‘Samak’ means fish in Arabic, while Marak Samak means “Fish Stew”. Marak Samak is cooked differently from one Middle Eastern country to the other; some cook it as a stew while others make it more like a curry. In this dish, the fish is paired with a stew, much like the traditional Yemeni meat and bone broth ‘Marak’.

Seafood Recipe of the Day

Marak Samak is a spicy fish casserole. The fish is simmered on low heat with tomatoes, fish stock, garlic, chilli, and Lumi until cooked.

In this recipe, you will learn the techniques of preparing fish for stewing, sautéing and simmering. Apart from these techniques, you will also learn how to handle the ingredients and equipment used in cooking Marak Samak.


Recipe Card 

Ingredients Quantity
Canola oil 3 tbsp
Onion (sliced) 100 gm
Garlic (mashed) 5 cloves
Lumi (dried lime) (dried, finely crushed) 2 pieces
Turmeric ½ tsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Ground coriander 1 tsp
Salt & black pepper As required
Chilli pepper (green/red, whole) 2 pieces
Tomatoes paste 30 g
Tomatoes (blanched, peeled & chopped) 500 g
Tomato (juice) 100 ml
Fish stock 300 ml
Grouper/ hammour fillet (cut into cubes) 1 kg
Coriander (chopped) 1 bunch
Dill or fennel leaves (chopped) 1 bunch
Lemon (juice) 6 tbsp


Method of Preparation

  1. Season the fish cubes lightly with salt, black pepper and half the lemon juice; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan pour oil, add onions and sweat until wilted then add the garlic, chilli, lumi, spices and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. To this add the tomatoes paste and cook for a minute.
  4. Then add the tomatoes, tomato juice and fish stock, and cook for another 5 minutes and then season with salt & black pepper to taste.
  5. Simmer on low heat for around 20 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasoning, add in the fish and cover the fish with sauce, cooking gently over a slow fire with lid on for around 10 minutes until the fish is well cooked.
  7. Remove from the fire, add the fresh coriander & dill and then simmer for about a minute.
  8. Serve with Mashkhol rice or steamed white rice.

Tip: For a better taste, the fish can be marinated with salt, white pepper and lemon juice for around 10-15 minutes before cooking.