Tanganyika (Nile) Perch Baked in a Salt Jacket

Nile perch Lates niloticus in comaprison with ...

Nile Perch caught in Lake Tanganyika. Wikipedia

The Nile Perch, or ‘Captain’ as it is called here along Lake Tanganyika, is indigenous to a number of inland lakes of tropical Africa – and did not originate from the Nile.  It can grow to over 6 feet in length and over 400 lbs.- and has a voracious appetite, eating other fish (including its own species), insects, and – for the fingerlings – plankton.

Because of its predatory habits, it is considered a serious invasive fish and where it has been introduced (like Lake Victoria in central Africa) and Australia, it has systematically reduced the population of other species.

Common size here in Lake Tanganyika Source: 3tamis.org

The species has disappeared from northern Lake Tanganyika, along Burundi – both fished out and also the young fingerlings being caught in nets that are actually capturing ndagala, an indigenous fish that is similar to whitebait and that is very much-loved in Burundi..

Every week the Hotel orders a fresh Captain to be caught and brought up from the Tanzania shores of the lake to be cooked in the Sunday Buffet:

On the left, Nile Perch in the Hotel cold room, for Sunday buffet. The other fish will be cut up for brochettes and other dishes

Here is a delicious and visually interesting way to present this fish: Bake it in a blanket of salt.

How to do it:

  • Once thoroughly cleaned out, fill the inside with lots of garlic, onion, carrots, other vegetables to your liking, and lots of good olive oil
  • Also rub the outside of the fish generously with olive oil.
  • Do NOT remove the fishes scales! They help in the cooking process, maintaining the shape of the fish
  • Make a thick paste of coarse salt
  • Cover the fish carefully with a very thick layer of the salt paste, except for the end of the tail and the head
  • Bake in a moderate over, length of time depending on the size
  • Remember that once removed from the oven, it will continue to cook under the salt blanket

25 minutes and then out of the oven, to rest and cook a bit longer under the salt jacket

Let settle, and serve in your buffet

Blanketed fish arrives in the buffet

This is how thick the blanket should be; 'tough' enough not to break when raised

Blanket removed for serving

The taste is wonderful

N.B. This method also works with quite small fish, just adjust ingredients accordingly.

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-Central, Cuisine, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika2, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tanganyika (Nile) Perch Baked in a Salt Jacket

  1. Fabio COSTA says:

    I really doubt that the first upper 2 pictures are Tanganyika perch(lates angustifrons)…They are Nile perch(Lates niloticus) from lake Victoria or Lake Nasser…..I’ve been fishing 40 years on Tanganyika, and I can identify them easily….just comparing the tails and the eyes with the 3rd picture which are definatly tanganyika perch(L.Angustifrons)


    • dianabuja says:

      Fabio – Thanks for the correction; when searching for photos, the two above that you reference were said to be Tanganyika perch and when I now try to go back to those links, neither one works. Again, thank you for the correction.


  2. woooow supper big fish thank you admin for information


  3. maria says:

    oooooh, looks sooooooooo good!


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