It's far less spicy than mtuza wa samaki, as I decided I wanted something with a more subtle, lingering heat. To create layers of flavor, I roasted habaneros, which I then pureed with fire-roasted tomatoes and onions. After sauteeing chopped onions in peanut oil, I added coconut milk, more fire roasted tomatoes, and enough of my habenero blend to give my soup kick. I also couldn't resist throwing in an ingredient that is ubiquitous in many African dishes: a Maggi cube. Yes, I know that it's basically powdered msg, but it's also a little brick of umami, and it won't kill you to use it every now and then. (At least, I hope it won't.)
For the fish, I chose a sustainably-farmed Artic char. It stayed firm and didn't flake; I suggest leaving the skin on for maximum flavor.
Spicy Tomato & Coconut Fish Soup
2 white onions, medium dice
2-3 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers
3 tablespoons peanut oil
32 ounce canned fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
1 crawfish Maggi bouillon cube
several sprigs of fresh thyme
2 1/2 pounds Arctic char fillets, skin on, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
Roast the peppers until charred. Remove the seeds and puree with 1/2 of the tomatoes and one onion. Set aside. In a stockpot, saute the onions in the peanut oil until soft. Add the vegetable broth, other half of the tomatoes, coconut milk, Maggi cube, and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the hot pepper mixture bit by bit, tasting as you go until the desired level of heat is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste, and allow to simmer for about 10 more minutes. Add the fish, simmering gently for about 5 - 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Serve garnished with fresh thyme.
If you have leftover broth, you can re-heat it the next day and add more fresh fish.
I had it with this pinot blanc, which was the perfect foil for the dish's smoky heat: