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This fish is coated with an epic insanely good sweet and spicy sauce. Peppered fish is a must make! This is a hit at African parties.

I don’t think I’ve been as excited about any recipe as I am with this one. I have been meaning to share this peppered fish on the blog for a while now. But what my friend said some days ago made me hasten up and post it.

Being a Cameroonian geh like me, she had never had peppered fish, a Nigerian fish dish, which is mostly served at parties. So she tried it for the first time at an occasion in her church and she was in love. Like in mad love!

She told me she ate it so much at the occasion that she became ashamed. Ha. Now the best part is someone at the occasion introduced her to a kind of fish which is was used to make the peppered fish that stole my friend’s heart. It is called, “Pacific Whiting”. After trying Pacific Whiting, in her home my friend totally loved it. And she brought a whole box for me to try too. Yes to friends who share awesome food-related discoveries!

So the fish used here is Pacific Whiting also known as Hake. You can look for it just about anywhere fish is sold. However, if you can’t find it any white fish will do. Preferably, the fish should be slim so the insanely good spicy tomato sauce penetrates every nook and cranny of the fish.

How to make Nigerian peppered fish.

This is my take on the Nigerian peppered fish. The fish is sweet and spicy, drenched in an epic sauce. I love having this with some fried ripe plantains or french fries on the side. This is a great appetizer you can serve guests, serve at parties or just make to enjoy at home.

How to Make Nigerian Peppered Fish

Step 1: Cut fish into about 3-4 slices per fish and rinse thoroughly. Season with salt, garlic powder, ginger powder and onion powder.

Seasoned fish for Nigerian peppered fish.

Step 2: Deep fry the fish until done.

Fried fish for Nigerian peppered fish

Step 3: Make a sauce with red bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and white pepper. Then mix the fish in that epic sauce and let it sizzle.

Peppered Fish Recipe

That’s all. Enjoy as it is or with any side you like or as it is! I have served it here with an easy coconut rice (recipe coming tomorrow!). But I also like it with fried potatoes, fried plantains or really just the way it is!

Nigerian Peppered Fish - Fish in Tomato Sauce

I am sharing this recipe on the first day of November which also means only 2 months to the end of 2017. Here’s wishing you a happy new month and an amazing end of year. Rock on, lovelies!

Nigerian Peppered Fish recipe

Peppered Fish

5 from 7 votes
This fish is coated with an epic insanely good sweet and spicy sauce.  Peppered fish is a must make! This is a hit at African parties but no need to wait for a party before making this. You should totally make this and enjoy at home.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 10 servings


  • 2 pounds whole Hake fish or any fish of choice - about 1 kg see note 2*
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 habaneros (hot peppers)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 stem green onion
  • 5 garlic cloves - peeled
  • 1/2 inch ginger root - peeled
  • 2 small seasoning/stock cubes - Maggi about 4g per cube
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup oil
  • Oil for deep frying fish

Dried spices for seasoning fish

  • Half teaspoon garlic powder
  • Half teaspoon ginger powder
  • Half teaspoon onion powder


  • Cut fish into 3-4 slices each. Wash thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Season fish with half a teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, ginger powder and onion powder. Mix well to coat and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large pot or wok. Deep fry the fish until golden brown on each side. Be sure to flip when one side gets brown so the fish is evenly cooked. Cook fish in oil for about 8 minutes (about 4 minutes on each side) then remove and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • In a blender, put in tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and green onions. Blend into a puree.
  • Pour one cup of oil into another pot. Let it heat up on high for about 5 minutes then pour in puree. Let it cook for about 10 minutes until the pepper/tomato sauce shrinks and starts sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add in half a teaspoon of salt, Maggi and ground white pepper. Stir well.
  • Add in fried fish and stir to ensure the sauce properly coats the fish. Let it simmer together for about 3 minutes then turn off the heat.
  • Enjoy warm!


1. To make your tomato sauce less spicy (hot), use only 1 habanero (hot pepper).
2. If you do not like fish cooked with bones in, substitute the whole fish used in this recipe with fish fillets.
3. To make the fish extra tasty, season the fish and keep overnight in the refrigerator to marinade before frying. 


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 495mg | Potassium: 535mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: African
Calories: 286
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

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About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at

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  1. In Nigeria, we call this fish, “Stockfish” and it’s available in fresh or dry variations. I love your peppered fish recipe; it looks totally delicious. That kind of meal can make someone mistakenly chew of his/her fingers. Is there any way to bake this fish for those who don’t like fried foods?

  2. Hello!! I am new to cooking African food, so I have a few questions! What type of oil would you suggest? Is the oil you put the purée in meant to be separated? Also curious about the coconut rice, but unsure if you would use coconut water or shredded coconut to make? Sorry for all the questions!! This dish looks great and I’m about to start collecting ingredients ☺️

    1. Hi, Nastassia, for the fish you could use vegetable oil. No, the oil in the puree is not meant to be separated. Also, you need coconut milk not coconut water for the coconut rice. Hope this answers your questions!

  3. Hi Precious,
    My coworker just recently got married and her husband has been asking for fried fish.
    Although I can make my own, I make a lot of unconventional substitutions (as taught by my mother).
    So I’m really glad I came across your recipe. It is really easy to follow. Thank you
    Bonus: hake is one of the few fish that is plentiful and affordable in South Africa.

    1. Hi Ann, Maggi is the brand name of a particular kind of stock cubes. Any 4g stock cubes will work in this recipe. You could also substitute 1 stock cube with 1 teaspoon of bouillon powder. Hope this helps.

  4. Really enjoying the recipes. Questions on the oils used.
    What kind of oil – step 3 and step 5.

    3.Heat oil in a large pot or wok. Deep fry the fish until golden brown on each side.
    5.Pour one cup of oil into another pot. Let it heat up on high for about 5 minutes then pour in puree.

    1. Hi Brian,
      You can really use any kind of oil. Vegetable oil, canola oil and corn oil are great options. Hope you enjoy the recipe!