Nigerian Fish Stew (Obe Eja Tutu)

Nigerian fish stew

Seafood Dishes | December 12, 2019 | By

While I was growing up, anytime I or an any of my siblings had a cold, my mum would make the Nigerian fish stew, which is known as “obe eja tutu” in Yoruba. Depending on how much food you could keep down, you could slowly slurp the stew from a spoon; eat it with rice; or pair it with okro soup and very hot amala.

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Obe eja tutu was the official “cold killer” in our house. The delicious, spicy stew with succulent fish pieces in a pepper sauce is a staple in a lot of Nigerian homes; and is the perfect comfort food, which is very easy and quick to prepare.

Traditionally obe eja tutu is prepared with fish chunks, but if you don’t like cleaning and cutting fish chunks like me, then fish fillets work very well too. I used fillets in my Nigerian fish stew recipe for this reason, as well as the fact that it is just easier for my young children to eat.

Nigerian fish stew

Nigerian Fish Stew Recipe

You can use pretty much any fish for the stew, which makes life easy.

There is usually more than one habanero pepper involved in the preparation of Nigerian fish stew, but I do not have a lot of tolerance for heat anymore, hence why I used just one piece. You can use more if you prefer a hotter stew.

I used palm oil for nostalgic reasons, the stew just wouldn’t taste the same without it. Feel free to substitute the palm oil with other vegetable oils.

If you love fish, like I do, you can also try Caribbean Fish Curry and Okro Soup with Smoked Mackerel.

Nigerian Fish Stew Recipe

Delicious,spicy and easy to prepare fish stew cooked in Nigerian style pepper and tomato sauce. It is perfect for slurping on a cold day, or eaten with other foods at any time of the day.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: African, Nigerian
Keyword: Fish soup, Fish stew, Imoyo, Nigerian fish stew, Obe eja tutu
Servings: 4
Calories: 289kcal
Author: Abi Olayiwola


  • 4 fillets Sea bass You can use any fish available
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Red bell pepper
  • 1 Scotch bonnet
  • 3 Tomatoes large or 1/2 can chopped
  • 1 1/2 Onions medium
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger grated
  • 3 tablespoons Palm oil
  • 1 cup Fish stock
  • 1 tablespoon Basil choppedf


  • Cut each fish fillet into two or three pieces, depending on the size. Pour in a bowl, season with salt and keep to one side.
  • Remove the stalk from the red pepper. Blend with habanero, 1 onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger.
  • Heat the palm oil in a sauce pan for a few minutes until the colour starts to change. Be careful not to bleach the oil.
  • Chop the remaining onions. Add into the pan and fry for 2 mins.
  • Pour in the blended pepper, tomatoes’, onion, garlic and ginger mixture.
  • Add the stock, and some salt to taste.
  • Cover the pan allow to simmer for about 15 mins.
  • Add the fish as well as the basil and stir.
  • Cover the pan and allow to continue cooking until the fish is cooked which should be no more than 10 mins.
  • Remove the pan from heat and serve.

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