Arabic Language Blog

Learn the Lebanese Way to Cook A Hot Spicy Fish Dish Posted by on Aug 17, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba! Today, I am going to teach you how to cook Samkeh Harra (سمكة حرة) with tahini sauce (الطحينة). It is a tasty dish that is popular in the Middle East and specifically the Levant. This dish has progressed from something that required intense and long hours of preparation to becoming a dish that is instantly offered with other mezza dishes in any restaurant in the Arab world. It is very popular in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria among other places.

Image by avlxyz | flickr

Image by avlxyz | flickr

It is a great dish to prepare for the weekend, if you plan on having family or friends over. My wife and I usually prepare it during summer, because we associate this dish with the many times we have spent having it at one of the many resorts in Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea. In seafood places, this dish is one of the various ways that Arabic chefs use to serve fish.

I am sharing the recipe that my wife and I use to cook this popular dish from a noteworthy cooking book called The Lebanese Kitchen: Quick and Healthy Recipes by Monique Bassila Zaarour, a Canadian registered dietitian (اخصائية تغذية) with Lebanese roots (جذور لبنانية). According to Zaarour and out of our experience, this recipe makes around five servings. In practice it does not require a lot of preparation, around 20 minutes. Also, the cooking time is around 30 minutes. So all in all, you will have an impressive and tasty fish dish in less than an hour! (بأقل من ساعة)



–          1 tablespoon vegetable oil (زيت نباتي)

–          1 medium onion (بصل), thinly sliced (مقطعة إلى شرائح رقيقة)

–          ½ cup carrot (جزر), finely chopped (مفرومة فرما ناعما)

–          ½ cup red bell pepper (الفليفلة الحلوة الحمراء), finely chopped

–          ½ cup green bell pepper (الفليفلة الحلوة الخضراء), finely chopped

–          1 tomato (طماطم), finely chopped

–          ½ serving Cilantro (الكزبرة) and Garlic (ثوم)

–          4 tablespoons tahini (الطحينة)

–          4 tablespoons lemon juice (عصير الليمون)

–          1 teaspoon salt (ملح)

–          ¼ teaspoon white pepper (الفلفل الأبيض)

–          ¼ teaspoon red pepper (فلفل أحمر)

–          1 cup water (ماء)



–          2 pounds fish filet (فيليه سمك) (baked)

–          1 tablespoon pine nuts (صنوبر), toasted

–          1 pinch fresh cilantro (الكزبرة)


In a large pan, heat oil, add onions, and stir fry until lightly browned.

Add carrots and red and green bell peppers: stir fry until tender.

Add tomato and Cilantro and garlic and stir fry for 5 more minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix remaining sauce ingredients, then add to vegetables, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil (غلي).

Cook over low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly.

Put hot fish on a serving plate.

Add sauce.

Garnish with pine nuts and cilantro.

Add salt and lemon juice if desired.




Stay tuned for upcoming posts!

Tags: , , , , ,
Keep learning Arabic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.


  1. learn arabic:

    This is a very good article. As far as I’ve read several articles. Thank you.

  2. learn arabic:

    This blog is fantastic; what you show us is very interesting and is really good written. It’s just great!!

  3. learn the arabic language:

    I admire the valuable data you provide in your articles or blog posts.
    Very interesting topic, thanks for posting.

  4. jesa:

    You’re most welcome ‘learn the Arabic language.’ Hope you have a smooth and easy ride learning the Arabic Language. Make sure you also follow us on Facebook (