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Fish & Seafood Recipes

Africa is a continent of great rivers: the Congo (which is the only major river to cross the equator twice), the (great gray-green, greasy) Limpopo (as Rudyard Kipling called it), the Niger, the Nile, the Orange, and the Zambezi, to name a few.    woman with fishing net, guineeSome of the world's great lakes are in Africa: for example, Kivu, Nyasa (Malawi), Tanganyika, and Victoria. Africa's coastline climate, with the Atlantic ocean on the west and the Indian ocean on the east, ranges from Mediterranean, to tropical and equatorial, to temperate. For certain African peoples, fishing and gathering various freshwater or saltwater species has been an important source of food for millennia. One notable feature of African cooking is the use of fish and shrimp that have been preserved by drying, salting, or smoking. (Though in many dishes they are used only as a seasoning.) This practice undoubtedly dates from pre-historic times, when it the only way to keep a bountiful catch for future use. Today, imported salted codfish from Scandinavia (called stockfish) is found in shops and groceries all over Western and Central Africa.

Baked Fish & Eggplant
Capitaine & Pili-Pili in Palm Oil
Dahomey Fish Stew
Dongo-Dongo
Fish & Greens
Fish & Onions in Tomato Sauce
Fish with Sorrel
Fried Fish in Peanut Sauce
Grilled Tilapia
LM Prawns
Liboké de Poisson
Mchuzi wa Samaki
Mulet Farci
Ngege with Groundnut Sauce
Oysters Mombasa
Pastels
Poisson Yassa
Samaki wa Kupaka
Sardines & Greens Stew

Herbert Ward

The Natives have Various Modes of Fishing

In 1884 Herbert Ward worked with Henry Morton Stanley, who, in the employ of the king of Belgium, was laying the foundation for what would become the Congo Free State. Beginning in the 1890's, Ward wrote several books and magazine articles. He also depicted Africa in his work as an artist and sculptor. This excerpt, from "Life Among the Congo Savages" published in Scribner's Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 2; February, 1890; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons), describes fishing near the Bolobo Station, about 150 miles up the Congo river from Kinshasa:

. . . the Bamoé [people] cultivate on an extensive scale and are great fishermen. There is an abundance of fish, from small white-bait to fish weighing one hundred and fifty pounds ; and the natives have various modes of fishing. For instance, in order to catch the fish that frequent the shallow parts around the sand banks they use lengths of cane trellis about six feet high. They approach stealthily by night, as a rule, and surround a large portion of the shallow water by means of the cane-work, so that no fish can escape. They then contract their circular wall until the circumference is small enough to admit of their using their barbed spears.
To the fish who are inclined to bask in sluggish water the natives are accommodating. They arrange a stockade projecting into the current about twenty yards, at right angles to the river bank. Upon this they attach small bushes, the whole forming a breakwater, in the lee of which the indolent fish can resort, sheltered from the current. In the most advantageous position are placed artfully contrived traps, made on the principal of our lobster pots, and baited with manioc root.

They are well acquainted with the art of curing fish. Upon a platform, built about two feet from the ground, across which are laid small sticks, the fresh fish are arranged, and then thoroughly dried and smoked by means of a fire placed underneath. During the hot, dry weather they are able to cure fish in the sun, but the climate being generally damp, this process is only occasionally practicable. A great trade results, in the exchange of fish for vegetable food, between the natives who reside on the river banks and the inland tribes. In the district of Bolobo is to be found everything that this portion of central Africa produces -- large plantations of maize, peanut, sugar-cane, plenty of goats, fowl, ducks, and sheep; and the surrounding forests and plains harbor numberless herds of elephabts and buffalo. In the plantations are always to be found guinea-fowl, red-legged partridges, and wild-duck in abundance.


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African Proverbs

Man kuku ake Tsile. (Ga or Accra) : With a piece of herring they catch the Tsile. N.B. -- The Tsile is a large fish caught in numbers off the Gold Coast during the months of August and September. In the Oji dialect the word is "Shire," which resembles in sound the "Shir" (-fish) in East Africa.
  (from: Wit and Wisdom from West Africa, Richard Francis Burton)

Kokote wonu ekpa efie si : si masro sika Dsosru? (Ga or Accra) : The Kokote soup is poured out -- should I regard the sovereign ? N.B. -- The Kokote is a sea-fish of delicate flavour, and the Dsosru is a measure of gold-dust worth about 1 pound. (ibid)

Other African proverbs

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