Who makes fish during the Christmas season? Anyone!
Let me start by telling you why I’m thankful for this Christmas and how I got a fish bone stuck in my throat. I made a pot of delicious Ogbono soup with dry fish and some Shaki (tripe) and chicken for my Ajebutters and I. Usually, I debone any kind of dry fish before using; except I’m dumping them whole into my soup. Anyway, I deboned my fish, or I thought I did and threw them into the bubbling pot of soup. While eating, a little bone got stuck in my throat. I made more Eba and swallowed it, the bone refused to come out. I ate some bread, peanut butter, drank diluted Vinegar and ate some rough corn bread and the bone refused to shift. I then realized the bone was lodged in the left side of my throat. What type of bone goes and lodges at the left side of your throat if it’s not the ones sent by your enemies :P(I kid). When I started coughing out blood, I knew I had to stop praying fall down and die(Nigerians would understand 🙂 ) and run to the nearest Emergency room. On getting to the ER, they quickly took a photo of my throat and had me sit and wait on the results. At this point, I couldn’t really swallow and my life began to flash before my eyes. I was beginning to wonder, if I would die from swallowing a fish bone. This life!
Moments later, a Physician’s assistant called me into one of the rooms and said to me “So you said you have a bone in your throat.” I was astonished at the statement and managed to reply her with the pain in my throat, ‘I’m not saying I do. There is one in my throat and I cannot swallow.” She decided to get a light and a tongue depressor to check my throat manually and viola! She saw the bone. She went ahead to locally anaesthetize my throat and went in with a pair of tiny forceps and viola! One wicked looking tiny bone came out with the forceps. Abeg follow me thank God.
Now to the recipe. I have always loved grilled/roasted fish. Even with the fear of the fish bones and my visit to the ER, I still wanted some fish, but with some sense sha 🙂 I have had a lot of roasted fish but this recipe is my ultimate to go recipe.
Figuring out the recipe: While trying a few Cameroonian styled roasted fish I always tasted a hint of Ehuru (Jamaican nut meg) in it, but it was always still really delicious. Tasting this, reminded me of my Nigerian Jerk chicken where I used pepper soup spices and it gave me plenty ideas. I talked to mommy and she gave me a few tips. I also decided to do a little research for Cameroonian recipes and I bumped into my favorite vlogger’s recipe where she used the same pepper soup spice and I silently screamed “Eureka!”
Following my first victory, I decided to search for the perfect fish. I noticed a lot of people used Tilapia. If you know me, you’ll know I don’t like Tilapia. It’s really not my favorite fish, but it is one of the best kind of fish when it comes to slow grilling/roasting. There are other kinds of fish that are quite delicious with this recipe but for this one, Tilapia it is 🙂 Another win!
One thing I love about this fish is the spicy fish sauce which I added after grilling. For one crazy reason it just worked with the fish. You can also add roasted potatoes or yam or even plantain as a side. For me, I had it with potatoes and wilted spinach. The sauce is totally optional.
One very good thing about this recipe is the fact that you can make it all year round; especially for Nigerians who love to make varieties of foods during the holidays. It’s spicy enough to chase away the cold and moist enough to have you wanting more. Incase your bae is away for the holidays, this fish will keep you just as warm…Okay let’s keep it PG and get the recipe below!
- 3 large Tilapia(cut and cleaned with head on)
- 2 tbsps Nigerian pepper soup spice
- 1-2 tsps Cameroon pepper
- 2tsps garlic powder
- 1tsp white pepper
- 1-2 tsps thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme(optional)
- ½ a small onion
- ½ inch fresh ginger
- 1 habanero(oprtional)
- 1 whole lemon sliced
- 4-6 tbsps oil(not palm oil)
- bouillon(2-3 knorr cubes)
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ -1 green bell pepper
- 1 small onion
- 1 large garlic clove
- 3 habaneros
- 1 tbsp crayfish powder
- Wash fish with water and lemon and pat dry. Score the skin of the fish so as to easily get the ingredients into the groves.
- season with salt and allow to rest.
- In a mortar or blender, blend the onion, habanero and ginger; then mix with the dry ingredients, bouillon and oil into a loose paste. Gently rub the paste into the fish and it's groves. Refrigerate for 1-10 hours. If you're using any fresh thyme, insert it into the fish. Place on a grill or in a 350 oven and grill/roast until the skin is crispy and the insides remain juicy. Always make sure to baste the fish with the remaining marinade while it grills. If using an oven, grill until the fish is cooked; then broil for a few minutes to crisp the skin. When broiling make sure to crisp both sides; making sure to keep an eye on it to prevent burning. Once cooked, enjoy with potatoes and wilted spinach.
- Another thing you can do is broil the fish instead of grilling. This helps to cook and also really crisp the skin. Just make sure your fish is not too close to the broiler so as to prevent burning(I use this method a lot)
- blend all the ingredients into a rough paste. Boil to dry out the liquid until it forms a thick paste or pour through a fine mesh sieve to achieve this. Heat up some oil and pour the blended mix into it. Fry on low heat for a few minutes, add the crayfish and salt or bouillon. Fry while stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Once the oil floats to the top, set aside and enjoy as a topping for the fish. This fish sauce can also be used as a grill sauce too.