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Kenya fried tilapia fish stew recipe eaten with rice or ugali

Tilapia, especially when fried and eaten with rice or ugali, is a fish recipe loved among all Kenyan African communities.

The key to this fried tilapia recipe is frying fish without a cornmeal coating. In Kenya, this is one of that eat-together with family lunches and dinner recipes that rely on staples like fresh vegetables and rice; all you have to do is catch the fish.

Kenya fried tilapia fish stew recipe step by step directions

Kenya fried tilapia fish stew recipe step-by-step directions with rice

Ingredients for the fried tilapia

1 whole fresh tilapia, filleted
2 cups vegetable cooking oil
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for the fried tilapia fish sauce and rice

2 onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 diced carrots
2 diced tomatoes
1/2 head shredded green or purple cabbage
2 cups peeled and diced fresh pumpkin
1 cup peeled and diced cassava
6 peeled and diced garden eggs (African eggplants)
1 small can tomato paste
1 chopped hot chili
1 tablespoon fish sauce
One handful chopped parsley
3 cups uncooked rice
6 cups fish or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large frying pan add oil into the pan and heat. Put in the salted fish into the hot oil and fry until it browns. Turn to fry the other side. Place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. In a large pot, sauté onion and add the tomato paste. Cook over low heat 2 minutes and mix with stock. Add vegetables, seasonings, and rice. Add fish on top of mixture cover and simmer 30-35 minutes. Serve.

Family in Kenya cooking Ugali
Family in Kenya cooking Ugali 
African food pro tip:
You can omit the rice in this recipe and serve your Kenya-fried tilapia fish stew recipe with Ugali instead.

Ugali pronounced oo-gahl-ee is a dish in Kenya made of fine cornmeal cooked in boiling water into a soft dough. Ugali is known in South Africa as Pap or Mielie, Sadza in Zimbabwe, and Nsima in Malawi; the name changes with region and language in Africa.

Ugali is made from ground corn or is sometimes made from other flours, such as millet or sorghum flour, and at times mixed with cassava flour. Ugali is cooked in boiling water or milk until it reaches a stiff or firm dough-like consistency.

Ugali Ingredients and Directions

4 cups finely ground cornmeal
8 cups water

Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Slowly pour cornmeal into boiling water stirring continuously. Add more cornmeal if necessary until it is thick as soft bread dough. Serve immediately with vegetables, stew, or any dish you would use a spoon with to soak up the sauce, ugali is purposely bland tasting on its own.

Fried tilapia tomato fish sauce and rice
Fried tilapia tomato fish sauce and rice

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