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
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!
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.
For more rice recipes:
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!
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!
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 3-4 onions chopped
- 2 cups basmati long grain rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt plus more for fish
- ½ teaspoon pepper plus more for fish
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ pounds cod fish fillets
- ½ cup silvered toasted almonds for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for serving
- In a large deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat and fry the chopped onions until lightly golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse the rice, then transfer to the pot of onions. Season with salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and ginger. Toss well to combine and toast the rice lightly with the spices, about 5 minutes.
- Add 4 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Allow the rice to rest in the pot for about 5 minutes, without opening the lid, to absorb all the liquid and steam.
- While the rice is cooking, season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Fry on a skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, working in two batches to avoid over-crowding the skillet.
- Serve the cooked fish broken up in chunks or whole on top of the rice mixture. Add toasted almond and parsley on top.