Lake Isle Press

Fish Stew from Casamance (Caldou)

Prepared from simple ingredients, this hearty and pungent dish is a perennial favorite, usually served with white rice and a sorrel-okra condiment called baguedj.

Fish Stew from Casamance (Caldou)


  • 2 firm, white-flesh fish (carp, tilapia, or bass) (1 1⁄2 pounds each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or one 2-inch piece guedj
  • 5 to 6 okra pods (optional)
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 2 cups basmati rice


Serves 4

1. With a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 slashes on each side of the fish (about 1 inch deep). Rub salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice onto the outside of the fish and inside the slashes. Allow to marinate 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a pot with a lid. Add the rice, return to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the variety. Remove from heat.

3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and tomato until onion is soft but not brown. Add the fish and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the fish sauce or guedj. Simmer until half-cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the okra pods and the habanero and continue cooking until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining lemon juice to the pan. Serve the fish on a platter with the sauce, vegetables, and rice on the side.

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