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Discovering Zimbabwean Culinary Heritage: Kapenta Recipe

Discovering Zimbabwean Culinary Heritage: Kapenta Recipe

Welcome to a flavourful expedition through the culinary traditions of Zimbabwe. Today, we're venturing into the heart of one of the country's most cherished dishes: Kapenta. As we gather around the virtual kitchen, it's a reminder that food is more than sustenance—it's a tapestry of stories, history, and culture woven together by generations. Kapenta, known locally as Matemba, is a testament to this cultural richness. From the shores of Lake Kariba to the bustling kitchens of Zimbabwean homes, this tiny fish has swum its way into the hearts of the nation. Join me as we delve into the past, where kapenta was more than just a meal; it was a gathering of families, a symbol of abundance, and a taste of tradition. As we prepare this dish, let's honour the legacy of Kapenta and create a new chapter in its culinary story.


50g dried kapents
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp spring onion greens, chopped
2 tbsp oil for frying


  1. Soak your kapenta in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Make sure they are all immersed in the water. After 10 minutes, drain and pat dry your kapenta. Heat oil in pan and add the kapenta
  2. Fry until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add onions and curry powder into the same pan. Fry for about a 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic and tomato paste. Stir, reduce heat and cover the pot for about 3 minutes to allow the tomatoes to get cooked.
  4. After 5 minutes, add a little of water. You may add soup powder at this point, if using, cover the pot again and let it simmer for another 3 minutes.
  5. Return the kapenta to the pan and simmer for a final 3 minutes, allowing the kapenta to soak in the soup flavour.  Sprinkle some spring onion. Enjoy!