Picture this…..rech gi kuon (fish & ugali in the language of one’s calling) with mito & lisebebe (traditional veggies) on a Friday night after a long day in the marketplace.
My ever loving and ever patient trolley pusher, went out of his way and bought five mid-sized, healthy looking, deep fried tilapia last evening for today’s dinner. Let me just say I have been day dreaming about it the whole day today and this was made worse after watching Chef Ali Mandhry prepping samaki was kupaka for Mark Wiens on his migrationology vlogs on YouTube last night.
That’s a piece of heaven I would not mind having its title deed in my name. Jesus, do me good.
Fish ready, I pleaded with my DM to go to Marikiti and get me the ingredients i.e. coriander, mito, lisebebe (pumpkin leaves in the lingua of the first cousin), onions and tomatoes. I got the rest of the spices missing from my ka-pantry on my way home in the evening.
- 2 mid sized onions
- Capsicum – 1 mid sized, thinly sliced.
- 3 tomatoes
- Garlic – 10 cloves pieces
- Ginger – half a pinky size wise
- Chillies (whole) – birds eye chilli 4 pieces
- Tumeric, 2 tablespoons
- Paprika, 1 teaspoon
- Coconut cream, 800 ml. Kentaste brand specifically.
- Curry powder, 1 teaspoon heaped
- Oil – tablespoons
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
First, take your ginger, garlic, paprika, curry powder, tumeric,chillies and salt and grind them to a paste using a pestle and mortar. Tedious process but wonderful taste. Saw this technique from an Indian vlog on YouTube. Interestingly, the chilli vanishes in the concoction once it forms a paste.
The background is just evidence that my kitchen is my lab. Assume, those are titration pipes, test tubes and Bunsen burners with all sorts of concoctions.
Heat oil in a wide pan till it becomes silent – almost smoking.
Add half a teaspoon of both cumin and mustard seeds. You will get a crackling sound as the seeds start jumping out of the oil.
Immediately, add thinly sliced onions and capsicum. Fry till golden brown.
Then add the bronze colored concoction from your pestle and mortar.
That aroma was so enticing till ground floor. I reside on the first floor. 2nd and 3rd floor neighbors are always out on Fridays.
Let it fry until all the ingredients have blended well and there are no lumps. Then add tomatoes and just because it was the last not in the container, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Fry until the tomato disintegrates into the concoction and isn’t lumpy.
On the side, take your deep fried fish, place in a wide & fitting bowl and pour hot steaming water. If you know how to slaughter chicken Kenyan style, hot water to that level. This helps soften the fish and eliminate the excess oil from the deep frying process. Soak the fish for 5-10 minutes. Then drain completely.
I don’t know why I didn’t take that photo.
For the love of buy Kenya, build Kenya, please get Kentaste products. I am intentionally digressing coz o just have to say this. Foreign products are taking over the supermarket shelves and playing unfairly against homegrown products. I mean, a difference of 10 or 20 shillings between various brands of Thai Coconut milk and even Coconut cream is favorable for those who are living on tight budget made worse by double and triple taxation. Where is the authority in charge of enforcing the Competition Act when we need them most? If you can, buy local products. Why? Your buying is paying salaries and overheads for the person who is next to you compared to cheap imports that may not even be of the required standard for the Kenyan market. Furthermore, if you have feedback on the product, you can engage the organisation directly. Wakenya hatujarogwa. I am not using the road to Shanghai even as I use my simple Infinx phone. Oh, the irony!!!!
Back to rech. Slice finely the coriander leaves and add into the pan. Fry for 2 minutes there about.
Empty your 2 cans of coconut cream onto the pan and stir till you get a nice yellowy mixture. Let it simmer. Taste for salt. Add to taste.
Place your fish, one by one, into the thick coconut cream and make sure the fish is well covered on both sides.
No further comment.