Ever had samkeh harra? Samkeh harra is a glorious dish that is served at buffets at big parties like weddings for example; it is a large fish (loukoz, a type of sea bass), baked whole (head and tail included) and served encased in a tahini and herb sauce with a touch of red chili pepper and a sprinkle of walnuts.
Well, I took the spices and flavors of this dish and converted it into a street food shawarma-style sandwich; easier to manage than a 5-pounder, you simply grill or pan-fry fish fillets, make a quick tarator and serve in a pita bread with fresh tomatoes and avocados.
INGREDIENTS: 4 servings
- 4 fish fillets of your choice
- 1/2 cup of tahini (4 ounces, 125 ml)
- 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice (4 ounces, 125 ml)
- 3 (or more, to taste) cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of walnuts, crushed
- 1 bunch of cilantro or dill or flat-parsley
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 large avocado
- olive oil, as needed
- Spices: 2 teaspoons of sumac, 1 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, pinch of cinnamon and salt, as needed
- Mix all the spices and sprinkle on the fish fillets, both front and back. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and set the fillets aside. Crush the garlic with a dash of salt in a mortar until pasty. Transfer to a bowl, add the tahini and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice and stir, add up to 3/4 cup of water and stir constantly until the tarator is smooth. Keep in mind you want it fairly thick and not too watery, so always add the water gradually, checking the texture and taste and adjust if needed.
- Grill the fish or pan-fry in some olive oil until the fish is done. While the fish is cooking, slice the tomatoes, avocados and onions if using. Open each pita, slather with tarator, sprinkle some crushed walnuts, extra herbs, place the fish in the bread, add the tomato slices and avocado slices and serve.
NOTE: The tarator is a sauce that you can adjust according to your taste; more garlic or lemon juice? sure! Anything goes! (tarator=tahini sauce)