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How To Make Mtuzi Wa Samaki: A Flavorful Tanzanian Dish

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Tanzania lies along the east coast of the African continent. Thanks to its coastal location, fish-based dishes have become popular in the cuisine. Favored with coconut milk and Madras curry, Mtuzi wa Samaki -- or fish and coconut curry -- is a quintessential Tanzanian dish. Here's how to make some delicious Mtuzi wa Samaki in your own home.


  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless halibut, cut into 8 - 10 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 large fresh tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, sliced into quarters
  • fresh cilantro, optional


Season the halibut with the curry powder, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

Place a large Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil. When the oil and pan are hot, add the fish. Saute until the fish is browned on the outside, but still a little raw in the center. This will keep it from overcooking later when it is boiled in the sauce.

Remove the fish from the Dutch oven, and set it aside. Add the chopped onion and pepper to the pan, and saute until it's tender and beginning to brown around the edges. Then, add the ginger and garlic to the pan, and saute for an additional 1 - 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, and then add the curry powder to the pan. Saute for 2 more minutes. This will help bring out the flavor of the spices.

Pour the chicken or vegetable stock, tomatoes, and lemon juice into the pan. Bring to a simmer, and then cover and cook for 30 minutes. The tomato will break down and become almost like a sauce.

Once the dish has cooked for 30 minutes, add the fish back to the pan. Return the dish to a simmer, and simmer for 6 - 8 minutes -- or until the dish is beginning to flake and pull apart.  Taste the sauce, and add additional salt if needed.

Remove the dish from the heat, and stir in the coconut milk. Serve over white rice. Garnish with lemon wedges (which you can squeeze over the dish for extra flavor) and fresh cilantro. If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients, you can order African food online.