How To Cook Fish In Kenya

In the world of Kenyan cuisine, where fish plays a significant role in traditional and fusion dishes.

In this article, we will explore the diverse cooking techniques used to prepare fish in Kenya. Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply curious about Kenyan flavors, get ready for a culinary adventure. And if you’re looking to source fresh and high-quality Tilapia fish in Nairobi, Nature Kart, the leading online fish shop, has got you covered.

I. Selecting Fresh Fish in Kenya: Before diving into the cooking process, it’s crucial to select the freshest fish available. Nairobi is home to numerous fish markets, and Nature Kart ensures a reliable supply of fresh fish to your doorstep. Look for vibrant eyes, shiny scales, and firm flesh as signs of freshness. Popular fish varieties in Kenya include tilapia, Nile perch, and catfish, each offering its unique flavor and texture.

Traditional Kenyan Fish Recipes

Fish Choma:

Grilled Fish: Grilling fish is a beloved method in Kenya, producing smoky and succulent results. Start by marinating the fish with a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and spices. Allow the flavors to infuse for at least an hour. Then, grill the fish over medium heat, turning it occasionally until it’s cooked through and has a delightful char. Nature Kart offers a variety of fish species suitable for grilling, ensuring a delicious experience.


  • Fresh fish (tilapia, red snapper, Nile perch, or other firm-fleshed varieties)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • Assorted spices (such as paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt)
  • Fresh herbs (optional, for garnish)
  • Cooking oil (for grilling)


Step 1: Prepare the marinade
  • In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, and a generous amount of spices. Mix well to create a flavorful marinade.
  • Taste the marinade and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Add more spices or lemon juice if desired.
Step 2: Marinate the fish
  • Place the fish in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag.
  • Pour the marinade over the fish, ensuring it is evenly coated on both sides.
  • Gently massage the marinade into the fish, making sure it penetrates the flesh.
  • Cover the dish or seal the bag, and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to infuse.
Step 3: Preheat the grill
  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. This will ensure even cooking and prevent the fish from sticking to the grill.
Step 4: Prepare the fish for grilling
  • Remove the fish from the marinade and let any excess marinade drip off.
  • Lightly brush the fish with some cooking oil to prevent it from sticking to the grill.
Step 5: Grill the fish
  • Carefully place the fish on the preheated grill, ensuring it is not overcrowded.
  • Close the grill and cook the fish for several minutes on each side.
  • Use a spatula or tongs to carefully flip the fish, making sure it doesn’t break apart.
  • Continue grilling and turning the fish until it is cooked through and has a delightful char. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish fillets.
Step 6: Serve and garnish
  • Once the fish is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and transfer it to a serving platter.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, such as chopped cilantro or parsley, for added freshness and visual appeal.
  • Serve the Fish Choma hot, accompanied by sukuma wiki (collard greens), kachumbari (tomato and onion salad), and ugali (cornmeal dish) for a complete Kenyan dining experience.

Enjoy the smoky and succulent flavors of the Fish Choma, savoring each bite of the perfectly grilled fish infused with the tantalizing blend of spices and marinade.

Fish Stew (Mchuzi wa Samaki):

Fish stew, a staple in Kenyan households, combines fish with a flavorful tomato-based sauce. Heat oil in a pan, sauté onions, garlic, and spices, then add diced tomatoes and simmer until a thick sauce forms. Gently place the fish in the stew and let it cook until tender. Nature Kart’s fresh fish selection is ideal for creating a hearty and satisfying fish stew.


  • Fresh fish (tilapia, red snapper, catfish, or your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish


Step 1: Sauté the onions and garlic
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent and slightly golden.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
Step 2: Add the spices
  • Sprinkle turmeric, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using) over the onions and garlic.
  • Stir well to coat the onions and garlic with the spices, allowing them to toast and release their flavors.
Step 3: Simmer with diced tomatoes
  • Add the diced tomatoes to the pan, along with a pinch of salt to help the tomatoes release their juices.
  • Stir the mixture and bring it to a gentle simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce cook, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, or until it thickens and the flavors meld together. Stir occasionally.
Step 4: Prepare the fish
  • While the sauce is simmering, prepare the fish by cleaning and patting it dry with paper towels.
  • Cut the fish into manageable-sized pieces, such as fillets or chunks.
Step 5: Cook the fish in the stew
  • Gently place the fish pieces into the simmering sauce, making sure they are submerged in the sauce.
  • Cover the pan and let the fish cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
Step 6: Garnish and serve
  • Once the fish is cooked, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Sprinkle fresh cilantro or parsley over the fish stew for a burst of freshness and added visual appeal.
  • Serve the Fish Stew (Mchuzi wa Samaki) hot with steamed rice, chapati, or ugali, allowing the flavors to meld and the fish to be enjoyed in the rich tomato-based sauce.

Enjoy the comforting and flavorful Fish Stew, savoring each spoonful of tender fish immersed in the vibrant tomato sauce. This Kenyan delight, made with Nature Kart’s fresh fish selection, showcases the richness and heartwarming essence of Kenyan cuisine.

Fried Fish (Samaki Wa Kukaanga):

Fried Fish, known as Samaki Wa Kukaanga, is a beloved dish that delights taste buds with its crispy and golden exterior. This cooking method brings out the natural flavors of the fish while creating a delightful crunch that is hard to resist.

To prepare this mouthwatering dish, follow these step-by-step instructions:


  • Fresh fish (tilapia, red snapper, catfish, or your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Assorted spices (such as paprika, garlic powder, or any preferred spices)
  • Flour or breadcrumbs for coating
  • Cooking oil for frying


Step 1: Season the fish
  • Start by seasoning the fish with salt, pepper, and your preferred spices. This enhances the flavor profile of the fish and adds depth to each bite. Adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences.
Step 2: Coat the fish
  • Prepare a coating mixture by placing flour or breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. The choice between flour or breadcrumbs depends on personal preference.
  • Roll each piece of seasoned fish in the flour or breadcrumb mixture, ensuring an even and light coating. This helps create a crispy texture when fried.
Step 3: Heat the oil
  • In a deep pan or skillet, heat cooking oil over medium-high heat. Use enough oil to fully submerge the fish pieces during frying.
Step 4: Fry the fish
  • Once the oil is hot, carefully place the coated fish into the pan, ensuring not to overcrowd it. Fry in batches if necessary.
  • Allow the fish to fry on one side until it turns golden brown and crispy. This usually takes a few minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to gently flip the fish to the other side.
  • Continue frying until both sides are golden brown and the fish is cooked through. The fish should be flaky and tender on the inside.
Step 5: Drain and serve
  • Once the fish is cooked to perfection, use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove it from the pan, allowing any excess oil to drain.
  • Place the fried fish on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any remaining oil.
  • Serve the Fried Fish (Samaki Wa Kukaanga) hot, accompanied by a side of freshly squeezed lemon wedges, tartar sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Nature Kart offers a range of fish sizes to suit your preference for fried fish. Their selection guarantees freshness, ensuring that each bite of the fried fish delivers a delightful crunch and bursts with flavor.

Whether it’s a special occasion or a simple family meal, Fried Fish is a versatile and satisfying dish that can be enjoyed alongside a variety of side dishes. Serve it with a refreshing salad, steamed vegetables, fries, or a mound of fluffy rice for a complete and delightful meal.

Indulge in the crispy and golden goodness of Fried Fish, and let the flavors of Nature Kart’s fresh fish selection shine through.

Steamed Fish (Samaki wa Kupika):

Steamed Fish, known as Samaki wa Kupika, is a delightful and healthy way to enjoy the natural flavors and tenderness of fish. By steaming, the fish retains its moisture and nutritional value, resulting in a light and delicate dish. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing Steamed Fish:


  • Fresh fish (tilapia, red snapper, catfish, or your choice)
  • Assorted spices (such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, or any preferred spices)
  • Fresh herbs (such as cilantro or parsley)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Banana leaves or a steaming rack
  • Lemon wedges (optional, for serving)
  • Steamed vegetables or a tangy sauce (for serving)


Step 1: Prepare the fish
  • Clean and scale the fish thoroughly, removing any impurities. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Make a few diagonal cuts on both sides of the fish. This helps the flavors penetrate and ensures even cooking.
Step 2: Season the fish
  • Rub the fish inside and out with spices, herbs, salt, and pepper. Feel free to customize the seasoning based on your preferences.
  • Allow the fish to marinate for about 15-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse.
Step 3: Set up the steaming apparatus
  • If using banana leaves, line a steaming basket or a shallow pan with the leaves. The leaves add a subtle aroma and prevent the fish from sticking.
  • If using a steaming rack, place it over a pot or a wok filled with a small amount of water.
Step 4: Steam the fish
  • Carefully place the seasoned fish on the prepared steaming rack or banana leaves.
  • Cover the pot or wok with a lid to create a sealed environment for steaming.
  • Steam the fish over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the fish.
  • To check for doneness, gently insert a fork into the thickest part of the fish. If it easily flakes and the flesh is opaque, the fish is cooked.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy
  • Carefully transfer the steamed fish to a serving platter or individual plates.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, such as chopped cilantro or parsley, for added freshness and visual appeal.
  • Serve the Steamed Fish hot, accompanied by lemon wedges on the side for a touch of tanginess.
  • Pair the fish with steamed vegetables or a tangy sauce of your choice to complete the meal.

Nature Kart’s selection of fresh fish ensures that your Steamed Fish dish is of the highest quality, with the fish retaining its natural flavors and tenderness throughout the steaming process.

Indulge in the healthy and flavorful experience of Steamed Fish, celebrating the simplicity and purity of this cooking method. Nature Kart’s fresh fish selection allows you to create a delightful and nutritious dish that will please your taste buds and nourish your body.

Fusion Fish Recipes

Coconut Fish Curry:

Infuse Kenyan and coastal influences by preparing a flavorful coconut fish curry. Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in oil, then add spices and coconut milk. Let the flavors meld before adding the fish to the curry. Simmer until the fish is cooked and tender. Serve this aromatic dish with steamed rice or chapati for a satisfying meal. Nature Kart’s range of fish varieties ensures you have the right fish for this fusion creation.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Kenyan Salsa:

Combine Mexican and Kenyan flavors in grilled fish tacos. Marinate the fish in lime juice, garlic, and spices before grilling it to perfection. Prepare a vibrant Kenyan salsa using diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Fill the tortillas with the grilled fish and top with the Kenyan salsa for a delightful fusion feast. Nature Kart’s high-quality fish is perfect for creating these mouthwatering tacos.

Oven-Baked Fish with Sukuma Wiki:

For a modern twist, try oven-baking fish and pairing it with Sukuma Wiki, a popular Kenyan green vegetable. Season the fish with herbs, spices, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake it in the oven until it’s cooked through and flaky. Serve the oven-baked fish with sautéed Sukuma Wiki for a wholesome and flavorsome dish. Nature Kart’s fresh fish selection ensures you have the best ingredients for this fusion recipe.

Sustainability and Responsible Fishing in Kenya

Nature Kart is committed to sustainability and responsible fishing practices. They collaborate with local fishermen who follow sustainable fishing methods that prioritize the well-being of aquatic ecosystems. By supporting Nature Kart, you contribute to preserving the environment and ensuring a future for the fish population in Kenya.


Embark on a culinary adventure in Kenya by exploring the diverse ways to cook fish. Whether you’re indulging in traditional Kenyan recipes or experimenting with fusion creations, Nature Kart is your go-to online fish store in Nairobi. Selecting fresh fish, following traditional cooking techniques, and incorporating fusion flavors will help you create unforgettable fish dishes that celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Kenya. Enjoy the journey, tantalize your taste buds, and support sustainable fishing practices through Nature Kart.