Fish is a big part of the cuisine throughout many parts of Africa. However, the fish enjoyed in Africa does tend to be different from the fish commonly consumed in the U.S. If you have an African store with a fish section near you, it's worth checking out. Here are a few particular types of fish to buy and try.
Snoek is a species of mackerel poplar along the southern coast of Africa. In African stores, you may see snoek either canned or frozen, although, in Africa, it can be bought fresh. The dish itself is quite oily, which makes it a good source of unsaturated fatty acids. Its flesh is tender and moderately flaky. Snoek is delicious when grilled or baked.
Steenbras is another species found in estuaries along the south coast of Africa. The populations of these fish are decreasing in recent years, so it may be harder to find in an African store. If you do come across it, then it is worth a try. The fish is firm and tender, but not overly flavorful. So, it is typically covered in a mixture of curry spices in order to add flavor. Like tofu or chicken, it readily takes on any flavor you introduce to it.
As the national fish of South Africa, you can bet galjoen is easy to find in most African stores. Most of these fish are around 15 pounds. They have compressed bodies and well-defined fins. Galjoen is often prepared with lemon and pepper. Some prepare it with lemon, mayonnaise, and garlic. It cooks quickly and is typically pan-seared in Africa.
Geelbek is technically a kind of salmon that is native to the coast of Africa. Sometimes, it is called cape salmon. These large fish have oily flesh similar to the salmon you're probably more familiar with. However, the flesh is pale white, not pink. Geelbek can hold up to grilling and other "tougher" cooking methods. It's usually seasoned with a blend of spices. Some even use it to make seafood-based stir fry dishes or braises.
You have not truly experienced African cuisine until you've tried these fish! The next time you come across any of them in an African store, be sure to buy them up. Each fish is unique with a different flavor and element of African cooking. Stop by a local African-style store to find these fish to try.Share