209 x AllergicFoodLover: Hassle-Free Samke Harra
I still remember that day as if it was yesterday, those butterflies fluttering in your stomach as the plane is getting closer to the ocean as you see this mixture of skyscrapers and stone houses. Then you have that wall of people holding balloons and roses at the arrival waiting to welcome their missed family members or the taxis parked in double and triple line. I never had anyone teach me Lebanese cooking, then with the development of my food allergies whatever motivation my aunts may have had, somewhat vanished and my father is not a cook, he is a taster.
The first time I had 'samke harra' was up in the mountains, Baabdat to be precise, with my father and my Swedish family who had come to visit. I had eaten the sauce at a ratio of 10 spoons per tiny piece of fish, naturally, that had meant asking for second servings of sauce. It was packed with flavors, delicious and addictive. This lunch was also the first time I had arak, and no thankfully, no embarrassing moment followed that tasting.
I suppose, like many recipes, it varies from region to region, although I believe it originates from Tripoli, for sure not the mountains! The more authentic version will use harissa, however, I did not have any on hand. I would call this version a more easy-going, little to no hassle recipe.
Recipe for Hassle-Free Samke Harra
Once the fish is ready, transfer it to a slightly deep dish and pour over the tahini mixture on top. Garnish with your favorite nut toppings, I used the olive makdous from Feryal as it has both the crunch and additional spice complexity.
Pair it with a glass of cold white wine, for this meal, we chose the bottle of Chateau Khoury Rêve Blanc 2018. The chardonnay and riesling soften the spiciness of the fish.