Fried Fish with Sumac Sauce, Samak Maḥshī سمك محشي (Kanz Recipe 234)


The book of Kanz includes an impressive variety of fish dishes, 36 fish recipes in all. Here is one of them, my favorite.

A pretty fish dish, simple and quite tasty. The savory and sour sumac sauce, enriched and thickened with walnuts, is quite flavorful.  Makes 2 servings

½ pound firm white fish, such as cod, cut into two pieces

For the fish rub: 2 teaspoons crushed coriander, 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds, and ½ teaspoon salt

Flour for dusting the fish pieces

Oil for frying the fish (½-inch deep)

For the sumac sauce:

1 tablespoon each of sumac, oil, lime juice, chopped parsley, and chopped mint

¼ cup crushed walnuts

1 teaspoon crushed coriander

½ teaspoon each of dried thyme and ground caraway

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ clove of garlic, crushed (Kanz recipe says to add a small amount only)

Half lemon preserved in salt (see recipe), chopped into small pieces

About ¼ cup water


Combine the rub ingredients and smear the pieces of fish with it. Put the fish in a colander set above a bowl, and set aside for about an hour. When ready to fry, dust the fish pieces with flour, and fry them in hot oil. Brown them on both sides, and keep them in a colander to get rid of extra fat.

In a small pot, combine all the sumac sauce ingredients, there should be enough water to moisten the mix well. Add a bit more if needed. Let it boil, for 4 or 5 minutes. Taste it to see if it needs more salt.

Place the fried fish pieces on a platter, and pour the prepared sumac sauce all over them, and serve.

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