Features | Health & Wellness


Sahtein: Sayadieh

AUBMC’s Department of Food Services
Spring 2022


Sayadieh is a classic fish dish originating from fishing villages in Lebanon. The word sayadieh roughly translates to “catch,” coming from the fisherman’s catch of the day. This versatile dish can be made with various white fish, but most people use cod for its hearty meat. Traditionally, this would be made with whole fish, and the bones of the fish would be turned into a stock that the rice is then cooked in.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 4)

• 800 g fish fillet or whole fish (1 lb and 12 oz)
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
• 1 ½ tsp salt
• 1 tbsp ground cumin
• ¼ tsp white pepper
• ½ cup sunflower oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 5 cups water
• 1 bay leaf
• ½ cinnamon stick
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• ½ tsp cornstarch
• 2 cups rice
• 1 ½ tsp olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp cumin powder
• 1 tsp fresh cilantro
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp sweet paprika


If using a whole fish, clean and cut the tail and head off, reserving them, then marinate in a bowl with oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt, cumin, and white pepper. Let the fish marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. After marinating, grill the fish in a shallow pan in the oven at 180 C (350 F) for about 10 minutes if using fish fillets, or for 30 minutes if using a whole fish.


In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the sunflower oil. Fry the onions in the hot oil until completely browned, and then drain from the oil. Place the fried onion in a medium-sized pot, then add the water, fishtails and fish head (if prepared from whole fish), bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. Boil for 30 minutes or until the broth turns an earthy, brown color. Strain the fish stock into a container to use for cooking the rice and sauce.
Set aside 4 cups of the stock for the rice and add the lemon juice to the remaining stock. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water, add it to the fish stock, and whisk to slightly thicken into a sauce. Add more cornstarch if needed.


Wash the rice, soak it in water for a few minutes, then drain and set aside. Add the olive oil and onions to a pot and stir over medium heat until browned. Add garlic, rice, and remaining spices, mixing the spices well with the rice, then add the 4 cups of fish stock to the rice. Stir well and cook over low heat until the rice is done. After the rice is cooked, add a squeeze of lemon juice to it.

Plate the fish over the bed of rice. Drizzle the sauce over the fish and serve!

This recipe comes from AUBMC’s Department of Food Services, which oversees the weekly recipes at the hospital as well as at the AUB cafeteria. The department is in charge of feeding hundreds of patients, students, faculty, and staff. We thank them for nourishing the people of AUBMC and AUB every day.