Ghana Fried Fish

Kenam/Kyenam

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

The first time I traveled to Ghana in 1971 I lived in Nungua along the coast and taught school. There I grew to love Ga kenkey, spicy shito, and fried fish. Though kenam and its accompaniments are easily obtained in Ghana, all three must be home-prepared when outside that environment. This classic meal was one of the first birthday dinners my adopted nephews requested when they came to live with us in 2002.

Here I am giving you two versions of Ghana’s fried fish. For the first one, on this page, the fish is rubbed with salt before cooking as the Ga people living on Ghana’s coast traditionally do. OnFlair’s version, Stuffed Fried Fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 whole fish per person, e.g., red snapper, croakers, porgies (allow about 8 ounces fish per serving)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt for rubbing (sea salt, if available)

Method

Directions

  1. Clean and scale the fish, removing fins and gills (Ghanaians keep the heads on). Shorten the tail. Cut larger fish into 2 or 3 pieces. Put 2 or 3 cups water in a bowl and mix with the lemon juice. Rinse the fish in the water. Cut a diagonal slit or two in each side of each fish. Let the fish drain in a colander for a few minutes.
  2. Heat about ½ inch of oil in a large heavy pan, such as a cast iron frying pan, on medium to medium-high heat.
  3. Blot the fish dry if necessary with a paper towel, then season it by rubbing it with salt—the amount will vary according to the size and amount of the fish, but probably 1 to 2 teaspoons per fish.
  4. Carefully place the fish in the hot oil to avoid splattering and without crowding them in the pan. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, carefully turning the fish so that the skin does not tear.
  5. Remove and drain on paper towels.

To serve

This simple method of cooking fish is wonderful with Kenkey, and Fresh Pepper Sauce or Shito or simply sliced onion and tomato.

Variation

Use filleted whole fish.