Fish caldine (Ghana)

A traditional boat is a big part of Green Turtle Lodge’s bar and restaurant

Recipes from Ghana, 26pp.
by the staff of Calabash Kitchen
Green Turtle Lodge, Cape Coast, no date
Cooking on page 16

A few years ago, we camped for two glorious nights at Green Turtle Lodge on the picturesque coast of western Ghana. What a great place—an eco-lodge with a dazzling beach, and open-air showers, restaurant and bar. Never mind that I had to do a lot of hand laundry, and the truck got stuck on arrival.

The lodge’s restaurant—called Calabash Kitchen—serves a short menu of tasty Ghanaian specialities and dishes that make the most of the fresh and interesting local ingredients. The kitchen itself is mostly open-air and overlooks the beach. I’m still kicking myself that I never barged in to get a pic.

So you’ll have to settle for a recipe from the el-cheapo, photocopied, paperback cookbook they sold. I was pleased to know that part of the sale price goes to the local Community Fund. The book is short—only 26 pages—so I had to cook from page 16.

Fish caldine (Ghana)

4 fillets Kingfish, or any white fish, cut into chunks
400ml coconut milk
150ml water
4 tbsp lime juice
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
5 green chillies, sliced and seeded
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes. Mix all the spices together, add this to the pan and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, water, salt and most of the chillies. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a little more oil in another pan. Add the chunks of fish, stirring to avoid sticking, and cook just until the pieces turn opaque. Add this fish to the simmering coconut sauce and cook for 3–5 minutes. Stir in the remaining chillies and serve with rice.

How it played out
Kingfish is common in Africa, but not in Australia, so I used about 700 grams of basa fillets. I made two other changes. I divided the oil—using 2 tablespoons to fry the onion, garlic and ginger, and 2 for the fish chunks—and used only three chillies that I didn’t deseed. I garnished it with chopped coriander and served with rice.

My heartfelt thanks to Gifty, Milly, Naomi, Felicia and Mavis—the cooks of Calabash Kitchen and creators of this fantastic recipe. This easy-to-make and delicious dish is full of wonderful, lifelong memories. I will make it often, and let myself do a bit of daydreaming and time travel.

P.S. I shared a pic of the bar/restaurant rather than a pic of the tatty cookbook.


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
This entry was posted in Fish and seafood, Main dish, Stew/soup and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Fish caldine (Ghana)

  1. mickeydownunder1 says:

    G’day and thanks for sharing! Sometimes it is in the simplist dishes that remind us of the most wonderful traveling memories! Glad you share this one too!

  2. skippersy says:

    Hello LeggyPeggy,

    I had never made a dish from Africa, so I looked forward to making this one. It was easy to make, wholesome and tasty! And since I like curry type dishes, it hit the spot. I used Tilapia fish and dry coconut powder (in warm water)… I would rate this dish 4 stars… and adding some more curry spices would be ideal for my taste. Thanks for sharing…

    Metro NYC

    • leggypeggy says:

      Hello Skipper/Sy
      I’m thrilled that you tried and liked this Ghanaian dish. I too like dishes with a bit more heat, but on first making, I am trying to be reasonably faithful to what the page-32 recipe says. I have more African cookbooks, so please stay tuned.

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  6. Sheryl says:

    I made the Fish Caldine for dinner tonight. It was wonderful–with just the right amount of heat for us. My husband said that I should make it again the next time we have guests over.

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