Tomato Fish Stew + A Love Poem

Marinated fish in curry powder, black pepper, salt and some lemon, fried to a golden brown crisp and stewed it in perfectly tender tomatoes with a hint of hotness by scotch bonnets (you can use either birds eye chili or akabanga) and served with your ideal mingled meal.

Sometimes love is not always, albeit great, chocolates, sweets and wine. Sometimes love is a warm bowl of your favorite soup, a plate of your favorite snack or the wafting aroma of the all too familiar foods you have come to develop an affection for.

Sometimes love is not a pristine bed of white sheets with crimson rose petals. Sometimes love is hurdling together in the familiar but worn couch that has seen your growth over the years and watching that film a millionth time.

Sometimes love is not eating out at that penthouse restaurant with its tres chic ambiance and view of the skyline. Sometimes love is seating on your balcony and having that warm bowl of your favorite soup, a plate of your favorite snack or the wafting aroma of the all too familiar foods you have come to develop an affection for.

Sometimes love is letting go of all socially imposed etiquette of how certain food should and shouldn’t be eaten and diving, hands bare into the most satisfying bowl of stewed fish with obundu/ akaalo/ posho [insert your favorite staple carbohydrates]

The poem above is an attempt at depicting what I felt while going through the motions of making and eventually devouring this fish stew because it  hit all the right spots and brought about childhood nostalgia.  Isn’t it amazing that food has the power to humble us, make us see the world differently and evoke certain emotions?! I find it intriguing. And so in this season of expressing our love to both ourselves and the people who mater to us, here is a stew that I trust will help in achieving that because it has home, comfort and warmth written all over it.  Here is the process: First we marinate the fish in curry powder, black pepper, salt and some lemon juice then proceed to fry the fish to a golden brown crisp. After that we stew it in perfectly tender tomatoes with a hint of hotness by scotch bonnets (you can use either birds eye chili or akabanga) and served with your ideal mingled meal.

 

What you will need: 

1 Large fish (tilapia, snapper), scaled, cut and thoroughly washed

8 Large tomatoes

1 Large onion, chopped

4 Garlic cloves,  chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 Tsp. Ginger, grated

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1/2 Scotch bonnet

2 Tbsp. Turmeric powder

2 Tbsp. Cumin powder

2 Tsp. Coriander powder

2 Tsp. Ground bay leaves

1/2 Tsp. Ground cloves

1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon

1 Tsp.Ground black pepper

Salt

Juice of 1 lemon

Oil for frying

1 cup corn flour/maize flour

Observations:

  1. Since tomatoes are naturally sour, adding sugar neutralizes the sourness. You may need more than 1 table spoon of sugar to achieve your desired taste.
  2. Maize flour helps absorb the excess liquid released by the fish as it marinates and keeps the fish from sticking to the pan when frying. If you don’t have maize flour, you can use breadcrumbs instead

Method

  1. Place the clean pieces of fish in a clean bowl.  Add  half of the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ground bay leaves, ground cloves, cinnamon,  ground black pepper, a pinch of salt and juice of 1 lemon into the bowl with the fish.
  2. Mix well till all the pieces of fish are covered with the pieces.  Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, add enough cooking oil to immerse the fish. Place the pan on high fire and let the oil heat up.
  4. Place the maize flour on a flat plate and roll each individual piece of fish in it till well coated. Once the oil is hot, gently place the fish pieces into the oil and let them fry till golden brown and crispy.
  5. While the fish is frying, finely chop half of your tomatoes and set aside. Cut the other half of the tomatoes into chunks and along with the scotch bonnet and place them in a blender. Blend till pureed. If you don’t have a blender, you can make your tomato sauce a head of time using this method
  6. Once all the fish has been fried, set it a side. Add about a table spoon of oil in a separate pan and place the pan on medium fire.
  7. Add the garlic, onions, ginger and celery into the oil and let them cook till translucent. Make sure they don’t burn. Next add the finely chopped tomatoes and let them cook till tender.
  8. Pour your pureed tomatoes in the frying tomatoes and let them cook till they have reduced down to a thick paste and the oil has separated from it.
  9. Next add the remaining half of your spices (turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ground bay leaves, ground cloves, cinnamon,  ground black pepper and salt) and mix well. Add 2-3 cups of water  and sugar and stir the stew well.
  10. Add the pieces of fried fish to the tomato stew and cover the pan. Let the stew boil for about 15 minutes. Reduce the fire and let the stew simmer till it has reduced, become thick and has oil floating on top.
  11. Serve hot!

What is love to you?

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My Vegetarian Kitchen Cookbook is Finally Here!

Hello Friends! It’s been a minute. I have been up to so much lately and as you can tell form the blog title I have a surprise for you! Been working on compiling the  blog’s best vegetarian offerings which you can now get as an e-book. I have always wanted to write a cookbook and I have said it multiple times. Putting together this e-book helped alight my goals and gave me a taste of  what it feels to put a valuable product out there in world. I am now so excited to be sharing this token of love with you!

