Stewed Kapenta (Matemba) with Sadza | Zimbabwean/Zambian

Stewed Kapenta (Matemba) with Sadza | Zimbabwean/Zambian

Kapenta (or matemba as it is locally pronounced) is a beautiful fish that is eaten almost exclusively in the African regions of Zimbabwe and Zambia due to the large fisheries that harvest them in the nearby Lake Kariba.

Traditionally, before cooking the kapenta is dried in the sun on a rack over the course of a day and, because of this, it is able to be kept for long periods without refrigeration and provides an important source of protein to locals.

Kapenta is therefore a very common ingredient for Zimbabweans and Zambians, and this stewed kapenta recipe is the epitome of the type of traditional cuisine eaten across the country.

The kapenta is often served with sadza which is made out of ground maize, but you can also serve kapenta stew with rice.

How to cook Zimbabwean Stewed Kapenta (Matemba) with Sadza

Serves: 4


  • Died kapenta fish – 1lb
  • Large onion – 1
  • Large tomato – 1
  • Garlic cloves – 4
  • Groundnut powder – 1 tbsp
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare a large pot of boiling water and place in your kapenta, boil for 15 minutes.
  2. After 15 minutes, remove your kapenta, pat it dry and then chop into thin chunks ready for frying.
  3. Finely chop your onion and garlic, and add to a hot frying pan of olive oil, cook until browned.
  4. Finely chop the tomato and add to the pan along with salt, pepper, groundnut powder and a 1/2 cup of water.
  5. Add your kapenta to the pan, making sure to immerse it in the sauce. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring half way through.
  6. Take your fish stew off the heat and leave to rest for 2 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  7. Your stewed kapenta is now ready to eat, serve with sadza or boiled rice.
  8. Enjoy!
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