Lebanese Spicy Fish Samek Harra

Lebanese cuisine or food have earned its reputation not only for falafels, hummus and pitas, but much more and beyond that.

Fish is a popular specialty dish of the coastal regions of Lebanon. Spicy fish of Tripoli, is loved by everyone in the country and beyond. It is a perfect dish for family and friends gatherings or special events. 
Originating in the coastal towns of Sarafand and Khayzaran as well as the rocky shores of Jbail , this dish has become the most popular dish in the food pyramid of Lebanese cuisine.
Discover the recipe for samke harra.

A very simple yet delicious recipe, Samek Harra or spicy fish, is a Lebanese seafood dish traditionally made with white fleshed fish .

Harra sauce here means spicy sauce. This is a specialty dish where a lightly lemon-marinated fish is baked, then covered with a mouth-watering sauce either tomatoes or tahini based.
There are several incarnations of samke harra  – some with or without sauce, and with different ingredients.
Another version is made of baked fish, a spicy tahini sauce and other spices and ingredients.


800g sea bass fillets cut into fillets
1 tsp pepper powder
3 tsp ground cumin powder
3 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped 
2 assorted peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp canned chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or 1 tsp chili paste
Olive oil for frying


1. Rinse the fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt & pepper. 

2. To make the sauce, fry the onion in a pan on a low heat until soft. Add the garlic and fry. When both are light brown, add the chopped tomato, canned tomato peppers, tomato paste and chilli flakes, turmeric and other spices. Slowly cook the mixture until thick and vegetables are soft. If required, use a little water, then cook the sauce further. Season with salt.

3. In a frying pan, cook the fish fillets until light brown and cooked through. 

4. To serve, pour piping hot sauce over the fish and garnish as desired or pour the hot sauce over the fish and let it simmer for a minute. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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