Sayadieh bi Samak

It’s high time I return to the kitchen. All this talk about women made me hungry and in need of some high-octane nutrients: Seafood and a simple way to prepare roasted fish and Sayadieh (Rice).

In Tartous and in all coastal cities around the world no doubt, fish is an important part of our diet. There are so many ways to prepare various types of seafood that nobody can truly claim any one particular recipe. In my opinion, when it comes to cooking fish, the simpler the better. The sea provides us with the most delicious source of animal protein. Little manipulation is needed to enhance or to bring out the taste of the already scrumptious white meat. Besides, the purpose of this post is to get anyone to be able to go out to the local supermarket or better yet a nearby fish market, grab some fish, rice and a few ingredients and get down to eat a most delicious plate in a little over an hour.

We all know that fresh fish is best. If you can get it don’t even think twice. Buy the finest fish you care to pay for. The universal truth about fish is that the higher the price the better the quality. Fish with a relatively full girth roast better than their thinner counterparts, which in turn are more suited to frying. Look for specimen weighing between ½ to 1 kg (1 to 2 lbs).

The following quantities are enough to feed 6 hungry souls.

3 kg of fish (3 to 6 pieces)
3 cups of long grain rice
10 medium-sized dry onions
1 clove of garlic
3 lemons
1 green pepper, 1 red pepper
¾ cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup of vegetable oil
Salt & spices (cinnamon, dry coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, …etc.)
What you see in the photos are 3 Sfirni and 1 Haramyeh (as they are known locally in Tartous). Let’s start with the rice.

Preparing Sayadieh (Rice):

-Peel the onions and slice them thinly.
-Fry them in vegetable oil until they turn dark brown, turning and stirring them with a wooden spatula. (you need some good ventilation in the kitchen)
-Completely drain and throw the oil away.
-Add 4 cups of water to the fried onions and dash them with some salt, cinnamon, dry coriander, cumin and cardamom (spices to your liking if these are unavailable).
-Boil for 30 minutes until the onions are very tender.
-Drain the brown sauce in another pot while squeezing the mushy onions.
-Heat the butter or shortening, add the rice and turn it for a few minutes before adding the onion sauce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover until the rice is cooked (don’t tell me you don’t know how to cook rice).

Preparing the Olive Oil Sauce:

-Mix the olive oil with the juice of 2 lemons. Smash ½ garlic clove completely until it turns into a mush (use anything for hammering the garlic after adding a teaspoon of salt). Add the garlic to the olive and lemon sauce and divide it in 2 parts. 1 part is to be added on top of the fish before placing it in the oven while the 2nd part is used as a dip while eating.

Preparing the Fish:

-Preheat the oven to 225˚C = 437˚F.
-Cut the fish on the outside in diagonal parallel lines and insert the remaining garlic (sliced).
-Place some lemon and green and red pepper slices in the belly of the fish, add salt and spice it up using your imagination.
-Pour ½ of the olive oil sauce, lemon juice and smashed garlic over the fish and place inside the oven for 1 hour.

Serve with the Sayadieh and salad.

Very simple, extremely delicious. Bon Appétit.


Yazan said…
abu fares,
ur blog is so painfully delicious, and often leaves me short for words.

although, the pretty hands in the picture lead me to believe that Om Fares is the one actually doing the cooking... huh??
Dubai Jazz said…
Hi Abu Fares, well it was high-time for such posting, wasn't it? ;)
And weather it's about beautiful women or food, you always manage to make us drool!
BTW, I know of two good restaurent in Lattakia that prepare fish in its authentic form ( Al Rayan and Abu Al Majed), but I don't know about Tartous, I am sure there are similar ones but I've not come across them?

P.S. sorry for being the heavy-shadowed person that I've been recently
nzm said…
Oh god, now I'm hungry!!!

Thanks - that looks really delicious - will have to try it out.
Abufares said…
Hi Yazan
long time no see...
you're right. these hands belong to Om Fares. BUT, i toook the photos, ate the fish and wrote the post. Look, No Hands!

Dubai Jazz
Both of them make any healthy man drool my friend and this is aint but the truth.
You're very light-shadowed so don't worry.

give it a try soon. nothing boosts the morale like a
happy to see you around.
Unknown said…
Niyalak 3ala Om Fares ya Abu Fares:)
Delicious indeed! Love this post, good thing i am going home in few days, me gonna get me some too:p

I added it to my Google Reader on my side bar, let this world how Syrians are as creative as Om Fares;-)
The Syrian Brit said…
Now this looks absolutely scrumptious.. However, as a scientist with an enquiring mind and a questioning nature, I cannot accept that assumption at face value.. I demand an opportunity to judge for myself.. and I can only do that if I test the theory personally.. all in the interest of scientific research, of course..
Dr.Mad said…
You know what; your gastronomic posts make me feel home sick. So far the menu is comprised of shanklish and arak for mezza and sayadiah for main course, but what about "te7laya" hope this is the theme of your next post ;)
GraY FoX said…
i'm willing to relocate to Tartus if you agree on adopting me as a member in your family
damn i would be stuffed like an oblation
and yes, that looks imaginary delicious and quite pretty :)
Arab Lady said…
the way we cook it is somehow different..we mix the fish with the rice!
Anyways sa7teen...
Abufares said…
Dubai Jazz
I forgot to tell you about good seafood restaurants in Tartous. There are a few. On top of the list is Al-Yamak, Shate' Akhdar (Bseereh) & Sawari.
Of these 3, my favorite & certainly among the best in the Middle East in serving exceptional fish is Al-Yamak. It's located on the corniche of Tartous.

