My friend Nyani has just been here visiting from Ghana so I cooked him a fish stew inspired by a trip I made to Ghana earlier this year to visit him and his family. When I was there we went to a beautiful beach resort on the coast to the west of the capital, Accra, called Ko-sa. In the fishing village Ampenyi close by I met a fisherman called Thomas and his daughter Princess, who invited me into the kitchen of their home to share their family recipes on the traditional and popular palm nut soup and smoked fish. Thomas also gave me rudimentary instructions on how to cook a fish stew with tomato, onion, chili pepper and the catch of the day. Unfortunately his own boats hadn’t caught anything overnight or he would have cooked the stew for me to taste. The next day the boats were not going out as one day a week they stay ashore to show respect and gratitude to the sea. Like all, and I mean ALL, West African recipes this fish stew includes a Maggi cube. If you’re not so hot on msg (monosodium glutamate) in your food just replace it with any cube of fish stock.
- 450 gram of fresh or defrosted fish fillet. I use hake for a simple version and kingklip for a luxury meal.
- 6 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 fresh chili pepper
- 1 Maggi cube, or any cube of fish stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Chop half the onion and put to the side together with the sliced garlic. Also chop two tomatoes and put to the side.
Put the other half of the onion in a pot together with the four remaining tomatoes and the chili pepper. Cover with water and boil for about 5 minutes, or until you see the skins of the tomatoes beginning to come off.
Pour off the water and mix the onion, tomatoes and chili pepper in a mixer to a fine pulp (Ghanaians wouldn’t use a mixer but grate the cooked vegetables using an asanka and a tapori, a clay mortar and wooden pestle).
Pour the tomato and onion pulp back into a pot and bring to the boil.
Crumb the Maggi cube into the pot. Add the chopped onion and sliced garlic and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the fish and put the chopped tomatoes on top.
Let it all cook on low heat until the fish is done, about 10 minutes. The fish is done when it has a full white colour and is no longer transparent.