Malai Kismayo (Fried Fish)

Fish is popular in my home town of Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia.  Established about 1,000 years ago by Persian and Arab traders, the food in Kismayo, like in much of the port cities of Somalia, is an exotic blend of African and Middle Eastern flavours.

In Kismayo, we eat malai with a salad and a kind of bread called mufo, a dense, tart and chewy cornmeal-based flatbread, which is similar to pita bread or Indian naan bread.

This recipe is from my mother and I love cooking fish this way in my Somali kitchen.

Malai Kismayo goes beautifully with a fresh salad.

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Malai Kismayo (Fried Fish)

Recipe by:
Abshiro Farah


1kg fish fillet (any kind of firm fleshed fish)
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of vinegar
Salt to taste
Olive oil for frying


1. Mix ground cumin, crushed garlic, salt, lemon and vinegar to make a marinade for the fish
2. Marinate the fish for 30 minutes
3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat
4. Fry the fish for about two minutes or until brown. Flip and cook the other side for another two minutes.
5. Remove the fish and place them on a piece of paper towel. This will remove excess oil.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 people

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