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exclusively Malawian fish: Chamnbo

exclusively Malawian fish: Chamnbo

As a well-known species of freshwater fish that is native to Lake Malawi, "Chambo" has a distinct position in Malawian cuisine. In addition to providing food for the locals for many generations, this tasty fish has also contributed significantly to Malawi's culinary legacy. Chambo's preparation and consumption are a reflection of Malawi's rich heritage, cultural practices, and reliance on Lake Malawi.

The geographical and cultural landscape of Malawi is connected with the history of chambo in local cuisine. One of the Great Rift Valley lakes in Africa is Lake Malawi, which not only provides essential water but also a large amount of food thanks to its abundant aquatic life. The numerous chambo fish, among other lake resources, have been a source of income for the nearby people.

Chambo has become a cultural icon that is frequently seen in Malawian festivals, get-togethers, and dinners. Chambo's significance within Malawi's social structure is reinforced by the frequent participation of traditional ceremonies and communal feasting in its preparation and consumption. The fish serves as a catalyst for cultural preservation and communal cohesion in addition to being a source of sustenance.

Preparation Time

50 minutes


2 whole chambo fish (cleaned and gutted)

1 teaspoon ginger (minced)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 cloves garlic (minced)

Salt and pepper 

Fresh lemon wedges 


  • Removing scales and internal organs, and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
  • Mix the garlic, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, and pepper with the vegetable oil in a bowl.
  • Rub the marinade all over the chambo fish, making sure to coat both the inside and outside of the fish. Allow the fish to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. 
  • Place the marinated chambo fish on the grill grates. Grill each side for about 7 minutes.
  • Remove the grilled chambo and serve!