Tomato-based Fish Stew and Perfect White Rice

by ImmaculateBites on 7 May, 2013

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Cooking with tomato sauce is a time-honored West African practice. Tomato sauce is used to enrich stews, to thicken soups and mainly because it is economical; especially when you have too many mouths to feed. The only downside to me, when incorporating tomatoes is that,  it is a lengthy process as opposed to other American based tomato sauces. Acidity in fish sauce is often shunned  in Cameroon, so to reduce the acidity in stews, you would have to cook it for a fairly long period. I find that the addition of the earthy flavors of curry, white pepper and smoked paprika helps.

Fish stew is a superb, and fairly light meal that is always comforting anytime of the year.  It is very adaptable because you can vary the spices in the sauce depending on taste and availability.

In addition , if you have been trying to eat a bit healthier, then this fish stew fits perfectly into your dietary needs. It is quick and easy to make and you can even omit the cooking oil altogether. Be sure to pick out the freshest white fish available such as red snapper, tilapia, pompano or even mackerel.

Due to the fact that fish is very delicate it should be added at the very end of the cooking because it might not remain intact when simmering the tomato sauce.

Don’t wait till winter to try this tasty dish, you can make it now- it won’t  heat up the house . What you would get is a delicious tasty stew.

Serve it  with the perfect white rice , I adapted the recipe from Gina Neely (Food Network) .The rice comes out fluffy and tasty each time.

3.8 from 4 reviews
Fish Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: African
Serves: 4-5
  • Perfect White Rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped(substitute ¼ small onion chopped)
  • 1½ cups long-grain rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth or water, warmed
  • 2 clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
  • Fish stew
  • Two pounds white fish (cut up in steaks)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger.
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 medium bell pepper (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoon basil chopped
  • 2 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon powder(optional)
  • ¼ cup canola oil.
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot/onion and sauté until tender.
  2. Then, add the rice and stir until the rice is shiny and covered with the butter. Season with salt and pepper, according to preference and add the warmed stock.
  3. Add the smashed garlic and sprigs of thyme. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 15 to 17 minutes.
  4. Remove the thyme and garlic. Fluff with a fork and add fresh chopped parsley
  5. Wash the fish carefully, drain, and pat dry with paper towels or a clean towel.
  6. Heat the oil in the medium saucepan; add the onion , sauté until tender, about 4-5- minutes.
  7. Then add minced garlic and ginger sauté for about 2 minutes.
  8. Pour tomato sauce, curry powder, smoked paprika, white pepper and bouillon powder. Stir for about a minute and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, add about 2 cups of water to avoid sauce from sticking to the pan. Season with salt according to preference
  9. Add parsley, basil, green pepper and fish steaks one at a time and simmer until the fish is flaky and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Adjust thickness of soup with water.
  10. Serve over warm rice

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

kelsey May 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

This looks yummy? What kind of tomatoes sauce did you use ? was it can tomatoes sauce or fresh plum tomatoes .


Africanbites May 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Thanks kelsey, I used canned tomatoes sauce.


Tih November 6, 2014 at 5:33 am

you are very beautiful, that’s why you such a good cook.
keep it up, will love to taste your food someday, can this be possible?


Andre July 15, 2013 at 3:00 am


which african country are you from? the stew looks really good.


Africanbites July 19, 2013 at 11:24 am

I am from Cameroon, thanks for stopping by.


amanda September 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try this recpie! I’ve visited Cameroon for an extended period and the people & food were amazing!


Africanbites September 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

Amanda, so good to here you had a great time in Cameroon.


Angie October 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Wow, Immaculate, this looks fantastic! I am headed to a barrier island this weekend for a brief vacation, and I expect that the fishing will be good. Hopefully, good enough that I might get to try this recipe! It’s starting to get chilly here, so a warm fish stew w/rice will be perfect. When I get back, I’ll rate this for your blog. Best! Angie.


Africanbites October 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

Angie, am keeping my fingers cross for you .Have a save trip. Thanks for stopping by.


Cecy October 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm

i grew up in Cameroon, but i left over a decade ago to pursue my studies in the U.S. I was pretty young when i left Cameroon, so i never really got a chance to learn how to prepare Cameroonian dishes. Your blog is definitely A BLESSING!!! thanks to you, i’m able to prepare and enjoy dishes from back home! You are the BESTEST!


Nene November 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

My mouth is watering looking at this. This is a must cook for tonight.


Africanbites November 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

Nene, let me know how you like it!


theresa December 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

I’ve been searching for this nd foofoo recipes for a minute, thanks I will be trying real soon! I love fish stew nd foofoo! Yummy


Africanbites December 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Theresa, glad you found this fish stew. Thanks for stopping by!


Joy s March 13, 2014 at 7:43 am

Great site!

Living in the Sahara and needing a fish tagine/stew for guests tonight. Thank you! Keeping it African :)


ImmaculateBites March 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

Thanks Joy.


Brenda April 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Hey! Am from Cameroon,so happy to find this site.!! You’re doing a real great job!!


ImmaculateBites April 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Thanks Brenda, glad to hear from a Cameroonian Sister. Let me know which recipes you try.


Doug Wallace May 20, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Hi I have a wellness blog, and I loved your stew recipe. I included it in a feature article of mine. Kind of HGTV meets healthy eating. You can check it out at the link here —>


Nullacia January 31, 2015 at 3:32 am

So i bought 2 whole fresh fish yesterday…. used one to make this and it turned out great. I just added a little njansang to mine just because I’m obsessed with njansang :) I will be using the other fish to make your Mbongo-tchobi recipe…. can’t wait! Thanks so much for the well written and easy to follow recipes :) I would love to share with you pictures of your recipes that I’ve recreated….. is it possible to do that?


ImmaculateBites January 31, 2015 at 5:08 am

Nullacia, I would love that!!!! Try uploading them here. Thanks for the feedback.


Feruza June 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

Hii was wondering if i can cook or fry the fish before using it?


ImmaculateBites June 26, 2015 at 9:59 am

Asolutely, I do it all the time , this was just for those trying to cut back on the frying.


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