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.
- 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.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot/onion and sauté until tender.
- 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.
- Add the smashed garlic and sprigs of thyme. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 15 to 17 minutes.
- Remove the thyme and garlic. Fluff with a fork and add fresh chopped parsley
- Wash the fish carefully, drain, and pat dry with paper towels or a clean towel.
- Heat the oil in the medium saucepan; add the onion , sauté until tender, about 4-5- minutes.
- Then add minced garlic and ginger sauté for about 2 minutes.
- 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
- 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.
- Serve over warm rice