GetMy Vegetarian Kitchen: 34 Delicious and Wholesome Dishes from A Kitchen in Uganda’.

With most of A Kitchen in Uganda’s food stories vegetarian celebrations, there are so many exciting, memorable and valuable dishes that have been created on the blog for the past 5+ years. This book is a compilation of some of the best of those dishes. The purpose for this book is that you can always have these creations whether you have access to the blog or not.

Who is this book for?

Whether it is planning a big gathering, needing an instant dish to satiate your cravings or looking for an idea for your next potluck or food business idea, this book is for you.

This book is for the vegetarian and/or foodie who would love to explore the endless possibilities that come with using less mainstream local produce and ingredients.

This book is for the creative ‘thinking-out-of-the-box’ individual who wants to make their food journey a little more exciting and fulfilling at the same time with ingredients that are easily accessible.

This book for the Ugandan and anyone on the continent of Africa that has to battle with the government imposed social media taxes. My blog has thrived because of the unlimited access to the internet that I have enjoyed and I realize this is not the same story for everyone which is why I took the time to compile these recipes so that you can have them at the tip of your fingertips with or without  the internet!

What is inside this 77 page book:

  1. 34 Delicious and Wholesome Dishes and Recipes from A Kitchen in Uganda
  2. 2 Menus
  3. Tips on How to Have a Successful Meal Gathering
  4. A Weekly Meal Plan Template

Go grab yourself a copy and start cooking!

 

Sautéed Garlic Wheat Pumpkin Bowl

Hello AKIU Family! It’s been long. A lot has been going on. I moved, sold off my kitchen stuff and now I’m starting off from the ground. In the midst of all the chaos, I have lost valuable things, broke a glass or two, and sold off my plates, cups and the largely talked about toaster! Tupperware has been the order of the day months! One of the crazy things that happened was eating out of a pumpkin. It actually worked for me because for a moment I did not have to worry about washing the plates! But all jokes aside, this meal is the definition of comfort with some spice thrown in there.

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While in Fort portal about three months ago, I was gifted with this locally grown organic wheat. This wheat is so tasty. When we boiled the first batch, half of it was eaten out of the pan plain. It is that good.

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The first thing that came to my mind (after eating the plain one) was a wheat stir-fry or a sauté. And that is what I ended up doing. This power pumpkin bowl is loaded with a lot of flavour, texture and nutrients that are really good for you. I recommend trying cooking and eating out of a pumpkin.

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So here is what is going on in this massive bowl: A steamed/boiled-to-tenderness pumpkin bowl, filled with savoury garlicky sautéed organic wheat, topped with avocado slices and crowned with crunchy fried garlic chips and then sprinkled with roast pumpkin seeds and simsim (you didn’t think I would leave it out, did you?).

What you will need:

1 mature pumpkin

2 C Wheat, soaked overnight, boiled till soft and drained

1 Small Cabbage, diced

1 medium avocado, ripe

1 Large purple onion

1 chicken broth cube

Salt

Black pepper

Oil for frying

Pumpkin seeds

Roast simsim (sesame)

3 Garlic cloves, finely crushed and chopped

4 Garlic cloves for chips

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Observations:

Use a mature pumpkin that has hardened skin. It will not fall apart even after the flesh is cooked.

 

Method:

  1. Cut pumpkin in half. Remove guts and seeds. Don’t throw away the seeds. In a pan larger than the pumpkin, place water and bring to a boil. Wash the pumpkin well and gently place the half you intend to use in the boiling water. Cover the pan and let the pumpkin boil till the flesh is soft when a fork is inserted in. Remove from fore and set aside to cool
  2. In a separate frying pan, heat oil. Add the crushed garlic. And let it brown a little. Add the cabbage and let it wilt a little. Next add the boiled wheat grains and stir till well combined. Add salt, black pepper and crush the broth cube in the pan. Keep some of the water used to boil the wheat and add spoon by spoon to keep the wheat from burning. Keep stirring till the cabbage is almost cooked but still crunchy. Remove from fire.
  3. For the pumpkin seeds, remove them from the guts and then wash they well. Place in a frying pan with about a teaspoon of water, some salt and black pepper. Keep stirring till they are fully dry, golden brown and have puffed up a little. It will take about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Peel the remaining 4 garlic chips without crushing them. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice them crosswise. On medium heat, place pan and add oil. Let the oil get extremely hot. Add the chips to the oil. Let them fry till they release an aroma and turn a golden brown but not fully burnt.

 

To assemble

Get the boiled half of the pumpkin. Make sure it is still warm to the touch. Fill it up with the fried wheat. Thinly slice the avocado and arrange some slices on top of the wheat. Add the roasted pumpkin chips and the garlic chips. Finally sprinkle with roasted simsim (sesame).

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Serve hot, preferably with a group of friends or family on chilly day.

 

 

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I cannot wait for when I get my hands on another good pumpkin and equally great wheat to make this again especially now that the weather is gloomy!

Till next week!

Have you eaten out of a food shelling before?