How to Make Spicy Fish Beirutiye: Samkeh Harra

  • on May 31, 2018

A Prideful Seafood Dish of Beirut

The Samkeh Harra Beirutiye

Rich in Omega-3, Proteins, Manganese, Phosphorus, and Selenium.


Samkeh Harra is one of the prides of the Lebanese Fine Cuisine. It falls under the selective category of guest-honoring dishes, and comes in two different regional recipes: The Samkeh Harra Trabelsieh (of Tripoli, the capital of the North), and the Samkeh Harra Beirutiyeh (of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon).

We are not talking here about a variation of a same recipe. They are totally different recipes.

The Spicy Fish of Tripoli bathes the roasted fish with a succulent Tahini dressing cooked with fried cilantro and garlic, and is strong with lemon juice. All is then topped with a considerable amount of fried pine kernels and almonds.

The Spicy Fish of Beirut, which recipe I am providing you with today, tops its roasted fish with a delicious sauce that is concocted with green pepper, red pepper, onions, shredded carrots, tomatoes, and some Tahini.

Our usual Garlic and cilantro mixture is also part of the sauce. The  outcome is a succulent spicy fish that has earned its rightful place among our selective guest-honoring dishes.


Courtesy of — ”Travel & Leisure ranked Beirut first place under the “Best International Cities for Food” for 2016. The World’s Best Awards is put together following a massive collection of experiences, opinions and surveys from the readers of Travel & Leisure (~6 million).”

Beirut, ”the city that refuses to die” as labelled by film-maker and artist Mai Masri in an interview by The Guardian, is over 5,000 year old. Its founders, the Canaanite-Phoenicians, referred to the city as Be’erot, meaning “wells” for its significant underground fresh drinkable water which runs to-date. 

”Beirut by Travelers to be Among the Top Cities in the World on Travel & Leisure for 2016.”


A Recipe With Preferences

The Beirut Samke Harra at Hong Kong Tatler Restaurant.

Samkeh Harra of Abou Melhem Restaurant, courtesy of TripAdvisor

Our Beirut Spicy Fish is a dish you will relish on. It could see slight variations with personal taste here and there with some increasing the tomato ingredient more than others, generating a more reddish sauce.

The hot pepper is another ingredient that could be decreased or increased as per preferences. Hence, you might encounter some slight variations in different restaurants or homes.



The Health Benefits of this dish are numerous. I will emphasize on the fish for now:

Fish Health Benefits

May you enjoy it and cook it often!


Beirut Spicy Fish Filet

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Lebanese
Keyword Carrot, Cilantro, Cod Fish, Fancy, Festive, Fried Onions, Garlic, Green Pepper, Hot Peper, Lemon juice, Pine Kernels, Red Pepper, Rich in Omega-3, Sea Food, Stuffed tomatoes, Tahini
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 portions


  • 1 kg Fish Filet frozen or fresh

For the Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion (medium) cut in wings
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Green Pepper sliced
  • 1/2 Red Pepper sliced
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Carrot
  • 1 Tomato (medium) chopped thinly
  • 4 tbsps Tahini
  • 4 tbsps Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 dash White Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Hot Pepper (or Cayenne Pepper)
  • 1 cup Water

Toppings / Serving

  • 1 tbsp Pine Kernels toasted
  • Fresh Cilantro few heads
  • Lemon wedges for serving


Preparing the Fish

  1. We are going to roast the fish in the oven instead of frying for a healthier consumption.

    Heat your oven at 250 C (480F), and while waiting prepare the cilantro mixture (scroll down for the instructions).

  2. Season the fish filets with salt and pepper, and place them in gently oiled non-stick pan.

    Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

    Very gently turn the filets upside down, and back to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until nicely cooked.

Preparing the Cilantro Mixture

  1. Warm a frying pan, drop a tbsp of vegetable oil, and, on medium heat, stir in the crushed garlic for a minute. 

    Add the chopped cilantro and mix well. Season with a dash of salt, and mix regularly until the cilantro withers. This should take about 5 to 8 minutes. 

    Set aside. 

Preparing the Sauce

  1. In a separate deep pan or medium casserole, heat one tbsp of oil, and cook the Onions until they wither to blondness.

    Add in gradually all the vegetables, mixing continuously for 5 minutes or until they wither.

  2. In a bowl, mix the remaining Sauce's ingredients, pour it on the vegetables, and stir continuously until boiling point.

    Lower the heat, and stir for another 3 minutes.


  1. Transfer the fish filets into a serving plate.

    Pour the sauce on top. Top them with the pine kernels and garnish with some heads of fresh cilantro, and lemon slices. 

    Serve hot with lemon juice or wedges.


Enjoy and Share the Knowledge. Spread the Love!

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