Ways to prepare smoked catfish

Smoked catfish

Nigerian dry fish is a common feature in a lot of Nigerian meals. It is made by smoking various types of fish, there’s a wide variety of dry fish sold in Nigeria but this post will be mostly about smoked catfish which is one of the most popular ones found in the market.


We sell smoked catfish and other types of Nigerian dry fish in retail and wholesale quantities ,for purchase and delivery in Canada and U.S.A, Kindly click on the whatsapp link at the bottom of the page.

How to wash smoked catfish before cooking

  • Place the smoked catfish in a bowl.
  • Boil water, then pour the water into the bowl containing the fish. Make sure the water covers the fish in the bowl (you can salt to the water, it helps with making sure that any dirt sticking to the fish comes off)
  • Depending on how dry the fish is, you can leave it in the bowl for between 3-5 minutes. ( if you leave the fish in the water for too long, it will become too soft and also lose flavor).
  • Take out the fish from the water, pour out the water ( you most likely will notice the dirt from the fish in the water as you pour it out).
  • Rinse the fish again in cold water, If you don’t want it whole, you can break it open to remove the bones,insides and stick used to hold the fish together.
  • Rinse fish in cold water again ( If yo are not cooking the fish whole, try not to break the fish into pieces that are too small, chewing bite sizes of the fish is part of enjoying the meal you cooked with it).

Your smoked fish is ready to be used for soups and sauces!

* This method can be used to wash other types of smoked fish, in the case where the fish is not smoked too dry, don’t leave in the hot water at all, once you dip it in the hot water (with salt), drain off the water immediately. Then rinse in cold water .

smoked catfish

variety of dry fish – smoked catfish, mangala fish, smoked eja osan (asa fish).



How to cook with smoked catfish

There’s a distinct flavor smoked fish adds to Nigerian meals and how you build flavors when cooking determines how much flavor you enjoy in the finished meal. Here are ways you can cook with smoked catfish


How to identify fresh (and well dried) smoked catfish

  • Check out the smell; if it has a stale/ musty smell, its not fresh
  • If the color of the fish is too black all over, it is most likely burnt from smoking. Its best to buy smoked fish wit a bit of brown and black color.
  • Press your finger around the stomach; if its too soft , its either not dry enough or already spoiling.
  • If the skin of the fish looks too oily , like its been freshly rubbed with oil , it is possible the fish is no longer fresh and so was brushed with oil to make it look fresh ,in this case, be sure to check and be certain of freshness.


How to preserve smoked fish

Before storing, make sure the fish is well dried, you should also shake the fish to check for insects.

  • The best way to preserve is in the freezer , however there must be constant electricity supply for you to do this. Simply wrap up the fish in like 4 layers of newspaper or brown paper, tie it up in 2 or more polythene bags then keep in the freezer. It retains freshness till you are ready to use it.
  • You can also store by sun drying or oven drying once or twice a week ( depending on how the fish is).


How to make smoked fish sauce


  • Smoked catfish, crayfish, tomatoes, tatashe, rodo, yellow rodo (habernero- optional ),onions. vegetable oil, salt, seasoning cubes.

Method 1

  • Wash fish ( using above method),remove gills inside the head of the fish; be careful not to break the head of the fish.
  • Pour some water in a clean pot (not so much, say just enough to cover half the fish in the pot. Put fish inside pot, add in seasoning and steam at low heat. This is to allow seasoning infuse through fish.
  • Wash tomatoes, tatashe , rodo, onions and blend roughly in a blender.
  • Heat oil in a separate clean pot, pour in blended pepper mix and fry. Add in crayfish after 5-10 minutes.
  • Add in the stock gotten from boiled fish into pot containing pepper mix.
  • If sauce is still too thick, add some more water to it.
  • Check for taste and add in more seasoning if required.
  • Transfer fish into pepper sauce, cover the pot and swirl the pot so the sauce can reach all parts of the fish (do not stir).
  • Leave to simmer for a few more minutes so the flavor of the pepper sauce can sip through the fish properly.
  • Don’t leave to cook for too long (5-7 mintes should do), if sauce still needs to thicken after this time; take out the fish from it and leave it on heat to dry further.

Method 2

  • Wash fish (as described earlier in this post) and leave whole.
  • Wash tomatoes, rodo,tatashe and onions and blend roughly in a blender.
  • Boil blended pepper mix till it dries up.
  • Heat some oil in a separate pot , put boiled pepper mix in.
  • Add in seasoning and blended crayfish; let it fry.
  • Once the sauce is thick , add in some water ; put the fish whole inside the sauce, cover the pot , hold by the handles and swirl to allow the sauce touch all parts of the fish (do not stir so fish does not break into tiny pieces).
  • Check for taste and add in more seasoning if required.
  • When using this method, to allow fish absorb enough flavor from the pepper sauce, you can leave for a few more hours or overnight before warming and consuming.

Dry fish pepper sauce is ready to be served. I like to pair mine with white rice and fried plantain.

How to make dry fish peppersoup


  • Smoked catfish,Rodo / habernero, onions , scent leaves, seasoning cubes, salt, peppersoup spice.


  • Wash smoked catfish or any other dry fish (as described above in this post), leave fish whole.
  • Transfer washed fish into pot containing some water  ( make sure its not too much water, just enough to cover half of the fish in the pot), add in chopped onions, seasoning and blended fresh peppers( rodo and /or habernero)
  • Leave to boil at low temperature for 3-5 minutes .
  • Add in peppersoup spice, depending on the quantity of peppersoup you want to prepare.
  • Add in chopped scent leaves and more water; enough to cook the peppersoup for atleast another 10 minutes.

Smoked catfish peppersoup is ready to be served.



We sell smoked catfish and other types of Nigerian dry fish in retail and wholesale quantities ,for purchase and delivery in Canada and U.S.A, Kindly click on the whatsapp link at the bottom of the page.