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Samkeh harra (Spiced fish)

Samkeh harra or spiced fish is a specialty of Tripoli el Mina par excellence! Tripoli is a coastal city in North Lebanon, famous for its sweets and old traditional souks.

Beautifully presented samkeh harra
Beautifully presented samkeh harra

Samkeh harra is usually prepared for special occasions and family gatherings, it consists of a baked fish served with nuts and tahini sauce.

This recipe was shared by Hana el-Zeini from Tripoli, Lebanon

Servings: 5

Preparation time: 1 hour


1 large fish, scaled and cleaned (about 1.5 Kg)

1 cup of tahini (sesame paste)

1 cup of coriander, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup of lemon juice

2 cups of water

Olive oil

Lemon Slices

¼ cup of almonds, sliced, peeled and fried in vegetable oil

¼ cup of pine seeds, sliced, peeled and fried in vegetable oil

½ cup of walnuts, crushed

1 green pepper, thinly sliced

2 tsp of hot pepper, diced

Salt and mixed spices to taste


  1. To prepare the fish, clean it then rub it with salt and mixed spices then with a Tbsp. spoon of olive oil. Stuff the fish with thin slices of lemon, then cover it with lemon slices and wrap it in aluminum foil.
  2. Put the fish in oven tray with a little bit of water, in a heated oven for about 40 min or till done (check occasionally and add water in the tray if completely evaporated).
  3. In a cooking pot, mix the tahini with the lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Add the coriander, garlic, crushed walnuts, peppers and olive oil. Season with salt and mixed spices to taste.
  4. Put the pot over medium heat and bring to boil while stirring occasionally, until the sauce color darkens and the olive oil comes to the surface.
  5. Remove the fish from the oven, place in a serving dish as is or deboned and leave the flesh.
  6. Cover with the sauce and decorate with the fried almonds and pine nuts and lemon slices.

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