International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Mtuzi wa Samaki

Coconut fish curry

(East African fish in coconut curry)

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Average: 4 (27 votes)

Mtuzi wa samaki is a tasty fish curry dish that originated on the tiny island of Zanzibar. The presence of Indian-style curries in Zanzibar's cuisine is evidence of its history as a crossroads of trade. Over time, mtuzi wa samaki has become popular throughout the coastal region of East Africa.

4 to 6 servings


  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Fish filets, any kind, cut into serving portions -- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Onion, chopped or sliced -- 1
  • Red or green bell peppers, chopped or sliced -- 2
  • Garlic, minced -- 6 to 8 cloves
  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 1 cup
  • Coconut milk -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Garam masala or curry powder -- 2 to 3 teaspoons
  • Tamarind paste or lemon juice -- 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet or pot. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Sear the fish fillets on both sides and remove to a plate.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and peppers. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 1 or  2 minutes more.
  3. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, garam masala or curry powder, tamarind paste or lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the fish fillets, cover and continue to simmer until the fish is cooked through, from 5 to 8 minutes more. Serve with rice, ugali, boiled potatoes, boiled cassava or chapati.

Mtuzi wa Samaki Variations

  • Mtuzi wa Kamba (Shrimp in coconut curry): Substitute shrimp for the fish. There is no need to sear the shrimp initially.


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