Peel garlic and ginger then blend together with white pepper, half of the onion and half of the basil (if using).
Clean fish and cut into slices. Then sprinkle a little salt and rub a tablespoon of the spice blend in stage 1 all over the fish slices.
Allow to marinate for 30 minutes if possible or just grill(or fry) right away. To grill, grease a baking tray place fish slices on top and grill in a 350 degrees F OVEN (176 degrees C). To fry, heat half a litre of oil in a slightly deep pan on medium high. Then fry fish slices in.
Alternately, you could skip grilling or frying and place your uncooked fish slices in the tomato sauce to cook.
To make the tomato sauce: blend fresh tomatoes. Slice the other half of onion. Then heat one cup of oil in a pot over medium high heat and sauté the onions until tender. Next add in the blended tomatoes and fry until acidity is almost all lost. Add in tomato sauce or paste and fry for and additional five minutes, stirring all the time. Then add in the spice blend, curry powder and hot pepper (if using) and let them cook together for about two minutes.
Add a cup of water to the tomato sauce, salt to taste (about a teaspoon will do) and the seasoning cubes (Maggi). You could add more water here if you want your stew to be lighter.
Now put in all the fish slices and let that cook together with the stew for about 5 minutes. Let it cook for 5 more minutes if you put the fish in raw.
If you choose to use basil, which is absolutely to die for, this is the time to chop some and sprinkle over your stew.
Turn off the heat and enjoy with some boiled rice, plantains or white yam. This stew will taste even better the next day after the fish must have absorbed the flavours of the tomato sauce.
I made this fish stew with tilapia but you could use other kinds of fish like mackerel or croaker.