Perfect Matemba (Kapenta) Recipe

For one reason or the other, Matemba is currently one of my favorite foods. I know, it’s difficult for some people to understand. I tell them that I would rather have Kapenta than chicken and they look at me like I have lost my mind. However, I do love Matemba. Perhaps it’s my body showing cravings for some nutrient. Anyway, Matemba has long had a chequered history on Zimbabwean menus. As children, we hated those small, open eyed fish. Even today, Kapenta with Sadza is probably not the most favored meal among children. But for me personally, I can’t get enough of Matemba. Here, in any case, is a quick Matemba recipe;

How to Cook Kapenta

The reason I love Kapenta today is because I know how to cook them to perfection. If you don’t prepare them right, you will definitely hate Matemba. Below is a quick matemba recipe;

  • Pour a cup of water into a pan and bring it to boil.
  • When the water is boiling, take your Matemba/kapenta and place it into the water.
  • Leave on the stove for 3 minutes with the water continuing to boil.
  • After 3 minutes, remove from the stove and drain the water.
  • Now, in another pan, pour in some cooking oil. Put in enough to your liking.
  • Place pan on stove and when pan oil is heated, put in the boiled Kapenta
  • Fry the Kapenta till crisp.
  • Feel free to add spices.
  • Don’t add salt.

The Secret to Cooking Perfect Matemba

The secret to cooking perfect Matemba lies in the fact that, after harvesting, Kapenta gets dried in salt. So, what you need to do is first remove the salt. Otherwise, your Matemba is going to come out unpalatable. That is why it’s imperative to first boil the Kapenta in water for some minutes to remove the salt and bitterness. Also, you are going to be left with enough salt in there that you won’t need to add any more.

You will notice that the recipe that I gave above is for fried Kapenta. If you want, you can then add tomatoes and onions after the frying. I love my Kapenta crisp and “unedited,” so to speak. I often enjoy them at breakfast. Matemba makes a perfect companion for bread when drinking tea. If you love kapenta with Sadza, you will love Kapenta at breakfast! Note that this recipe is for dried Kapenta. If you wish to know how to cook fresh Kapenta, then leave a comment below.

Anyway, feel free to leave a comment below if you have anything to say! I love to hear from you! Also check out my quick chimodho recipe!

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