Cookbook:Tajine bil Samak (Libyan Fish Tajine)

Tajine bil Samak (Libyan Fish Tajine)
CategoryFish recipes

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Tajine bil samak is a delicious and fragrant Libyan fish dish cooked in a tajine, a traditional clay pot with a conical lid. This flavorful dish features tender fish fillets cooked in a tomato-based sauce infused with aromatic spices and herbs. It is a popular dish in Libyan cuisine and is often served with rice or bread.






  1. Heat the olive oil in the tajine over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  3. Place the fish fillets in the tajine, and cook for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. Remove the fish fillets from the tajine or skillet and set them aside.
  4. In the same tajine or skillet, add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well to combine.
  5. Add the ground cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt, and pepper. Mix the spices into the tomato mixture. Pour in the water and stir until the sauce is well combined.
  6. Return the fish fillets to the tajine, nestling them into the sauce.
  7. Cover the tajine with a lid and let the fish simmer in the sauce for about 10–15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  8. Remove the tajine from the heat.
  9. Sprinkle chopped parsley or cilantro on top for garnish.
  10. Serve the hot, accompanied by rice or bread.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Feel free to adjust the spice levels according to your preference. Add more cayenne pepper for extra heat or reduce it for a milder flavor.
  • You can add additional vegetables such as bell peppers or carrots to the tajine for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Experiment with different types of fish fillets based on your preference and availability.
  • If using a tajine, it is recommended to place a heat diffuser between the tajine and the heat source to distribute the heat evenly and prevent the clay from cracking.
  • Check the fish for doneness by gently flaking it with a fork. It should be opaque and easily separated into flakes.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the sauce before serving for a tangy flavor.
  • For a heartier version, add a can of chickpeas or cooked white beans to the tajine during the simmering process.