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‘I grew up in Zimbabwe and cooking Zimbabwean dishes helps me feel connected to home,’ says Christarose Maphosa, Tesco buying manager for fish. Christa is a member of the Race & Ethnicity Network for colleagues and has helped to create Tesco’s first-ever Black Action Plan. Christa grew up making this dish with tilapia but says sea bass is a great alternative. Pap is a staple food in Zimbabwe but you can serve with rice instead. See method
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Start by cooking the pap. In a medium saucepan, mix the cornmeal with 750ml water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until the cornmeal has softened (about 8-10 mins); if it’s not tender by then, add a little more water and continue cooking. Keep simmering and stirring regularly until the mixture becomes very thick and difficult to beat (it will almost form a ball), about 10-15 mins. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the fish and sauce. Mix the flour and all-purpose seasoning with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Use kitchen paper to pat dry the fish, place it on a plate then sieve over the seasoned flour, evenly coating both sides.
Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay the seasoned fish in the pan, skin-side down, and scatter the onion around. Fry for 3-4 mins or until a golden, crisp crust has formed on the skin. Turn the fillets carefully and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Transfer the fillets a clean plate and set aside.
Add the pepper and garlic to the pan and cook for a few mins more until softening. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock; season. Fold the butterflied fish fillets back together so the skin is on the outside (if using individual fillets, stack one on top of the other). Carefully lay these portions into the sauce and simmer briskly for 12-15 mins, or until the sauce has thickened and the fish is cooked through.
Serve the fillets whole from the pan with the sauce, or break everything up with a wooden spoon. Scatter with chopped coriander and serve the pap alongside (we traditionally use the pap in our hands to eat the sauce and fish).
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