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Close up sayadieh roasted chicken

This post is sponsored by Filippo Berio. All ideas are my own. Sayadieh is a classic Middle Eastern rice and fish dish that consists of fried white fish, fluffy spiced rice, caramelized onions, and a tahini salad. For this recipe, I decided not to deep fry my fish like most traditional sayadieh recipes to make it healthier and less messy! Trust me, it is just as good this way and better for you too! Now, if you ask me, my favorite part is the caramelized onions in the rice and the whole dish in general paired with the refreshing tahini salad. It is so so good and doesn’t take much time at all making it perfect for a weeknight meal. My husband loved it!

What does Sayadieh mean to me?

This dish in my opinion is the most popular seafood meal in a Middle Eastern household. I have enjoyed it on several occasions when visiting family overseas in Jordan. Seafood is expensive over there too so you knew it was a special occasion if sayadieh was on the table. So, this is one of those dishes that holds nostalgia for me. I remember myself on my uncle’s dining room table and my aunt bringing out this platter of seasoned rice with a whole fried fish on top. I recall my uncle taking apart the fish and removing the bones for me then placing it on my plate waiting for me to enjoy. My parents didn’t eat it often either as my family were mainly carnivores and not huge fans of fish but that made it extra special when we did have Sayaideh together. My mom would fry the fish so you would smell that as soon as you walked into the door. She too would serve it with this tahini salad also known as bakdonseeyeh and season the fish and rice with just cumin.

What do you need to make Sayadieh?

  1. Good Quality White Fish– this recipe won’t taste good with salmon for instance. You need a delicate white fish such as cod, halibut, or snapper. I typically get my fillets at Whole Foods as I find their fish the freshest.
  2. Caramelized Onions– to me, this is the best part and cannot be overlooked. Thinly slice onions cooked in olive oil until golden crisp. These onions will be used in both the rice and as a garnish.
  3. Tahini Salad– this is a must with this recipe. I cannot imagine eating it without. I grew up enjoying this salad with seafood in general. The tahini salad offers a refreshing side dish to this meal which needs that acidity and brightness.
  4. Good Quality Olive oil– the only olive oil I buy at supermarkets is Filippo Berio. The quality is unmatched and they have an array of choices like extra virgin olive oil, delicate extra virgin olive oil, robust olive oil, and their standard olive oil which I used for this recipe as it has a higher smoke point perfect for sauteeing. The bottle is pictured below for a reference! I used it throughout the entire meal. To cook the onions, pan sear the fish, and even in the rice. They have been around since 1867 which alone shows how amazing and trustworthy their products are. I personally use them all the time and I highly recommend it.

sayadieh on a platter with a serving spoon and roasted chicken
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4.78 from 9 votes

Sayadieh (Fish & Rice)

Sayadieh is an authentic Middle Eastern rice & fish recipe using warm spices, white fish, and caramelized onions.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Arabic, Middle Eastern
Keyword: easy fish recipe, fish and rice, fish and rice recipe, fish dish, sayadieh
Servings: 4 people
Author: Heifa


  • 1 lb Cod, cut into fillets or any white fish; like halibut
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil for pan searing

Rice Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups White Rice rinsed, and drained
  • 1 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Bouillon Cube
  • 3/4 Caramelized Cooked onions from below

Caramelized Onions

  • 3 Yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Tahini Salad

  • 1 cup Parsley Finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Tomatoes Finely diced
  • 3/4 cup Tahini
  • 1 Large Lemon's juice add more for extra tanginess
  • 1/2 cup Water to thin out salad, add more or less to your thicness preferance
  • 1 Garlic clove minced or crushed
  • Salt to taste


  • First, mix together all the ingredients for the salad then set aside.
  • Secondly, prepare the onions by adding olive oil to a skillet then the onions and seasonings. Stir and cook on medium heat until the onions becomes caramelized and slightly crisp. 3/4 of the cooked onions will go to the rice and the rest as garnish.
  • To prepare the rice, add the rinsed rice to a pot with all the other ingredients then mix together. Add 3 cups of water or stock to this. Bring to a boil then a simmer and cook until fluffy and the water has evaporated.
  • For the fish, pat it dry then season on both sides with the above seasonings. Then, add the olive oil to a pan. You can use the same one the onions were cooked in. Have the stove on medium high heat then cook the fish for 4-5 minutes each side. Be very gentle when flipping the fish. The fish should be seared and cooked throughout.
  • To assemble, add the rice to the servings dish then top with the extra caramelized onions. Add the fish on top of that then add some toasted slivered almonds and parsley as garnish. Serve with the refreshing tahini salad. Enjoy!

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  1. 5 stars
    So much flavor and so easy to follow fufu’s recipe! I was already asked to share her recipe by two people 🙂 it’s a winner

  2. 3 stars
    I tried this recipe for lunch on Friday, and it was delicious! It was a easy recipe to follow and not intimidating at all to make.

    The one suggestion I’d make is (what Heifa suggested when I messaged her) to crumble the bouillon cubes instead of just leaving it solid when cooking the rice.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe out today and it was great! My mother used to make this, and it tasted very similar to hers. The only addition I made was adding a bit of ginger powder to the cod before cooking it. In my household, we consume so much chicken and beef, and this recipe was a nice change.

    1. 5 stars
      This is delicious. I sautéed ginger garlic paste before adding spices and rice into pot. I also added some sumac and pepper to spice up my fish. The tahini salad is a lovely accompaniment and I can see myself making this dish again. It’s a quick and easy dinner recipe. love fufu’s recipes – they make recreating Arabic dishes easy.

        1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe. I made this dish by following the recipe to the T and it turned out delicious! I am so glad to have found your website! What a secret weapon it will be 😉 I’m Taiwanese and my husband is Palestinian. Your recipes are going to be of tremendous help to me in creating meals that bring back sweet memories of his home (which I have visited many times and resided in for a few months – loved the food!) and also be a valuable treasure that I can share with our daughters. Thank you again! Blessings to you and your family. From Canada.

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I need to work on my rice consistency but the flavors were perfect, felt just like I was eating my mama’s! Also very easy to make, paired it with the fish and parsley-tahini salad! YUM

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious!! Loved this. I’ve always had sayadeya cooked with tons of cinnamon, so I followed this recipe but added cinnamon and it was incredible!

  6. 5 stars
    I love the yellow tint of rice from the kurkum (arabic turmeric name as you know). My mom used to use something called 3usfur made from herbal flower petals. Haven’t seen that one in the US yet.

    Sayadiyyeh bursts with flavors unique compared to other chicken and meat recipes. btw, your website is so organized and makes cooking fun! Keep it up! Inshallah will cook it soon.

  7. Pingback: Lebanese fish and rice recipe - Taunt On Water

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