Okra, Eggplant and Fish Stew

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    4

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Banku (a fermented corn dough) is often eaten with a stew made from okra or slightly bitter garden eggs (a type of eggplant), and smoked and/or fresh fish. Smoked fish imparts a lovely flavor, but for a low-salt version like this one, fresh fish alone may be used. Also, while salmon offers a contemporary twist, any firm-fleshed fish fillets may be used.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes (2 to 3 cups)
  • 18 fresh or frozen okra
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger (or to taste)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (or more to taste; or a hotter variety pepper, if desired)
  • 2 or 3 large fresh or canned tomatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons red palm oil (dzomi, if available) or other vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 salmon fillets or other firm-fleshed fish fillet (about 4 ounces each)
  • teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon dried ground red pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)

Method

Directions

Prepare vegetables

  1. Put the eggplant in a saucepan and cover with water. Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to soften. When the eggplant is soft, remove it with a slotted spoon and puree in an electric blender or food processor. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  2. If using fresh okra, rinse and trim both ends. Then slice them into rounds, chop finely, or leave whole. Do not cut whole frozen okra. Set aside until needed.
  3. Put the ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and tomatoes (seeded, if desired) in the blender or food processor and puree with a little water.

Prepare the stew

  1. In a large, heavy pan heat the palm or vegetable oil and fry the chopped onion on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the pureed tomato mixture and pureed eggplant.
  2. Add the fish, turning the fillets to coat them with the spices and vegetables, then add the okra and salt and stir. Add a little water if the sauce seems too thick, cover and lower the heat and simmer until the fish and okra are cooked.
  3. Adjust the seasonings. If it is not spicy enough, add a little dried red chili pepper (beginning with 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon). For more tomato flavor, stir in the tomato paste.

To serve

This stew can be accompanied by Banku, plain rice, or Ampesi. It also goes well with spicy Shito, any chili sauce, or dried red pepper flakes.

Variations

  • This stew also works nicely made with just okra or just eggplant.
  • The eggplant may be added cubed without pureeing first.
  • Replace the fresh fish with 8 ounces of smoked fish.
  • Substitute tuna, tilapia, red snapper, or cod for the salmon.