Unusual Fact: Cameroon is considered the ‘Little Africa’ because of its vast range of terrain. It has beaches, rain forests, deserts and mountains
When you make your self and promise and then break it, it is one of the worst feelings. When I first started this adventure I had thought that I would be making at lest two dishes for every country. Now these could include, sides, drinks, desserts, soups. But I have let myself down. The last four countries (excluding Burundi) I have only made one dish. The only one that can really be excused was Cambodia because we were camping. But for Burkina Faso and now Cameroon, I was lazy. I did not take the time to fully explore the cuisine, and to find more amazing recipes from these interesting countries. Instead I found the first recipe that seemed alright and went ahead and made it. I hope that this will never happen again.
But now back onto Cameroon. This week we made Fish in a Peanut Sauce. The recipe was from the World Cookbook for Students. Although this recipe wasn’t the healthiest or the most exciting it was great comfort food. The recipe asks for firm fleshed white fish, the fish we used was snapper. You have to leave it to sit in garlic for a while. I love any type of meat with garlic, it is one of the worlds greatest inventions. That’s why when the recipe asks for half of the garlic (which is 2-3 cloves, so I should have put in 1 1/2) to be put in with the fish, I put in 5 cloves. The taste was not overbearing, in fact it was quite nice. Dad, who grew up with fish and has loved it all his life, said that this was one of the best snappers he’s ever had. That made me really happy because as I said, Dad has eaten a lot of fish, he said the same for when we did The Bahamas.
The peanut sauce that came along with this dish surprised me a little. There were lots of lovely herbs and spices in this sauce, but to me, it just tasted like peanuts. Which is fine, but next time, more flavourings will be needed. Once again we dramatically reduced the amount of dried shrimp in the recipe due to our mistakes made with Benin. So instead of doing a 1/4 of a cup in the sauce I did 1/8 and instead of adding the other 1.4 of a cup later in the recipe, I didn’t add anything. The recipe calls for natural peanut butter. We sourced ours from our local health food store who grind a whole range fresh nuts into pastes.
Overall the sauce went really well with the fish, I really enjoyed this meal.
Angus sadly refused to eat this meal, he’s not much of a fish person.
Fish in a peanut sauce
vegetable oil. for frying
About 2 pounds (or how ever much suits your family, we used 3 fillets) of firm white fleshed fish (we used snapper)
2-3 (I used 7) garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c (I used 1/8 once, only in the first part not in the second part) smoked or dried shrimp or prawns
1tsp coriander (cilantro)minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 grated nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
2TBS palm or other oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 chillies, whole
1 cup (250mL) natural peanut butter
Heat oil in a skillet
Rub the fish with half (I used 5 cloves) of the garlic and let rest for 10 mins. Fry fish on both sides until done. Drain on paper towels and reserve. Drain off the frying oil from the skillet and wipe it clean with paper towels.
Health the skillet over low heat with two tables spoons of palm oil, Fry the onion until golden, stir in the rest of the garlic and chilli, and fry until light golden, be careful, garlic burns quickly.
Add the fried fish, and set aside until needed.
Prepare the shrimp stock: grind half the dried shrimp together with the coriander, ginger, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender, food processor or mortar and pestle.
In a saucepan place 3 cups of water, and stir in the dried shrimp mixture. Allow to simmer for 30 mins.
At this point, you may want to strain the stock, or choose to retain the flavour solids to add body to the sauce. I strained mine.
Prepare the peanut sauce: add 3-4TBS (I did 1/2 a cup) of hot stock to peanut butter; mix well to a smooth slurry. Add slurry to rest of stock in the pan and stir until smooth.
Simmer until thickened. Add a little more peanut butter is not thick enough, or more water if too thick. Stir in the reserved fish (I kept mine separate) and onions and remaining dried shrimp to the simmering peanut sauce.
Simmer until heated through, about 10 mins. Stir and check occasionally to see that sauce is not burning. If the sauce has thickened too much, add a bit more water. Serve fish and sauce over rice.