Machboos Samak – Emirati Fish Majboos

Emirati spiced rice made with their signature Bezaar spices and fish…



Currently I am struggling with routine. Once Ramadan is gone and Eid is finished, getting back to the regular routine of cooking three meals a day and deciding what to feels a little overwhelming. I have to just be happy that I have a family who prefers simple meals and hence I do not need to break my head to make my meals. Hehe… meanwhile, since this is the month of Shawwal, there is a voluntary fasts of six days, if fulfilled along with Ramadan, becomes equivalent to fasting one whole year. Last year, thanks for Covid getting on to me immediately after Eid, I wasn’t able to do the fasts. But this year, I really want to be doing it somewhow, InShaAllah…


Coming to the recipe post for today… It has been so long since I have posted any Emirati recipes of late. I have been a bit lagging in trying new ones as well. I hope I can get back to making more and posting them as well, so let’s start with this one for now.  The Chicken Majboos is one of the most tried and loved recipes on the blog for all good reasons. I have also posted the meat version, which is something I cook when I get some good mutton. This is the third version, which is made from fish.


The recipe is quite different from how the meat ones are made. I have adapted this recipe from here, with some minor changes. Since there is not much flavoring from the fish, the rice has a lot of flavor elements going into it. The list of ingredients may look a little long, but it isn’t essentially complicated to make. If you get some really good king fish or a nice steaky sea bream, then do try making this rice over the weekend or a weekday lunch too. You won’t be disappointed… 🙂





Machboos Samak - Emirate Fish Majboos

Course Main Course
Cuisine Emirati
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda AR


  • 500 gm king fish steaks
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp bezaar spice blend
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for shallow frying


  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp bezaar spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 2 loomi
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 cups basmati rice soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • A fat pinch of saffron soaked in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 bunch coriander leaves chopped


  • Marinate the fish in the spices mentioned and set aside for 15 minutes. Shallow fry in oil till just brown. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat oil. You can add the oil back from what was used for frying fish. Fry the onions till caramelized.
  • Add the garlic, tomato and tomato paste and cook till the tomatoes are completely mashed.
  • Now add all ingredients from cumin powder to green chillies and saute for a few minutes or till raw smell is gone.
  • Add three cups of water and bring to boil. Adjust seasoning.
  • Add the drained rice and cook on meduim flame till the rice soaks up all water.
  • Reduce the flame to minimum. Sprinkle the saffron water, the ghee and coriander leaves. Line the fried fish on top. Seal the pan using aluminum foil or cloth and close the lid tight.
  • Cook for 20 minutes and then rest for 10 minutes. Open, fluff the rice and serve with regular sides.


You can use whole fishes instead of steaks. 


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