Fish Recipes

Cameroonian Fresh Fish Stew w/Nutmeg

This recipe comes from Auntie Kate's Cookery Book, a Cameroonian publication aimed at home economics students, which we found in the Indiana University library. Cameroon is located at the eastern extreme of West Africa, on Nigeria's eastern border. This recipe is yummy. Serves 6-8.

2 lbs. fresh fish
Just about any fish will work for this. We used to be able to get shark cheaply, which has a more "meaty" texture than most fish; nowadays I get catfish "nuggets" when they're on sale. Cut the fish into large chunks, and sprinkle w/a little salt, ginger and nutmeg. Fry in shifts in 1 c. oil (you can reduce this, so long as there's enough for the fish to fry in) 'til brown on both sides. Set fish aside to drain on paper towels, and pour off excess oil. The pan may seem impossibly caked with fish-scum, but this is released by the wet ingredients added later and the pan becomes easy to clean (trust me).

1 med. onion, sliced
Fry in the remaining oil in the fish pan 'til golden-brown.

2 tomatoes
1 med. onion
2 long hot peppers like anaheims or banana peppers
1/3 c. tomato paste
(or just use a whole small can (3/4 c.) for a richer sauce)
1 T flour
1 T nutmeg

Grind up together 'til smooth in a blender or food processor. Add to the onions and fry, stirring constantly, for 5-10 min., 'til tomatoes smell cooked and flavors are well-blended. Add 1 c. water or stock with salt to taste, and let sauce simmer 'til fairly thick. Add the fish and simmer 10 minutes. Serve w/rice. If you have access to African yams (sometimes called boniato, after the South American variety), peel, cut up and boil those like potatoes. Boiled plantain (a big, starchy banana; peel it & cut into big chunks, boil 'til tender) is also good, but will not be so nice as a left-over.

Burkina Faso Fish Stew with Vegetables

Burkina Faso (known as Upper Volta in colonial times) lies in central West Africa, north of Ghana. This is a lovely dish I adapted from a book called The Art of African Cooking by Sandy Lesberg, a paperback from 1971 that I found in a used bookstore (the recipes were culled from diplomats and "the first ladies of the new African nations", and were not always edited very coherently). Serves 4-6.

I. Sauce:

1 onion, sliced thin
Saute 'til golden in about 1/4 c. oil (preferably peanut oil).

1/4-1/2 t. cayenne
2 c. tomato sauce (1 tall can)

Stir in and bring to light boil over med. heat.

II. Fish and Veggies:

1 1/2 lbs. catfish (or other freshwater fish), cut in large pieces
1/2-3/4 lb. okra, halved (or one box frozen)
3 carrots, sliced 1/4" thick
1 small head cabbage, 1/4'd and sliced
1/2-3/4 lb. green beans, cut (or one box frozen)
Add to sauce; cover and return to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5-10 min.

III. Rice:

1 c. rice
Bring sauce to boil again and add rice; reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook about 25 min., adding water if necessary to prevent sticking. For a special dinner, serve with Lemon Porridge (next).

Lemon Porridge

This is a version of fufu, a starch food common as a staple throughout Africa south of the Sahara.

2 c. millet flour or fine white cornmeal
You should be able to get millet flour at a good natural food store--or you can grind your own flour in your blender. If you have coarse cornmeal, regrind it in the blender or sift it. Gradually blend the flour w/4 c. cold water, mixing well to avoid lumps.

juice of 1/2 lemon
Add and let the batter stand for 15 minutes. Bring 1 c. water to boil in a large saucepan; gradually pour in your millet batter, stirring w/a wooden spoon 'til smooth. Reduce heat and cook, stirring, 'til porridge bubbles thickly. This is traditionally meant to be finger-food (takes the place of utensils, like the crust on a pizza: you take a bit of stiff porridge in your right hand and wrap it around a bit of stew), so it should be stiff--not "porridge" like oatmeal, but more like hot, somewhat moist bread-dough. Keep cooking and stirring after the bubbles start to form for about five minutes, 'til "thick, glossy, and smooth". Pour porridge into a mold or bowl and let stand 'til set (about 30 min.; it'll continue to thicken somewhat). Unmold and serve with stew.

Mtuzi wa Samaki

Kenyan baked curried fish, a Middle-Eastern/Indian-influenced dish I adapted from The Africa News Cookbook. This is easy and delicious. Serves 4.

2 lbs. boned white fish
You can leave as fillets if you bought fillets, or cut into large serving pieces. Lay in the bottom of a 2-3 quart baking pan or casserole. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 lg. yellow onions, sliced
Fry 'til golden in 2 T oil, and arrange over fish.

3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 t. garlic powder)
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 t. ea. ground cardamom and cumin
1/2 c. white vinegar

Whisk together well (or combine in blender) and pour over the fish. Cover the pan/casserole, and bake 'til fish is done (20-30 minutes). Serve w/rice or crusty bread and a nice salad or greens dish.

Khari Macchli

Fish curry, adapted slightly from an ancient British paperback I found in a used bookstore (called Harvey Day's Curries of India; the copy I have was published in Bombay in 1963). Serves 4-6.

2 lbs. halibut or turbot (again, I use catfish a lot), cut in serving pieces
Fry in shifts in 2 T oil (preferably mustard oil) 'til lightly browned; set aside to drain on paper towels.

2 lg. onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
6 thin slices fresh ginger (or 1/2 t. ground ginger)
Fry in vacated fish pan 'til golden brown.

1 (15-16 oz.) can tomato puree, or 2-3 tomatoes pureed in blender or food processor
1/2 t. ea. cayenne and ground coriander
1/4 t. ea. turmeric and ground dry mustard

I'm inclined to also add the seeds of 2-3 cardamom pods, just because I love cardamom (I sometimes think that cardamom and fresh ginger are why God gave us taste buds). Stir into onions, and cook down 'til gravy-like and well-blended. Stir in the fish and heat through before serving. I like to serve a dish like this with Veggie Pilau, to get both the rice and the vegetables in one pot (less work is what I like!). Put plain yogurt on the table, or make a raita (consult a good Indian cookbook or website) and serve with chapatis and chutneys if you want to go for the full gusto.

Back to RecipesBack to Abbie's Recipes home

Back to AbbieBack to Abbie's Vanity Page Home

Abbie Anderson
Last updated 8/22/99