Nakompatoa Forowee

A typical West African dish of salted fish fried with yam, tomatoes, pimientos and flavoured with garlic and coconut, Nakompatoa Forowee (nah-kohm-pah-toh-ah foh-oh-ee) makes a light lunch or supper without any accompaniment. li lb. dried salted nakompatoa fish, or any dried salted white fish, soaked in cold water for

24 hours and drained

1 bay leaf

3 to

4 tablespoons peanut oil

2 lb. yam, cooked until just tender, peeled, drained and sliced

1 large garlic clove, crushed

4 tablespoons chopped pimientos

4 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 fl. oz. coconut milk, made with

2 oz. creamed coconut dissolved in 4 fl. oz. water

3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

Place the fish and bay leaf in a medium- sized saucepan. Pour over enough cold water to cover the fish.

Set the pan over moderately high heat and bring the water to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove the pan from the heat. With a slotted spoon, remove the fish from the pan and place it in a colander. Discard the cooking liquid. Rinse the fish under warm running water to remove excess saltiness. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper towels.

Place the fish on a chopping board. With a sharp-pointed knife, skin and bone the fish and cut it into large chunks. Set aside.

In a large frying-pan, heat

3 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the yam slices and fry them for

3 to

4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and crisp.

With a slotted spoon, remove the yam slices from the pan and place them in a medium-sized warmed serving dish. Keep hot.

Add the fish pieces to the pan, adding more oil if necessary, and fry, stirring and turning occasionally with the slotted spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the fish pieces are golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat.

With a slotted spoon, remove the fish from the pan and place it over the yam slices in the dish. Keep hot.

Pour off’ all but 1 tablespoon of the oil in the frying-pan.

Return the pan to the heat and add the garlic, pimientos, tomatoes, thyme and pepper. Fry the mixture, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and increase the heat to moderately high. Boil the mixture, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.

Remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the coconut mixture over the fish and yam. Sprinkle over the chopped hard-boiled eggs and serve immediately.

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