You will need to soak the stockfish overnight.


Skill level

Average: 4.3 (14 votes)


  • 500 g beef shank or gravy beef, trimmed, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
  • 1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
  • 2 scotch bonnet chillies (see Note) or 3 long red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
  • 125 ml (½ cup) red palm oil (see Note) or vegetable oil
  • 2 small pieces stockfish (see Note) or dried fish pieces, soaked overnight, drained
  • 2 crayfish stock cubes (see Note), crumbled or 1 tbsp dried prawns (see Note), ground
  • 175 g (1½ cups) egusi (ground melon seeds) (see Note)
  • 1 bunch English spinach, leaves and stems finely shredded
  • Iyan (pounded yam), to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place beef, 2 tsp salt, half the onion, thyme, curry powder, vegetable stock cube and 500 ml water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, process capsicum, chillies and remaining onions in a food processor to a paste.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add capsicum paste and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and oil starts to separate from paste.

Pour in beef mixture, stir in stockfish and stock cubes, then cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until heated through. Combine ground melon seeds with 375 ml water, add to beef mixture, then add spinach. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Serve immediately with pounded yam.


Scotch bonnet chillies, from greengrocers, are very hot; wear latex gloves when handling.

Stockfish is available from African food shops in dried pieces or as a whole fish. If using the whole fish, soak in water overnight to soften, then break into 2cm pieces.

Crayfish stock cubes, dried prawns and egusi are available from African food shops. Dried prawns are also from Asian food shops.

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 15, pg69.

Photography by John Laurie