Samaki Wa Kupaka

Mike Robinson gives us a glorious East-African recipe for grilled fish, cooked over charcoal and served with a sensational sauce
By Mike Robinson
Samaki Wa Kupaka
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus marinating
  • Effort: easy



  • 400 g whole flat fish, descaled
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 limes

For the Kapuka sauce:

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200 g tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 150 ml coconut cream
  • black pepper


1. Carefully trim the tails and fins from the fish and discard them. Make several slashes in the flesh to allow the flavours of the marinade to be well absorbed.

2. Mix the garlic, ginger, salt, oil and lime together. Rub this mixture into the slashed flesh and stomach cavity. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the Kupaka Sauce. Place the tomato puree, onion, tomatoes and spices into a food processor and blend to a paste.

4. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the paste to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes over a low heat, stirring all the time to stop the mixture sticking and burning.

5. Add the chillies and simmer for 10 minutes. If the mixture becomes too dry, add a little of the tamarind paste and coconut cream.

6. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the remaining tamarind paste and coconut cream and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Meanwhile, grill the marinated fish over the charcoal barbecue, basting regularly, until cooked through. Serve immediately, with the Kapuka sauce, some plain boiled rice and coconut spinach.

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