, heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, and, when hot, add the fish.
  4. Cook until a golden crust forms, then flip and cook the other side until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
4 image collage making recipe: 1- seasoned fish on a plate, 2- fish tossed in flour, 3- floured fish on an oiled skillet, 4- fish after flipping.

Tips for Making the Best Sayadieh

  1. Use long grain rice. Compared to short-grain rice, long-grain rice like basmati has a firmer texture and less starch, for cooked rice that’s tender without being sticky.
  2. 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.
  3. Pat the fish dry, and don’t overcrowd it. For the crispest, most golden crust, pat the fillets with a paper towel before breading and cooking them. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t overcrowd your fillets, which could result in steamed fish instead of crispy pan-seared pieces. It’s better to cook the fish in two batches vs. trying to cook too much fish in one.
  4. Blitz the onions in the food processor for faster prep. While I prefer dicing the onions by hand for a more uniform size, it’s a lot of chopping! If you prefer, you can chop the onions in your food processor.
Sayadieh on a large platter.

What to Serve With Sayadiyeh

How to Store & Reheat Sayadieh

To store leftovers from this fish sayadieh recipe, allow the fish and rice to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. To reheat, microwave leftovers until heated through.

How Long Will Sayadieh Last in the Fridge?

Lebanese fish and rice will last three to four days in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze This Fish and Rice Recipe?

Yes, you can freeze sayadiyeh for up to three months. Place it in an airtight container to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours, then reheat in the microwave until warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use brown rice in this sayadieh rice recipe?

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.

What type of fish is best to use for this fish sayadieh recipe?

While you can make sayadieh with any type of fish, it’s most common to pick white flaky fish like cod, halibut, haddock, or snapper. Readers have reported using tilapia with success, and pollock is another option.

Can I meal-prep this fish and rice recipe?

Yes, you can prepare some of the ingredients beforehand for easier assembling at dinnertime, such as chopping and cooking the onions so they’re ready to go. You can also completely prepare this Lebanese fish and rice recipe then separate into individual portions in airtight containers. Microwave on high to warm. Sayadieh lasts 3-4 days in the fridge.

Lebanese rice and fish, or Sayadieh, on a plate with a side of tahini dressing.

Cod is such a great option for healthy weeknight dinners, and this Lebanese fish and rice recipe is an absolutely delicious way to prepare it! It’s so good with that flaky, golden-seared fish, intensely flavored rice, and crunchy almonds. Sayadieh is a favorite of our family’s, and I hope yours loves it too!

More Authentic Lebanese Recipes:

If you try this feel good Sayadiyeh recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This Sayadiyeh recipe was originally published on March 25, 2020. The recipe has been slightly modified to switch out the spices and reduce the amount of turmeric and the post now includes updated step-by-step photos.

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Sayadieh

This authentic Sayadieh recipe is also known as Lebanese Rice and Fish – made with perfectly seasoned fluffy rice & pan fried fish, topped with toasted nuts.
5 from 353 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Calories 394
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

For the Rice

For the Fish & Toppings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • ½ cup slivered toasted almonds for serving
  • 1 ½ pounds cod fish fillets
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for serving

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Storage: Allow the fish and rice to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. To reheat, microwave leftovers until heated through.
Freezing Instructions: You can freeze the sayadieh for up to 3 months. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and microwave until heated through.
Make Ahead Tips: You can chop the onions in advance up to a day before and even caramelize the onions beforehand in order to reduce the prep time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 394kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.001g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 351mg, Potassium: 555mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 114IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Entree

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Comments

  1. amy says:

    Fellow Metro-Detroiter here 😉 I’m planning to make this for the first time this week. Why did you choose to reduce the amount of turmeric so much from the original? Based on comments or your personal preference?

  2. Hazel says:

    Easy to make with huge results, absolutely delicious. Also, made the tahina sauce 🤤
    Thank you for the great recipe, really enjoy your recipes. 🥰

    1. Yumna says:

      Yum, so good! Thanks for your feedback!

  3. Ghada says:

    I made only the Sayadieh rice from the recipe. Instead of water i used vegetable broth and added about a teaspoon of fish sauce, it turned out excellent.
    I really like your site Yumna, large variety of recipes and easy to make.

    1. Yumna says:

      Thanks so much!

  4. Colleen says:

    I made this exactly as written. It was so flavourful! A keeper! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yumna says:

      So glad to hear!

  5. Nayla says:

    I want to do the recipe for someone that cannot have gluten. Can i use cornstarch instead of flour for the fish?

  6. Consuela says:

    I can’t even explain how good this was! I pan fried the fish with flour in a bit of oil, it had nice crunch, in addition to the nuts. I also made a creamy tahini salad with parsley, tomatoes, onions, tahini, garlic and lemon. Just sooo good!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yum! So glad you enjoyed!

  7. Sammy says:

    Wish you included in the recipe that the meal is best served with Tahini sauce. I only read the recipe section of the blog & when I went to make it I hadn’t picked up the ingredients to make the tahini sauce. The meal was still good, but a bit bland without the sauce.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you for your feedback! I believe this recipe can be just as good without the Tahini Sauce due to the seasonings, so if you don’t have the ingredients for the sauce, next time I recommend adding larger quantities of the seasoning. Let me know how it goes if you decide to give this another try but with the Tahini Sauce!

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