Hello Sham
Sa77a Wa Hana. Hope you enjoy your break home.

Syrian Brit
You know that Om Fares & I would be delighted to welcome you anytime. And, we're waiting.

Tekram 3aynak. My next food related post would be about some homemade desert (Khshaf!) how about that?

GraY FoX
I should've introduced myself on this blog as a 24 year old, dark, tall & handsome guy. Now I either get called 3ammo by the Babes or a foster parent for hungry guys.
Ahlan Wa Sahlan, we should work irl toward a general Syrian Blogger Get-Together this summer. May be we should all write about it so that the idea eventually collects momentum.

We, too, make Sayadieh in many different ways. I posted about the basic and simplest version. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best one since it compliments the fish and doesn't compete with it this way.
Karin said…
That looks SOOO YUMMY ... I guess I will have to try that one day (soon)! I am a fish-fan and love to eat pretty much everything coming from the sea except oysters (YUCK!!!) and the combination here looks absolutelty tempting! I never tasted rice prepared this way but can literally smell it's delicious smell ... it will be the next on my list to try out! Whenever ... report will follow!
Thanks so much for sharing ... please tell Umfares she's a GREAT cook!!! :-)
Abufares said…
Hello Karin
It always makes me happy to see you here.
You have to give this simple recipe a try and tell us all about the outcome. When preparing the onion sauce for the rice be aware that the smell in the kitchen can get overwhelming. But in the end it's well worth it.
So go ahead make my day, and that of someone who will gladly share this delicious seafood plate with you.
Angel said…
I was saving this "alimentaire" post as a TREAT to read tomorrow, but I could not resist the temptation to scan the text just a little!!! and have now read the whole mouth-watering recipe before I have even reached today's afternoon ! Now... I just need to pray to find another great post to read for tomorrow ;-)
I never tried the fish and rice combination and I wonder how it tasted....A friend of mine suggested, while I was in UK, that I can try to cook the rice with tuna.... You dont need to know what the results looked like! Currently, I am into introducing my mother to your "Food" posts and I took she is welling to follow your instructions and make us Sayadieh.... at least till I get to Tartous! :-)
Your food posts are a REAL tribute to your (and OmFares) lovely cooking, beautiful writing and fabulously gorgeous photography!...
I look forward to enjoying many more DELICIOUS posts!!! :-)
Abufares said…
You know Angel
had anybody told me that I'll be writing food recipes one day I would've thought they are nuts. I am very surprised that I'm actually enjoying posting about food. If I gain any more significant weight then the hell with it, I'm going to turn myself into a chubby chef.
Rgds to your mom and Inshallah the Sayadieh comes out good and yummy!
Anonymous said…
...This is OK, but I think it would be a much appreciated addition if you could research the "etymology" of these raditional dishes and of their names and present the results to your audience along with the recipe...!!??

For example, Sayadieh, to my understanding, is more of a "method" than a single dish in Tajen Sayyadieh (i.e. Tajen a la fisherfolk), for example, which is fish cooked in a creamy/yogurty sauce and served with the rice cooked as you detailed. My understanding is that "sayyadieh" basically refers to fish cooked/served with rice (cooked as you described above)... I know this sounds rather petty and pedantic, but it is a matter of heritage etc.... Even a Tartoussie should care...!!!??
Abufares said…
Naji, my intention was to present a simple to follow recipe. However, since you asked for it, you're going to get it.
The origin of the word Sayadieh of course is Sayad (fisherman). In olden days, when these men returned from the sea, they would sell all the good fish and be left with the smaller ones and those that are not considered as good tasting. At home, these "leftovers" are cooked with rice so that all the family get enough food. So basically, Sayadieh started as the poor man's version of seafood.
Today, Sayadieh is prepared in so many different ways with so many additives. However, the word itself refers to the rice in onion sauce.
I hope I was able to bore you since that was my ambition.
Black Hawk said…
mm! delicious!!
i wish we will have the honor t eat one from ur hands one day!
as the only Tartoussian
guy i nagging:
i am busy but !
...come and u we will do our duty!
"حضار ليحضر واجبك"
thats mean...come and don't come
:-) !!
" تعا ولا تجي "

he is useless in these issues...only knows how t eat!
anyway,u seem t be generous Abu Fares not like this poor guy... i am sure from this...
& will be happy t have an invitation!

great expressing..
perfect writing..
thank u for provoking my Gastrin!;)
Salem SAID said…
abufares I am the anonymous guy who has been visiting your blog for a while. If there were bad anonymi, there are not me. You have made me want to start a blog -look what you have done to me.
Abufares said…
Hi Black Hawk
You know that you are Ahlan Wa Sahlan Bik anytime.
So don't just take my word for it, go ahead give it a try.

Hi Salem Said
Welcome on board and I look forward reading your blog soon.
Anonymous said…
The fish and the rice really look delicious. I feel like trying it soon. Thanks for an interesting menu.I am already looking forward to the next recipe..!
Abufares said…
Sa77a Wa Hana.
Coming soon...
pav said…
Your recipe looks very good!

I found another great recipe on

She has some excellent stuff!

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