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African Grilled Catfish

African Grilled Catfish – The process of smoking or drying fish eliminates moisture from the fish, adds flavor and helps in the preserving process. The dried fish turns out really tasty, it imparts a smoky flavor into anything you are cooking. So good!

African Dry fish

How to make dried, smoked or grilled Catfish.

Smoked fishGrilled Catfish, and Dry fish. These are the popular names that we call this fish. Almost any type of fish can be smoked especially the fatty fish because they are able to absorb more Drying your Catfish or any other fish, in general, does not only preserve the fish, it also heightens the flavor. Funny enough, many kids and a number of adults enjoy snacking on the smoked fish just as it is because it just goes so well with the mouth pallet, (my whole family and I are just as guilty 🤣) and this attitude calls for mothers to carefully keep this out of reach.

Keep in mind that this dried fish is entirely different from the slice-able smoked fish you get in groceries. This version is usually used in African cookery and it’s one of those must-use ingredients when making African indigenous soups, sauces, and stews like the native jollof rice, stewed spinach (Efo riro), okro soup and much more.

Living outside home has thought me a lot of things like replacing some indigenous herbs with the ones that are readily available here, another one is this dried fish. Dried fish can be found in almost any African market however, it may be a little hard to source and a bit expensive when living outside home. I need to drive over an hour to get my dry fish at the African store that is why I resorted to making it myself. It’s a labor love but it’s well worth it.

 

smoked catfish made over the hot charcoal grill.

A little bit of History about Dried Fish

Long before now, people in times past have always smoked fish over the hot grill using charcoal or firewood. The smoke and the residual heat that comes from it is the only requirement for smoking either fish or meat. The act of smoking was seen then, even until now, as a means of preservation other means of preservation include sun-drying and salting.
 
It’s just incredible the patience and commitment the generation before ours had into creating smoked fish and other delicacies. It makes one wonder, the kind of things they engaged in and how they reasoned into creating things and the transition from making use of the local grill to the industrial types of grill used presently. 
 

The best fish to smoke

It’s best to use fresh catfish for making dried fish. The choice of fish is quite diverse you could use mackerel, herring but in this case, I made use of catfish. Any fish will work. However, fattier fish will absorb more smoke flavor.

 

Ways to enjoy your Grilled Catfish

There are many different ways to enjoy smoked fish.
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Others are rice, beans

How to smoke Catfish 

1. Grilling (Open grill) –  This involves dry heat applied to the surface of the food by a traditional open fire. This uses firewood or charcoal as the source of heat

2. Kiln  –  A type of oven or furnace that produces temperatures sufficient for burning, baking, or drying. It uses either electricity, gas, wood or charcoal as the source of heat

Smoked Fish

How to clean fresh Catfish

The fish cleaning service is available at my local fish store so my fish butcher usually helps me out with cleaning my fish. However, you can see the step by step process on how to clean your catfish here.

 

I’ve made a new video to walk you through the step by step process on how to make Smoked Catfish, see below!

Notes:

  1. The whole process should start with Begin with fresh Catfish that are just out of the water. When you start with a stale fish, it will affect the final taste of your dry fish.
  2. Since this whole process is homemade, I like to pick out the smaller catfish because it cooks faster. The bigger ones take a longer time to cook and often time, it bursts open during the grilling process.
  3. The folding I was talking about, brings out the beauty of the fish and gives room for even smoking. Some also believe it makes all the water content in the fish come out during the smoking process. The goal here basically, is to dry the fish and store until when a recipe calls for it: Some even stalk more than a fish on a very long skewer. This is mostly done for commercial purposes, this also makes the flipping process easy.
  4. The process of making smoked fish requires very little heat about 250°F. More of the smoke is required than the fire. Therefore, it’s very important to keep the fire small, so the fish doesn’t get burnt. 
smoked catfish made over the hot charcoal grill.

Grilled Catfish

African Grilled Catfish – The process of smoking or drying fish eliminates moisture from the fish, adds flavor and helps in the preserving process. The dried fish turns out really tasty, it imparts a smoky flavor into anything you are cooking. So good!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: African, American, Global
Keyword: grilled catfish, grilled fish, homemade
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Servings: 5 Pieces
Calories: 1kcal
Author: Lola Osinkolu

Equipment

  • Grill
  • Skewers

Ingredients

  • 4 Pcs Catfish Fresh
  • Skewers
  • Palm Oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Get your grill started and let it stay at about 250F. A little charcoal at a time is advisable. (add more as needed)
  • Meanwhile, Prepare your fresh catfish by removing the gut and cleaning it thoroughly.
  • Rub a generous amount of salt inside and outside the fish.
  • Fold the fish into a circle and pass a skewer through the fish to secure the shape. (optional)
  • Set the fish on the grill, brush with a light coating of palm oil and leave to dry for 6 to 8 hours (checking every 2 hours) until well dried.

Notes

  1. The whole process should start with Begin with fresh Catfish that are just out of the water. When you start with a stale fish, it will affect the final taste of your dry fish.
  2. Since this whole process is homemade, I like to pick out the smaller catfish because it cooks faster. The bigger ones take a longer time to cook and often time, it bursts open during the grilling process.
  3. The folding I was talking about, brings out the beauty of the fish and gives room for even smoking. Some also believe it makes all the water content in the fish come out during the smoking process. The goal here basically, is to dry the fish and store until when a recipe calls for it: Some even stalk more than a fish on a very long skewer. This is mostly done for commercial purposes, this also makes the flipping process easy.
  4. The process of making smoked fish requires very little heat about 250°F. More of the smoke is required than the fire. Therefore, it’s very important to keep the fire small, so the fish doesn’t get burnt.

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcal | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg

Let’s Connect.

You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you!

If you make this African Grilled Catfish, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

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Recipe Rating




Katie

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

Great recipe! I’ve been searching for this since visiting Africa in 2002. Can I use catfish filets?

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 21st of October 2020

Yes, you can, Katie; however, you will need to reduce the baking length so that the fillets don't dry.

Iroh Bethel

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Thanks a lot ma'am for the recipe

Lola Osinkolu

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

You are welcome :)

Charles Arube

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

I will like to come for tutorials my name is Charles

Lola Osinkolu

Friday 7th of August 2020

Sorry Mr. Charles, I don't do physical classes.

OLADIRAN LAWOYE

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Thank you for your help and may GOD bless you. Please can you tell me where to buy the "Funneled closeable" grill or BBQ. Thanks in advance.

OLADIRAN LAWOYE

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Thank you for your help and may GOD bless you. Please can you tell me where to buy your "Funneled closeable" grill or BBQ. Thanks in advance.

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