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Lake Malawi Stewed Fried Fish

Best Fish Dish From Malawi Combining Frying and Stewing.

Lake Malawi stewed fried fish is a traditional Malawian dish that is both delicious and nutritious. This one-pot meal is made by combining a variety of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cassava, and eggplant with fresh Lake Malawi tilapia fish. 

The fish is first fried until crispy and then stewed in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. This hearty dish is typically served with Nshima, Malawi's national dish, a thick, starchy porridge made from maize flour. 

Combining frying and stewing will give you a dish with a crispy exterior and a rich, flavorful stewing base. This approach is often used in recipes like the classic Malawi stewed fish dish, where the initial frying enhances texture, and the stewing contributes depth of flavor. Combining the tender, succulent fish and the rich, tangy sauce meal will impress your partner, family, friends, and house guests.

Classic Malawi Meal - Stewed Fried Fish and Nshima.

Lake Malawi Stewed Fried Fish

Favorite Cooking Fish of Malawi

Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, is the inland sea of the otherwise land-locked Malawi. Because of its rich fish harvest, the Lake is integral to the economy. Fishing villages and traditional industries and practices are scattered along the shore. 

Around the Nankumba Peninsula surrounding Lake Malawi, a favorite fish used in many Malawian recipes is Chambo. Chambo is a Talapia freshwater fish. Chambo is a general term for three closely related species of tilapia cichlids. 

Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa, boasts of a rich culinary culture that includes a variety of fish recipes. The traditional Malawian way of cooking fish involves frying or grilling it to perfection. The fish is typically served with a side of nshima, a thick and filling porridge made from cassava, corn, or other starchy flour. Combining the savory fish and the hearty nshima makes for a satisfying and delicious meal.

Lake Malawi Stewed Fried Fish 

Ingredients for the fried fish

1 whole fresh tilapia, filleted

2 cups vegetable cooking oil

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for fish stew sauce 

1 onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 diced carrots

2 diced tomatoes

1 cup peeled and diced fresh pumpkin

1 cup peeled and diced cassava

1 peeled and diced medium eggplant

1 small can of tomato paste

1 chopped hot chili

1 tablespoon fish sauce

One handful of chopped parsley

2 cups fish stock

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large frying pan, add oil and heat. Put 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 for 2 minutes and mix with stock. Add vegetables and seasonings. Add fish on top of the mixture, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until pumpkins are soft. Serve with nshima.


Nshima 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 as thick as soft bread dough. Serve immediately with vegetables, stew, or any dish you would use a spoon to soak up the sauce; nshima is purposely bland tasting on its own.


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