At Mississippi Market, we celebrate the rich cultural diversity and food and farming traditions that immigrants bring to our community. Today we’re highlighting a traditional recipe from Syria.

The Syrian cooking tradition is one of the oldest in the world. Syrian cooking ingredients are varied and dishes are full of hearty flavors and aromatic spices.

Today’s feature recipe, Sayadieh, is a sensational dish of fish with spiced rice and caramelized onions from the Syrian coast on the Mediterranean. The rice is cooked with caramelized onion and fragrant spices, then topped with the seared fish and more caramelized onions.



  • 2 lbs fish fillet (about 4 fillets)
  • 1 fish head or bones (for the stock, or use ready-made fish stock)
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 sliced garlic cloves and 3 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp whole cumin and 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp whole cracked cardamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups rice
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Wash the rice and soak in warm tap water for a half an hour, drain and set aside.
  • Slice the onions and thinly slice the garlic. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a pot and saute the onions until caramelized. Reserve 1/3 of the onions for garnishing, then add the garlic to the remaining onions, saute for one minute.
  • Add the whole spices (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves) in a cheese cloth or pouch and dip into water with 1 tsp salt. If whole spices or a cheese cloth aren’t available, use half the portion of ground spices.
  • Add the fish head or bones and bring to a boil. Let stock simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the spice pouch and fish head. The stock should have a brown color from the caramelized onions.
  • Mix together 1/2 tsp ground cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper. Paste fish fillets with mashed garlic then season with spice mixture and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the stock and bring to a boil. While still wet, reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. You may need to add 1/4-1/2 cup water as needed.
  • Add 3 Tbsp of oil to the frying pan. When oil is hot, add fish fillets and fry each side for 4 minutes. You can also grill or bake the fish for a healthier alternative.
  • Pile the rice on a serving platter and top with fish fillets. Garnish with caramelized onions.

Recipe adapted from

View previous posts in this series

Celebrate Community: Libya
Celebrate Community: Iran
Celebrate Community: Yemen
Celebrate Community: Sudan
Celebrate Community: Iraq
Celebrate Community: Somalia