Mpuh Fish- Steamed spicy fish in plantain flour paste, consisting of red bell pepper, onions, palm oil, and African spices.
This is one recipe, that I kept getting request after request -I just couldn’t hide from it. The truth is I have never made this until now. I only got an opportunity to try it out during a recent trip to my hometown. So I had to do some poking around and it was not easy.
Most traditional African dishes are hard to find on the Internet or cooking books, especially one that is frequently made by a small group of people or Tribe. So I had to seek out some help from a very dear friend of mine – Rachel, one of the best cooks I know. Unfortunately for me, she lives in another State. Sigh! Yes, disappointing to me because I don’t get to put my feet up very often when I visit friends and family – with her I get to do it.
When I gave birth to my son (sous chef) she came to visit and by the time she left my fridge was stocked with meals- not just a bowl or something, it was enough to feed an army for a month. You name it; she can whip it up- from everyday American meals to traditional African meals. She is my life Saver!!! And I am so honored to call her a friend. Rachel I appreciate you!!!
Ok, let’s get down to business, although this might seem like a time-consuming meal. It is however quite easy if you have your plantain flour ready. Then the rest is easy breezy.
Mbuh fish is a traditional plantain flour (mpuh) meal that is consumed in Cameroon, particularly in the South West Region of the Country. Nothing is more comforting like a meal you grew up eating when homesickness kicks in.
The basic spices are country onions, African nutmeg, and Njansa, hot pepper, salt and red oil. Palm oil is used to give it color; I threw in some red bell pepper and onion as well for extra flavor. This is just my on special touch to this meal. If you don’t have the traditional African condiments, you can use granulated garlic, ginger to spice things up.
All you need to do is blend all the spices in the food processor, blender or coffee grinder, add to the flour, mix, wrap and cook.
You can use any fish, you like for this, and I tried it with mackerel, red snapper and catfish and all worked fine. Be sure to salt the fish before placing in the plantain mixture.
By the way, use foil paper, parchment paper if you do not have plantain leaves or place in plantain leaves first and then completely wrap in foil paper, if you are not using a steamer. Or you can put in a an oven safe container, cover with foil and steam cook.
For homemade plantain flour check out this recipe here
Watch How To Make It
- 2-3 pounds fish steaks
- 2 tablespoons Njangsa spice
- 1 country onion spice
- 1 African nutmeg ehuru spice
- 1/3 green pepper
- ½ medium onions
- 2-3 tablespoons palm oil
- 1 tablespoon/1 large cube Bouillon powder or Maggi powder
- 1 habanero pepper adjust to taste.
- 2 cups or more water
- If using catfish ,pour hot water over the fish in the sink, let it sit for a minute, then rinse and clean the fish (this removes all the sliminess of the fish). Skip this if you using any other white fish. Set aside
- Using a food processor or blender, blend onions, bell pepper spices and pepper, until puree. You may use about ¼ cup or more water.
- In a bowl combine the mixture with plantain flour, bouillon powder, Palm oil and water. Mixture should be more like pancake barter.
- Finally add the fish and coat in mixture
- Cut the banana leaves into rectangles, remove any ugly edges, submerge them in water to clean and drain pat- dry. Use saran wrap if banana leaves are not available
- The leaves must be heated and wilted over an open high flame to make them flexible.
- Then, cut the aluminum into large squares/ rectangles and place a piece of the leaf / saran wrap on it. Repeat the process and set them aside
- Place one to two pieces of fish in on the leaf with enough plantain mixture
- Then quickly fold aluminum over it, and press sides into a rectangle shape making sure to press inwards so none of the Koki runs out.
- Then fold the sides in to seal twice. Repeat the process and set them
- Place the mbuh in the pot and steam.
- I usually Line the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven a small rack or just use foil paper. The mpuh should barely come in contact with the water so they don’t get soggy.
- Cook for about an hour and remove let it cool then serve warm
Tips & Notes:
- If you don’t have the traditional African condiments, you can use granulated garlic, ginger to spice things up.
- You can use any fish, you like for this, and I tried it with mackerel, red snapper and catfish and all worked fine. Be sure to salt the fish before placing in the plantain mixture.
- You can use foil paper, parchment paper if you do not have plantain leaves or place in plantain leaves first and then completely wrap in foil paper, if you are not using a steamer