On a recent trip to Tanzania, I came across dagaa in almost every household I visited. We’d often eat tiny fish with stewed greens, home-ground peanut butter and ugali (soft maize), served in small bowls, with our fingers. Here is my British take on it…
(Serves 2) 48p a portion
150g rice, 6p
2 tbsp oil, 6p
200g sprats, 40p
1 tbsp lime juice, 3p
1 tsp fresh grated ginger, 5p
½ tsp salt, 1p
100g spinach or spring greens, 15p
1 tbsp peanut butter, 10p
1 fresh chilli, chopped, 9p
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the rice and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
Warm the oil in a shallow frying pan on a high heat, add the sprats and squeeze over the lime juice.
Add the ginger, season, and fry until the fish begin to crisp around the edges (no more than 10 minutes).
When the fish are almost done, blanch the greens in boiling water for a minute, put them in a bowl, stir in the peanut butter and sprinkle the chilli on top.
Serve with the fish and plain rice.
Tip: I had many versions of these fish in Tanzania. Each household cooks them slightly differently, so don’t be afraid to experiment. For example, you can coat the sprats with flour, seasoned with salt and dried chilli, before frying.
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe
First published in The Guardian, Weds 5th March. Photograph by Graeme Robertson for The Guardian.