How To Cook Fish Stew In Nigeria

Table of Contents

How to Cook Fish Stew in Nigeria: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fish stew is a popular dish in Nigeria, especially among the coastal communities. It is a tasty and nutritious meal that is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed with a variety of sides such as rice, yam, plantain, and bread. In this article, we will show you how to cook fish stew in Nigeria, step-by-step.


To make a delicious fish stew, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 large fish (tilapia, catfish, or any firm white fish)
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger (optional)
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 habanero pepper (or to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Seasoning cubes (to taste)
  • Water (as needed)


Before you begin cooking, you need to prepare your ingredients. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Clean the fish thoroughly, remove the scales, and cut it into small pieces.
  2. Chop the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, habanero pepper, garlic, and ginger (if using) and set aside.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or saucepan over medium heat.

Cooking Process

Now that you have prepared your ingredients, it's time to start cooking. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Add the chopped onions to the heated oil and sauté until they become translucent.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and ginger (if using) and sauté for a minute or two until fragrant.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper flakes, and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the mixture becomes thick.
  4. Add the chopped bell peppers and habanero pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes until they are soft.
  5. Add the fish to the pot and stir gently to coat it with the tomato and pepper mixture. Add enough water to cover the fish.
  6. Season with salt and seasoning cubes, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the stew has thickened slightly.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  8. Serve hot with your choice of side.
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Tips for Making a Perfect Fish Stew

  • Use fresh fish for the best flavor and texture.
  • If you don't like spicy food, reduce the amount of pepper flakes and habanero pepper.
  • If the stew is too thick, add more water. If it's too thin, let it simmer for a few more minutes until it thickens.
  • You can add other vegetables such as carrots, celery, or potatoes if you like.
  • To make the stew more flavorful, you can add some chopped herbs such as parsley, basil, or cilantro.


Cooking fish stew in Nigeria is a simple and delicious way to enjoy seafood. With just a few ingredients and some basic cooking skills, you can make a hearty and flavorful meal that your family and friends will love. So why not give it a try?


Q1. Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones?
A1. Yes, you can use canned tomatoes if fresh ones are not available. However, fresh tomatoes will give the stew a more vibrant flavor and color.

Q2. Can I use any type of fish for the stew?
A2. Yes, you can use any type of fish that you like. However, firm white fish such as tilapia or catfish work best in this recipe.

Q3. Can I freeze leftover fish stew?
A3. Yes, you can freeze leftover fish stew in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Q4. Can I use other types of peppers instead of habanero?
A4. Yes, you can use any type of pepper that you like. However, habanero peppers are traditional in Nigerian fish stew and give it a unique flavor and heat.

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Q5. Can I make the stew in advance?
A5. Yes, you can make the stew in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it gently on the stove or microwave before serving.