Prepare time: 20 min
Cook: 15 min
Ready in: 35 min

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


  • 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.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Sear the fish fillets on both sides and remove to a plate.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


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