We are in a second lockdown in Rwanda, and I am close to losing my mind. The only consolation I have is food, not just eating but making it. I am experimenting with spices and herbs, and the smell in the kitchen gives me inexplicable joy. I have tried multiple dishes, from east African to Asian dishes, and every time I eat my food, I marvel at the works of my hands. Exploring with spices is my favourite thing because I discover different flavours and textures each time I try.

Last Sunday I had some fish in the fridge and decided to make a coconut curry with the recipe below:
I first marinated the fish fillet for an hour with
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cardamom
½ teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of dried thyme (fresh thyme is preferable, but I didn’t have any)
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste.

Looks delicious. Images by Natacha Umutoni

If you do not have all these ingredients, you can use the fish masala which is a blend of most of these spices. I mixed these in a bowl and set them aside in the fridge. After an hour, I simmered the fish in oil for 3-5 minutes until it is no longer sticky on the pan, then I set it aside and proceeded to make the curry. For the curry, I used;
1 red onion
1 green bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic
4 tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup of coconut milk

In oil, I mixed the bell peppers with onions until it changed its colours then added in some garlic. I then added in the tomatoes that I had blended with garlic; I prefer to do this because it makes the tomatoes’ cooking so easy and faster. I added the tomato paste, and after a few minutes, I added one cup of coconut milk. I then added the fish in the pot and let it cook for 10-15 minutes to make a thick curry. The smell of the flavours was to die for, and it tasted heavenly. I served the fish with rice and sautéed broccoli, but you can also eat it with mashed potatoes or ugali/fufu.

How about you? What have you been experimenting with in the kitchen?