Samke Harra is a popular Lebanese fish recipe that's full of fresh flavors and go-to whole fish recipe in Lebanon. The fish is baked in a slightly spicy lemony tahini sauce and topped with fresh cilantro and toasted nuts, for the perfect balance of flavor and crunch!
Serve it warm on a bed of saffron or turmeric rice for the ultimate Mediterranean recipe!
You can't pass up this authentic recipe that's made to last generations! True Mediterranean cuisine is made up of freshly sourced ingredients, and a good healthy fish is essential! Growing up on Tahini fish as one of the go-to Lebanese fish recipes was such a blessing, to say the least.
Making this Samke harra recipe is a breeze once broken up into simple steps to make this well-worth it fresh whole fish dish, that's perfect for a weeknight or a gathering. And if you want to use a similar sauce on other recipes, try this lemon herb tahini sauce!
ABOUT SAMKE HARRA TAHINI SAUCE
Harra sauce has two main ingredients that are the stars of the show, which are tahini and lemon juice. Tahini is a paste that's made out of crushed sesame seeds. It's used in a variety of Lebanese and Mediterranean recipes. Not to mention, a staple ingredient in appetizers, main dishes, and even desserts!
Use this tahini sauce in other dishes as well, like with beef and chicken dishes.
With adding freshly squeezed lemon juice, the tahini comes to life! It becomes fresh and light to compliment fish beautifully.
And, we can't forget the aromatics that are added to the tahini sauce! Like garlic, coriander and a little kick from cayenne to give this recipe it's authentic name as samke harra, which translates to "spicy fish". But it's more like spicy tahini fish, if you ask me.
HOW TO MAKE SAMKE HARRA
This tahini fish is worth every step, though, with this easy to follow brief recipe below and the full step by step instructions in the recipe card, you are set up for success with this recipe.
To make this authentic dish, you'll need to:
- gather your ingredients
- preheat the oven
- prep the fish
- bake the fish
- make the tahini sauce
- add the tahini sauce to the fish and bake until flaky
- add the toppings and serve warm!
- Use a whole fish for accurate recipe time.
- Clean gut and scale the fish before cooking.
- Check the doneness of the fish with a thermometer or by flaking it prior to the timer going off. This helps avoid the fish from overcooking.
- Follow the sauce recipe exactly! This harra sauce is tested and perfected!
Serve this lemony tahini cumin fish on a bed of rice! It pairs the best with saffron or turmeric rice.
Store any fish leftovers with the sauce combined in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the fridge.
From Lebanese-Arabic to English, it directly translates to spicy fish. It's an authentic recipe using various spices and tahini sauce to bake with the fish.
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Samke Harra (Lebanese Spicy Tahini Fish)
- 1 baking dish
For The Fish
- 2 pounds whole fish, gutted and cleaned I'm using trout
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 1 lemon ½ of it for zest and juice, ½ sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black or white pepper
For The Spicy Tahini Sauce
- ½ jalapeno sliced, seeds removed if you prefer mild
- ½ bunch cilantro roughly chopped
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts and cashews or sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
- In a baking dish, drizzle half the amount of olive oil to coat the bottom completely. Top with sliced onions scattered all over the bottom of the dish.
- To prep the fish, pat it dry using paper towels and place it in the baking dish. Rub the entire fish with the rest of the olive oil.
- Squeeze half of the lemon on top of the fish. Then coat it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and lemon zest. Make sure you sprinkle all the seasoning inside the fish as well. Place the sliced half of the lemon inside the fish.
- Bake the fish for 10 minutes. While it's baking make the tahini sauce. Mix the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cayenne, salt and water until well combined.
- Remove the fish from the oven and cover in most of the sauce and jalapenos. Leave some of the sauce for serving. Bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is tender and registers at 145F degrees.
- Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro and toasted nuts.
- Serve warm over a bed of turmeric rice or saffron rice.