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African-Style Fried Catfish


African-style marinated catfish

African-style marinated catfish

Holly A. Heyser
There's a reason there are so many recipes for fried catfish; it's just so yummy! This is an African take on fried catfish inspired by chef Marcus Samuelsson's "The Soul of a New Cuisine." The key is to marinate the fish in the gingery paste first, then fry in hot oil -- the marinade makes the difference. This recipe is designed for 4, but can be doubled.


  • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 1 t. cayenne
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 3 T. chopped peanuts
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4-inch piece of ginger, grated or chopped very fine
  • Salt
  • 4-6 skinless catfish fillets
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 T. cayenne


Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot, about 2-3 minutes, then saute the garlic, peanuts, ground ginger, turmeric, coriander and cayenne for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

Move this to a food processor, and add the lemon juice and buzz to combine. Add the grated ginger and a little salt, then buzz just to combine, maybe 10 seconds or so. This is your marinade.

Slice the catfish fillets into thirds and salt well. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Coat the catfish in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and then cover it completely with the ginger marinade. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

Heat enough oil to come up about 1/2 inch in a heavy skillet, like a cast-iron frying pan, to about 350 degrees.

In a shallow pan, mix in 1 tablespoon salt, the tablespoon of cayenne, the corn starch and the flour to combine.

Take the catfish out and scrape off most of the marinade; it's OK if there is some still on the fillets. Dredge in the seasoned flour and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn once if the fish is not submerged in the oil.

Serve with steamed rice and veggies.

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