[CROSSDEV] The Sayadiah: a must-try experience in Aqaba, Jordan
By Mohammad S. Al-Tawaha, CROSSDEV Project Manager for partner JREDS, The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan
Once in Jordan, after visiting the historical, archaeological and tourism sites in Aqaba you still have a lot to discover. Many surprises and experiences are awaiting you. Let me be your guide today.
For sure, you already discovered that every place you visited leads you towards the sea, with beautiful and clean beaches and crystal-clear water. Watch further and you’ll also see all treasures that lay underwater. The beauty of the beaches becomes more romantic at sunset, when the sea, mountains and sand are so gorgeous you may think it’s a painting reflected on the surface of the water.
Do not let these moments and views hinder you from discovering other amazing things in the city. It’s time for you to taste Aqaba’s peculiar dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in Jordan, and maybe you can try and cook by yourself. Aqaba offers you plenty of opportunities to practice new and real experiences that you’ll remember forever, even becoming a chef for one day!
A very typical dish: Sayadiah
Sayadiah is a traditional dish inherited by the people of Aqaba and it is the most popular dish among visitors. Once you taste it, you want more and more. Sayadiah is not only known in Jordan, but we also have versions in Lebanon and Egypt, slightly different in terms of preparation and type of fish. Aqaba’s Sayadiah is going to be one of the best memories for you to take back home. And it is easy to find somewhere to get involved in the cooking. First of all, you need fish!
How to make it
First of all: select the freshest and best fish such as Grouper Sp., Swordfish or Sea Bream Sp; clean them well and cut it into equal pieces (3-5 cm), boil rice in hot water, cut a big amount of onions into slices, add salt and oil and put the mixture on fire until it turns dark brown. Then add tomato paste, cumin and water and keep it on fire till the mixture turns in to a stew. Then add the special spices of the Sayadiah, which consist of natural herbs (garlic, cumin, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and bay leaves), add the fish to the stew and leave all on fire for ten minutes. After that take the fish out and leave aside some of the stew to use it later. Now add the cooked rice to the stew and leave it on the fire for fifteen minutes.
Now you can prepare your favorite side salad. We recommend a hot salad or one with ground sesame (Tahini). Once cooked, the rice turns in to a light brown or golden color due to the fried onions and the spices, which will be spread on a large plate with the fish over it. Nuts or fried onions or parsley may be added to decorate the dish. The cooked fish stew will be beside that large dish of tasty Sayadiah.
******************************** Bon Appétit********************************