Braised Fish à la Douala – Overview

Not everyone braises fish in the same way but Ado reckons that there is the same basis. She says that braised fish is made in Douala (Cameroon) in all street corners and hers is simply the best because it is done ‘à la façon des Douala’. For example there are some recipes that add tomatoes but she just won’t but eh, braised fish is braised fish right? Enjoy!


  • 4 medium fishes such as soles or bars
  • 10 cl peanut oil
  • As many big red chilis as you can take
  • 3 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 branches of celeri and leeks
  • As much ginger as you can take
  • A handful of ndjansan
  • 4 pèbès
  • 4 bobimbis balls
  • salt and pepper to taste

Braised Fish – Instructions

Prepare the fish

You can use any four medium fishes such as soles or bars.

Scale the fishes, empty them from their inside

braised fish marinading 500In Africa , we always cut/notch the surface flesh to prepare it for absorbing the ingredients not just on the surface but deeper into the skin. However the notch needs not be ridiculously deep, it just needs to get half a centimetre into the flesh because once the ingredients touch the flesh they will be absorbed into the flesh in the immediate vicinity. Keep on one side while you prepare the marinade.

Prepare the marinade

Peel and grill the pèbè and the bobimbi, preferably directly onto the flame, or just in a very hot frying pan

Peel the onions and garlic and add them with the chili, celeri, leek, njansan, pèbè and bobimbi into a blender and mix to create a spicy paste.

Separate the paste in two parts. In one part of the paste, add salt and some of the oil and cover the entire fish with especially into the cuts. Leave the fish to marinate for 30 minutes. Note that this is fish and not meat and an overnight marinade is not recommended at all.

Put the rest of the oil in a frying pan and when warm, add the rest of the paste and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper and leave on the side as an accompaniment sauce.

Braise the fish on a barbecue or failing that in an oven and make sure you turn them over from time to time and that each time you cover them regularly with the first half of the paste.

Serve the fishes hot/warm with the accompaniment sauce. In Douala they are loved with cassava sticks, miondo being the Douala specialty, but you can have them with COngolese cassava stick specialty chikwanga or with bebobolo. Enjoy!