Malawian Ginger & Garlic Fried Fish

In my review of Bought, Borrowed & Stolen by Allegra McEvedy, you’ll see that my favourite aspects of the book were Allegra’s travel memories, and her introductions to her amazing collection of knives brought back from those travels.

We did make a recipe though, choosing her Malawian Ginger & Garlic Fried Fish.

Nsomba Zokazinga Ndi Ginja Komanso Anyezi

(Ginger & Garlic Fried Fish)


  • 50 grams ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 bird's eye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 5 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 portion-sized fish such as red bream, about 700 grams each once gutted and scaled
  • 750 ml light oil for frying
  • limes, to serve
  • salt & pepper


I bought Corsican bream, which were expensive, about £13.50 for two.
I omitted the chilles, for personal taste.
I substituted cider vinegar for white wine vinegar, as that’s what I had in stock.
I used considerably less oil for shallow frying.


  • In a blender, blitz up the ginger, chillies, garlic, spring onions, paprika and a teaspoon of salt with the groundnut oil and vinegar.
  • Make some deep diagonal cuts across both sides of each fish – about 5 cuts along each side.
  • Put about half a teaspoon of ginger paste into each slit and smear the rest on the skin and in the cavity.
  • Pour oil to the depth of about 1.5 centimetres into a frying pan large enough to hold both fish and shallow fry on medium high – the oil should be hot enough to make the fish fizzle when it goes in.
  • Fry the fish fast for about 5-6 minutes on each side until golden.
  • Serve straight away, with rice, salad and lime quarters.

We really enjoyed this simple dish, the flavours of the paste were balanced and full on yet didn’t overwhelm the beautiful fish. It was also very quick and simple to make.


Allegra McEvedy’s Bought, Borrowed & Stolen is published by Octopus, who provided a review copy to Kavey Eats. 

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
8 Comments to "Malawian Ginger & Garlic Fried Fish"

  1. Gourmet Chick

    What an interesting cook book – I love how the knives are the “hook” and the recipes sound really different as well. Popping it on the wish list!

  2. Shu Han

    Oh I so want that cookbook now! I study graphic design, so I'm appreciating this not only from a food-lover's point of view, but also from a graphics point of view. lovely recipe too, thanks for sharing, it quite reminds me of how my mum will do fish at home too!

  3. azélia

    Interesting to read your view on the photos Kavey. What was so off putting? The presentation of the dish or the actually “style” choice of photo, ie the gloss/light/angle/style of it?

  4. Kavey

    Azelia, they often made the food look unappetising… for sloppy dishes, the close ups just showed a mass of unpleasant colour. Many just made the food look dull and bland. It's hard to describe without showing you the book but… I was genuinely disappointed with the photos of the food.

  5. Snigdha

    I love Allegra McEvedy's food writing. Her recipes are always clear and simple. They are reliable and taste amazing. So I'm now itching to get my mitts on this book. Thanks, Kavey!

  6. Kit

    I tried this recipe with the only difference that I baked the fish rather than fry … Very good, mild, not at all over-powering. My guests also loved it and asked for the recipe! I also tried out another 'first-time' dish as a starter; seaweed salad with sesame seeds, spring onion, parsely, rice vinegar. To accompany the fish I made egg noodles with stir-fried veg with a bit of Chinese spice!!

  7. Kavey

    Hey Kit, my dear, so nice that you tried the recipe and thanks for the pic on FB! Your starter and sides sound so perfect, I bet they went together really nicely.


Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating