Marrag Samak ~ Emirati Fish Stew



I have had a slightly messed up April. From the beginning of this year, I have been following a schedule to ensure that I work on my postings and used to stick to it. I did the same thing for April as well, but in between, I had a slag in my mood. Somehow, all of a sudden, I really didn’t want to blog or do anything related to the blog. That converted me who is such a stickler to my plans to somebody who didn’t really bother about it. But then it is people who go through the same stress as yours who understand how it feels to blog and to not blog. A little chat with Shanaz literally pepped me up to continue with my blogging. I am hoping that the mood does hold on for some time at least! πŸ™‚


It’s been sometime since I have shared an Emirati recipe. This year, I really wanted to keep a target of sharing one recipe at least every month, making it 12 recipes this year. Thankfully, we are still in April, so I am still on target. πŸ˜€ With the UAE being surrounded by sea from all over, seafood is an integral part of the cuisine and diet over here. As per what I have read, fishes like shark are dabbed in salt and dried, to be preserved. I have already shared a baked fish recipe sometime back, which is really easy to make. The other recipe with fish in it is the Biryani Samak – my absolutely favorite. Today, I am sharing a very comforting fish stew for all of you.




I have adapted this recipe from one of my favorite Emirati recipe sources, The Emiratican Kitchen, which is unfortunately a defunct blog now. πŸ™ The original recipe uses a different fish, but I went ahead and used king-fish, which is a family accepted favorite. The preparation of the stew involves a few steps, like marinating the fish in bezaar and some spices for sometime, frying it, then making the stew base and adding the fish back.


I love the use of tamarind here, just like our traditional fish curries. The loomi adds a lovely twist to this gravy, giving it the difference in flavor. Serve it with plain rice or even with saffron rice, and you are good to go. For this curry, try to use thick fish like kingfish, pomfret or hammour that holds its shape well, due to the double cooking. Off to the recipe…






Marrag Samak ~ Emirati Fish Stew

Course Main Course
Cuisine Emirati
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda


  • 250 gm fish I used kingfish
  • 3/4 tsp bezaar spice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of one lime
  • Oil for shallow frying
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/3 tsp bezaar spice
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 stock cube optional
  • 1 small pc tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 loomi
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves


  • Rub the fish with the marination ingredients and set aside for 10 minutes. Heat oil and fry till both sides are golden brown, not necessary to cook them fully. Drain and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat oil. Add in the onion and saute till soft. Add the ginger garlic paste, chilli and tomato and cook till tomato is soft.
  • Add the powders and stock cube and saute for a minute. Drain the tamarind off the liquid. Add the liquid, tomato paste and loomi. Add 1 cup of water and salt and allow the mixture to simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Add in the coriander leaves and fish and cook till the fish is done.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Join the Conversation

  1. wow, love this recipe. I dont get days where I dont want to blog now more like I dont knnow what to write kind of days. LOL. Writers block is not a good thing especially when you have so many recipes to draft and have no idea how to start with an engaging conversation

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      I totally agree with you… how to start a post is really very challenging… thank you so much Nammi…

  2. That looks like an interesting fish recipe to try. Some of the ingredients are so new to me. Glad to know about them.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Anupa…

  3. I love how you share recipes from across the world!! Keep it up..

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Pankti…

  4. This sounds so interesting. What may I use as a substitute for Loomi?

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Loomi is basically dried lime, you may just skip it or use a little lime juice…

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