Zanzibar Inspired Baked Halibut Curry:
Mtuzi wa Samaki

Zanzibar Mtuzi wa Samaki - Swahili Baked Halibut Curry

With the heat of summer, the waves pounding on the beach and the palm trees swaying with the breeze, I find myself dreaming of Tanzania, the Indian Ocean and the historic island of Zanzibar. Just off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar has a colored history in that it served for years as the hub of trade between India, Africa and the Arab worlds. Notoriously, it served for many years as the hub of east African slave trading.

Yet despite this history and any controversy surrounding Zanzibar’s history, the confluence of these cultures has contributed to a unique cuisine that melds spice and flavors that are intriguing and tasty. No words here can describe this white fish baked curry. So I invite you take take a little adventure and visit Zanzibar and taste a fusion of spices that will likely have you searching airline sites for seats to Africa.

We hope you enjoy this African staple! Please comment and share your experience with our recipes here on


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 4 fresh Halibut (or any firm white fish) fillets, about 2 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped roughly
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped roughly
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced and divided in half
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Season the fish with salt, pepper and lime zest and place in a baking pan. Then in a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and peppers until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer and add the cayenne and half of the garlic and sauté for a another 1-2 minutes. Then arrange over the fish.
  • In food processor blend the remaining garlic with the vinegar, tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin and cardamon and lime juice and then pour over the fish. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  • Plate and top with fresh parsley and serve with chapati, boiled potatoes or steamed rice

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