Fresh Fish Stew

Fante Fante

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    4

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Fante Fante is a red sauce/stew made with very fresh fish. When I asked people in Ghana how to make this dish, which originated among the coastal Fante people of the Western Region, I was given multiple answers: we prepared a version at Flair Catering that was similar to a stew where some of the ingredients were first fried; another time I was instructed to use similar ingredients as Flair’s, but without frying them first (“but you never fry the fish”); finally, I was told it could be made like a simple fish light soup without any palm oil. Some people said to grind the ingredients, others to grate them; some to add ground shrimp, others not to; some to season and steam the fish first separately in a little salted water and onion; some used ginger, many did not; some people said to use seasoning cubes, but others only to use fresh sea salt; most insisted on fresh red chili peppers … it was somewhat confusing.

After sifting through all of the information, I have included two versions in this book. This first one involves no frying; the second one (opposite page) is Barbara’s version at Flair and does involve some frying. Both these stews include only a little water and are more like a sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1½ pounds whole fresh fish (red snapper, grouper, or cassava fish)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded, if desired (to get 2 cups when pureed)
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper of choice, seeded and with membranes removed, if desired (a habanero for very hot; part of a jalapeno for moderately hot)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons grated or ground fresh ginger
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • Salt or seasoned salt, to taste
  • Additional seasonings to taste
  • 4 tablespoons good quality palm oil (spiced dzomi oil if available)

Method

Directions

  1. Scale (if necessary) and clean the fish, cut into 4 pieces (or in halves if using 2 fish), and wash with a little water with lemon juice squeezed into it. (Optional: put the fish in a saucepan with a little chopped onion, some salt, and a little water and steam it for about 3 minutes.)
  2. Puree the tomatoes, onion, chili pepper, tomato paste, and ginger in a blender along with the garlic, if using.
  3. Put ¾ cup of water in a soup pot (use part of the water the fish was steamed in, if steamed). Add the fish pieces to the pot in a single layer, sprinkle them with salt, and pour the pureed ingredients over the fish, using another ¼ cup of water to rinse out your blender container. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of palm oil (Ghanaians might use twice that much) and shake the pan gently to mix everything without breaking the fish apart. Let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes and adjust seasonings. Continue cooking, if needed, until the fish flakes easily.

To serve

Fante Fante goes well with Fante kenkey, Banku, yams, rice, potatoes, etc.