Tajin Samak Bi Tahina – Fish baked in tahini

When Easter was approaching and I was planning what we would eat during the holidays, I was looking for something fishy for Good Friday because traditionally you eat fish on Good Friday. I haven’t cooked anything Middle Eastern lately, so I flipped through my Persian cookbooks and found a very interesting recipe.

This dish is awesome! It doesn’t look very nice , though.  Whether this is due to my:

a) non-existing photographic skills, or

b) to my non-existing skills of arranging food nicely, or

c) to some other reason,

I don’t know… But this shouldn’t keep you from cooking this dish. You’ll love it!

Tajin Samak Bi Tahina

adapted from “The Middle Eastern Kitchen” by Ghillie Başan

serves 4-6


  • 1 1/4 cups tahini
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 lb fish (I took catfish fillets)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a small bunch fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a bowl, beat the tahini with the lemon juice and water to form a smooth sauce, then beat in the garlic and season to taste.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions with the cumin seeds until they are golden brown.
  4. Spread half of the onions in the base of a dish, add the fish, and cover with the remaining onions.
  5. Pour the tahini sauce over the fish and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.

For side dish, I cooked some basmati rice with turmeric and raisins. I adapted the recipe from this site.

  1. Cook 2 cups of basmati rice in the appropriate amount of water (I cooked it in my rice cooker).
  2. After about 15 minutes, quickly drizzle 1 tsp of turmeric over the rice. Cook until rice is done.
  3. In a small skillet heat 1 tblsp of olive oil, add 1 cup washed and dried raisins and fry for a minute.
  4. Add to rice and mix before serving.


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