The lady that always does my braids, Sarah, she would encourage me to try out the food from her hometownZimbabwe. I asked her to bring me some Matembas and she did…..
Matemba are very small dried fish from Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. They are a good and a reasonably priced source of protein. Zimbabweans serve them with Sadza (pap) and veggies. One needs to soak the fish in warm water before cooking to remove some of the salt. Some suggest soaking it twice. If soaked in boiling water the fish becomes mushy.
After soaking, Matemba are usually cooked with an onion and tomato. Some people add peanut butter and call this dish Matemba ane Dovi. Another way of preparing them is by coating them with flour and then fry them. The coated and fried Matemba are served as snack.
In South Africa, they are available at the township markets e.g. SwaziInn, Tembisa. I’ve also seen them at African food shops (I’ve seen them in one shop at Golden Acre), taxi ranks e.g. Belville station.
Matemba and Beans On a Portuguese Roll Served with Rocket Leaves
Serves: 3- 4
250ml (1cup) Kapenta / Matemba
15ml (1Tbsp) olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ half a green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
5ml (1tsp) medium curry powder
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
125ml (½ cup) beans in tomato sauce
2 – 3 Tbsp tomato paste
30ml (2Tbsp) chutney
100ml boiling water
- Soak Matemba in warm water (not boiling) twice.
- Heat oil and cook onion until golden brown.
- Add green pepper, garlic, curry powder and continue cooking for another two minutes.
- Add tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, chutney and water. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes or until Matembas are soft.