Africa in Culinary Context, Fish Stew
Scottish explorer Mungo Park (1771-1806) traveled through Mandingo country in Gambia, West Africa. During “the dry season, the people who live in the vicinity of the large rivers employ themselves chiefly in fishing,” he writes. The fish they caught “are prepared for sale in different ways. The most common is by pounding them entire as they come from the stream in a wooden mortar, and exposing them to dry in the sun . . . . this preparation is esteemed as a luxury, and sold to considerable advantage.”
Mande women would purchase the dried fish at market and then use pieces of it along with boiling water, vegetables, seasoning, and couscous to make a fish stew.
Fish Stew Recipe
Use dried or fresh fish (sea bass, croakers, porgies or rock)
Green bell pepper
4 ripe tomatoes diced or 1 can of crushed who tomatoes
Use dried fish that needs to be soaked overnight to hydrate or cut up, season, and fry fish. Sauté onions and green bell peppers in a skillet. Remove mixture from skillet and add to fish in saucepan. Add tomatoes and stir. Sprinkle thyme, salt, and black pepper to taste. Cover; simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve with rice or cassava, serves 4.