Seafood Pilau

E. African Seafood Pilau

Pilau la Mboga Jamii ya Samaki

This is my favorite type of pilau. Seafood pilau does not have to use shellfish only. You can use regular fish like tilapia. Just be careful not to mash the fish when you are cooking. The best thing is to deep fry the fish first. Boneless fish is the best option.


  • 1½ cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1½ tbsp minced garlic
  • 1½ tbsp minced ginger
  • 1½ pilau masala
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb. (1/2 kg.) potatoes
  • 3½ cups plain fish stock (you can replace with water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil or more (to sauté onions)

Seafood Ingredients
Mussels, lobster, octopus and crabmeat is optional, feel free to replace with 1 ½ to 2 lb. (0.75 kg to 1 kg.) of prawns or shrimps

  • ½ lb prawns / large shrimps or a count of 10-12
  • ½ lb mussels with shell or a count of 10 – 12
  • 1 cups lobster tails, chopped chunks
  • 1 to 2 lb Octopus chopped chunks
  • 1 cup crabmeat

Clean seafood (except mussels). Marinade with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

  1. Clean and boil mussels until they open. Always boil more than required just in case if you need to throw away bad ones that would not open. Do not use mussels that are not open after boiling. Then separate mussels from water, and set aside.
  2. Heat oven at 300°F/150°C.
  3. In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and brown the potatoes, at medium heat, then remove the potatoes and set aside. Use more oil if needed.
  4. In the same pan, sauté onions until golden brown, then add garlic. Cook until garlic start to turn golden brown. Then add pilau masala and stir for a few seconds. Then add tomatoes and ginger. Lower heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Simmer until the tomatoes soften. Use a cooking spoon to press the tomatoes while cooking to soften them quickly.
  5. Add rice and potatoes. Stir for one minute, then add seafood and 2 cups of fish stock or water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the water is absorbed. Taste for salt.
  6. Add remaining fish stock or water and salt if needed, cover the pan with foil and continue to cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until the rice is soft. Alternatively, you can finish to cook on the stove, but there is a chance the rice may burn at the bottom of the pan. Add water as needed.
  7. Serve with kachumbari and any vegetable stew.
Salmon With Sweet & Sour Mango Chutney

Grilled Salmon With Sweet & Sour Mango Chutney

Chutneys known as Achali in Swahili add flavor to our food. There are many different types of chutneys in Tanzania, but we only use as condiments. My goal is to take the same recipes, add one or two ingredients and be able to serve almost the same recipe, but differently. Fresh mango chutney is easy to prepare yet it adds a unique flavor to any meal. I have added freshly pickled cucumbers to create a sour taste to this old Tanzania recipe. For authentic Swahili recipe, remove orange juice and cucumber.
Serve 4


    • 1.5 lb (700gm) Salmon, fresh and boneless (better if you leave skin on one side)
    • 2/3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
    • ½ tsp flesh ground black pepper

    • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • ½ cup finely chopped cucumbers (size of a pea)
    • 1 tsp salt

    • 1 ½ cup of finely chopped ripe mango (must be a very sweet mango)
    • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    • ½ – 1 tsp chopped hot peppers (increase or reduce quantity to your taste)
    • ¼ – ½ tsp salt

  • Vegetable oil


    1. Clean the salmon then pat dry and cut into four equal pieces. In a long dish, pour 2/3 cups of orange juice and ½ tsp black pepper. Mix well then; add salmon, skin side up, to make the marinade penetrate well in the fish. Refrigerate for 1 – 3 hours.

Salmon in marinade

  1. In a different small bowl, mix the second group of ingredients (1/2 cup lemon juice, ½ cup chopped cucumber, and 1 tsp salt). Set aside or refrigerate for 1 – 3 hours. You want the cucumbers to be pickled, 2 to 3 hours is better.
    Turn oven grill on high, or barbecue stove, or heat oil if you are frying. If you are frying, do not deep-fry; allow the oil to cover only half of the fish.
  2. Pre heat your oven by selecting grill (on highest settings). Then continue from step number 1 above. Remove the fish from the orange juice, pat with paper towel or a clean white cloth. Spray vegetable oil on a baking sheet (if broiling), and then grill for 15 minutes or more depends on your stove. If you are barbecuing or frying, then skip the spraying part and continue with your chosen way of cooking. Do not over cook, must stay moist inside. Remove and put on a serving dish. Set aside.
  3. Next continue with step number 2 above. Separate the cucumber from lemon juice. Do not squeeze the cucumber. Just separate and put the cucumber in a large serving bowl.
  4. Next you are going to use the third group of ingredients.
    In cucumber bowl, add mangoes, lemon juice, orange juice and hot peppers. Mix and while mixing, add salt a little bit at a time until you have enough to your taste.
  5. Serve the fish on individual plates then add sweet and sour mango pickle with its liquids on the fish.

I did post this recipe for the first time in 2016 at this website.