I am talking about black cat fish:). This what it’s called in pepper soup joints in Lagos. What does this mean exactly? There is a basin of black cat fish swimming in the water at a corner of the kitchen, you take a good look, choose the fish you like, it is killed, dressed and in a few minutes a steaming bowl or bowls of pepper soup emerge from the kitchen and set before you!
Fish farming as an enterprise started making it big in the last decade in Nigeria. Thanks to these fish farms, protein needs are met at fairly affordable price. The lightly smoked version of black catfish is also sold frozen in some fish outlets in Lagos. I understand that quite a bit of this fish is exported as dry smoked fish.
I initially was not hot on this fish …I found the smell too fishy if you know what I mean, until I visited a friend for lunch recently and she prepared Black cat fish in Onion sauce with rice… I must say the outcome was a pleasant surprise . When the food was served, I had thought Bimbo, wanting to impress me had gone the extra mile to cook an ” ‘Oyinbo’ food but this was as local as it comes.
She had marinated the fish in lime and ginger and that took away the fishy smell and left a nice tangy taste to the fish. The rest of the ingredients were just stuff from her pantry and fridge and a treat was waiting on the dinning table to be devoured. We both did justice to it.
Some other interesting stuff I picked from Bimbo was the baked dodo. Very conscious of her health , she says she avoids all forms of frying. I call what she does with plantain ‘Bolido.’…Boli and Dodo. This is my new culinary word. She simply oiled the baking tray placed the sliced plantain on it popped in the oven to brown turning the other side to brown well. Voila Bolido !
Great lunch date I had. Bimbo you impressed me:)
4 Pieces of Black Catfish
2 medium size Onion( blended smooth)
Red and Yellow Scotch Bonnet Pepper( blended smooth with Onion)
3 cooking spoons Vegetable Oil
2tables spoons lime juice
1teaspoon dried Ginger powder
Salt to taste
1, Wash and season fish with lime, ginger and a little salt
2, Heat up oil and fry onion and pepper blend until dry
3, Add the fish, seasoning and a little water to cook the fish and lower the heat and cook for about 20- 25 minutes until fish cooks right through
4, Taste for salt and correct seasoning. You may wish to add few leaves of partmenger .
5, Serve with plain boiled rice garnished with sweet corn and Bolido .