The Best Sayadieh – Arab style fish and rice

Sayadieh, arab style fish and rice

Last Updated on January 1, 2023 by Jacqueline Rafidi

This Arab style fish and rice dish known as sayadieh is fragrant and flavorful. If you’ve ever been wondering how to cook fish and rice, look no further than this recipe! There aren’t many components to sayadieh – fish, caramelized onions and yellow rice – but the way they pair together is a match made in heaven! I love serving this with golden, toasted slivered almonds, some fresh parsley and a nice squeeze of lemon juice. I typically use cod fish for this, but any white fish will work great – make sure its a white fish. Sayadieh is not meant to be eaten with salmon!

Sayadieh,  arab style fish and rice

What to eat with sayadieh

Simple Middle Eastern salad
Arab style Endive salad
Mediterranean lentil soup

This meal is a PERFECT meal for the family, and even if you don’t prefer fish – this yellow rice is a MUST make and can be paired with any other protein of choice! When you make this, be sure to tag me on Instagram @thebitewithjackie and comment down below to share your thoughts!

Sayadieh - arab style fish and rice


This Arab style fish and rice dish is warm, fragrant, and bursting with flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 6


  • 2 lbs cod fish
  • 3-4 medium yellow onions sliced
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin for the fish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the rice

  • 2 ½ cups basmati or other long grain rice rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Small pinch ground cardamom
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To serve

  • ½ bunch parsley chopped
  • 1 lemon cut into slices to squeeze on top
  • 1 cup slivered almonds toasted
  • Plain yogurt


  • Start by caramelizing your onions using a pot big enough to cook the rice in once the onions are done. Heat up 2 Tablespoons olive oil on medium heat, add the sliced onions and some salt and cook down for 10-15 minutes until soft and caramelized.
  • While the onions cook down, mix the rinsed rice with the salt, pepper and all the spices and set aside.
  • Once the onions have caramelized, remove ¼ of them and reserve for garnishing later, keeping the remainder in the pot. Add in the spiced rice and toast in the pot with the remaining olive oil and onions for about 1-2 minutes. Add in 4 cups of water or enough to cook according to package directions. Stir from the bottom to lift any brown bits on the pot and mix in the caramelized onions. Bring the pot to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy and tender.
  • While the rice is cooking, prepare the fish by cutting into individual filets and sprinkling each side with salt and pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin. Prepare a skillet with the remaining olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of a skillet – on medium high heat. Cook each piece of fish on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, opaque, and fully cooked through. Remove and set aside.
  • To serve, spoon the cooked rice onto a platter, top it with the fish and sprinkle on some toasted slivered almonds and parsley. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over individual portions. Enjoy!
Keyword Arab food, Fish and rice, Middle Eastern food, Sayadieh, Yellow rice

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    When Jackie posted this, I knew I had to immediately make this! It was absolutely delicious!! Super easy and super flavorful. On reviewing the recipe I realized I didn’t half the spices for my rice (only made 1 cup for the 2 of us), but omg having all that flavor was so warm and satisfying! Such a great healthy dinner that I will definitely make again!!

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