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Fish in groundnut/peanut sauce

Fish in groundnut/peanut sauce Fish in groundnut sauce - with ugali

This shows you how to quickly prepare fish in groundnut/peanut sauce, with a West African touch.


5 min
30 min
35 min


  1. In case fresh fish filets are used, fry them for a few minutes, before adding onions
  2. Add tomatoes, diced if fresh and pepper. Fry for a a couple of minutes. N.B.: Great care should be taken if habanero pepper is used, because of its hotness. The whole pepper used here might be too hot for folks not used to hot foods. Other pepper types can be used, though. Add Maggi, crumbled
  3. Add groundnut/peanut paste & stir to mix. If freshly ground unroasted groundnuts, especially not in paste but powder form are used, more time should be allowed to get them cooked. Let it simmer for a few minutes, about 5.
  4. Add fish (see step #1). Since canned tuna is cooked, it does not need much cooking time. If smoked fish is used, it can also be added at this stage. If canned fish is in oil, this could be used above to saute the onions making using additional oil unnecessary, since in any case the groundnuts also have oil in them
  5. Add spices and salt. Addition of salt might be unnecessary if Maggi (which is actually optional) is used
  6. The total cooking time should be 20 - 30 minutes, with the groundnut session - boiling taking 15 - 20 minutes, on low heat, covered. Occasionally stir.


In parts of East Africa, almost only smoked fish or meat is cooked together with groundnuts (peanuts). There is however no reason why fresh fish (or meat) cannot be used as well as is very common in West Africa, where they do a lot of mixing of ingredients, some of which would be quite astonishing to especially “conservative” East Africans. My experience, though is that their dishes are really delicious & they have more variety.

The tuna/canned fish alternative is for someone not having quick access to fresh/smoked alternatives and needs something cooked fast.

The sauce can be enriched or varied with other vegetables, like zucchini, brussels sprouts, carrots, fresh peas (cooked), etc and spices.

This makes a good accompaniment for ugali, rice, chapati, potatoes, sweet potatoes, steamed cassava, etc [see respective recipes of chapati & ugali (posho)].

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