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Spiced Fish Fillet with Tahini Sauce and Toasted Pine Nuts

Arabic Spiced Fish with Tahini Sauce and Pine Nuts is a richly flavoured and visually captivating Middle Eastern dish. I prefer to use white fish fillets, such as humour, red snapper, or sea bream, which is coated in flour seasoned with an aromatic blend of spices that includes cumin, coriander, chilli, and paprika, imbuing the fish with a warmth and depth of flavour characteristic of Arabic cuisine. The fish is pan-fried until golden, resulting in a delicately crispy exterior that encases tender, succulent fish inside.

To elevate the dish further, a tangy and creamy tahini sauce is prepared, marrying the nutty flavours of tahini with the bright, acidic notes of lemon juice and white vinegar. This sauce is then enriched with sautéed onions, minced garlic, and fresh herbs, creating a beautiful layering of flavours that further enhances the spiced fish.

The finishing touch lies in the garnishing. Toasted pine nuts provide a delightful crunch and buttery taste, while a sprinkle of sumac introduces a tangy, slightly fruity note that balances the dish beautifully. Lastly, a scatter of freshly chopped parsley or coriander offers a vibrant splash of colour and a burst of freshness. The result is a stunningly presented, flavour-packed dish that is at once comforting and sophisticated, a testament to the art of Arabic cooking. The medley of spices, coupled with the velvety tahini sauce and the crunch of pine nuts, creates a harmony of textures and flavours that is sure to delight any seafood lover.

fish fillet

Basic Ingredients for Spiced Fish Fillet

Fish Fillet:

Fish Fillet: The primary protein, it provides the dish with a mild, sweet flavour and tender texture.

Spices (Cumin, Coriander, Chili Powder, Paprika, Salt, Pepper): These are used to season the fish and give it the characteristic warmth and depth of Arabic flavours.

Flour: This is used to coat the fish, which, when pan-fried, creates a delightful crust on the exterior.

Olive Oil: It’s used for sautéing and frying, adding a rich, fruity undertone to the dish.

Tahini Sauce:

Tahini: This provides the base for the sauce, lending a creamy texture and a distinctive, slightly bitter, nutty flavour.

Lemon Juice and White Vinegar: These introduce tanginess to the tahini sauce, balancing the richness of the tahini.

Onion, Garlic, and Coriander or Parsley: These are sautéed and mixed into the tahini sauce, adding layers of flavour.


Pine Nuts, Sumac, and Parsley/Coriander: Used for garnishing, these add texture (pine nuts), tanginess (sumac), and a burst of fresh flavour (parsley/coriander) to the final dish.

alternative ingredients

Fish: You can use any firm, white fish fillets if the recommended ones aren’t available. Cod, hake, or halibut are all good substitutes.

Spices: You can add more spices according to personal preference, such as turmeric or cinnamon.

Sumac: If you can’t find Sumac, a dash of lemon zest could provide a similar tangy note.

Preparation Tips for Spiced Fish Fillet

  • Pat the fish dry before coating it with spices and flour to ensure it adheres properly.
  • Be careful not to overcook the fish; it should be golden and just cooked through.
  • When preparing the tahini sauce, add the liquid ingredients slowly to prevent it from clumping.

Serving Tips for Spiced Fish Fillet

storage tips

  • If you have leftovers, refrigerate them in an airtight container. It should last for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat gently on the stove or in a microwave. If the sauce thickens too much upon reheating, add a splash of water to thin it out.

Spiced Fish Fillet with Tahini Sauce and Toasted Pine Nuts

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


For the Fish:

  • 1 kg fish skinless fillet , (hamour, red snapper, sea bream)
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the Sauce:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup tahini
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder

For the Garnish:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • handful of parsley or coriander, roughly chopped


  • In a bowl, prepare the tahini sauce by mixing tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, water, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Set aside.
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a pan. Add onions and sauté on medium heat until they soften and caramelize, about 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, then add parsley and sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Clean the fish and pat dry.
  • In a bowl, combine flour, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, paprika, and black pepper to prepare the spice mixture.
  • Season the fish with salt and coat it with the spice mixture on both sides.
  • In a pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Pan fry the fish until golden brown on each side, then transfer it to a serving dish.
  • Combine the tahini sauce with the sautéed onion mixture, and let it cook for a few minutes. Spoon this mixture over the fish.
  • Garnish with toasted pine nuts, a sprinkle of sumac, and chopped parsley or coriander before serving. Enjoy!

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