Have you ever thought of preparing whole tilapia fish in maziwa mala referring to sour milk as known in Kenya? Don’t worry, if your answer was a NO. I also was in the same situation till today. (Long post ALERT. To get the recipe immediately, scroll to the bottom of the page)

Going about my day’s routine, I knew very well, I would prepare some coconut milk whole tilapia for dinner today, as a way to mark my younger sister’s birthday. As ecstatic as I was, I knew with no doubt that all my ingredients were perfectly in good condition and I would definitely ace the dinner table today. I left the house knowing all I needed to bring back was the whole tilapia fish, that I would buy from a local market known as Kenyatta Market, found on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Owe, unto me, I didn’t have a clue on what awaited me in the evening. For sure, surprises aren’t to be blasted out unless one wants to blast out a lie or false info and end up having Pinocchioitis*. Pinocchio is definitely a classic to last memories.

The joyful part of me came fully alive, once I set my foot into my beloved world of the kitchen and getting that superhero courage. Going immediately to the preparation, once done with the basics, I went ahead to get the spices and the coconut milk. Not expecting anything wrong, I opened the coconut milk can, I had previously used when preparing mahamri’s. Shock on me! It had molds and the smell was… Not to mention it. Perplexed and still in shock, I wondered how could it become stale with an expiry date of 2020 and yet it was in the fridge.

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The high energy suddenly sank rock bottom and I questioned my creativity, on what I should prepare especially at that moment where everyone is waiting for this fantastic meal you had told them about in the morning. Luckily my creativity never failed. It dawned to me, that I had some maziwa mala in the fridge. Though sceptical a bit on the outcome since it has never been tried again, I eventually decided to try it out and become the first to test mala on fish. This is when I realized  my creativity had been challenged and yeey, I won the challenge and ended up with this tasty, mouth-watering dish.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 packet of sour milk(mala)

2 red onion bulbs

4 cloves of garlic and small piece of ginger

1 red and 1 green capsicum (hoho)

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A bunch of coriander(dhania)

3 Tomatoes peeled.

1 cup lemon juice/squeezed lemon

1/2 tbsp of turmeric, curry powder, garam masala

1/4 tspn of black pepper

A pinch of salt

Pre-cooked whole tilapia fish


In a large bowl, place the fish and sprinkle some lemon juice on the fish.

Pour on it 1/4 packet of the maziwa mala and leave the fish in the fridge for an hour.

In the meantime, chop the onions, capsicums and coriander into small pieces, Place each of the ingredients separately.  In another separate plate, place peeled tomatoes.

Once an hour is over, remove the fish from the fridge.

In a large pan, add oil and allow it to cook for sometime. Add the onions and fry till golden brown then add the ginger and garlic crushed. Allow to cook for sometime.

Once cooked, add the spices and a pinch of salt to taste.  Stir the spices into the onions.

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Add the red and green capsicum and stir for sometime and leave it to cook.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir the ingredients together while cooking.

Once cooked, pour in, half a packet of the mala milk and mix with the ingredients.

Dip in, the pre-cooked fish and allow them absorb the flavour before stirring.

Once cooked, sprinkle the coriander and allow to cook for 2 minutes before removing the fish from the heat.

The whole tilapia fish is now ready for serving. Serve it accompanied by either ugali, rice, chapati or mukimo.

stale-coconut-milk-267x300 WHOLE TILAPIA FISH IN SOUR MILK (MAZIWA MALA)


Make sure to enjoy your meal and keep on cooking.

But before that, make sure to store your ingredients correctly. Store any ingredient packaged in a metal container into a plastic container. This will allow the substance last longer and you don’t have to have surprises like I did during meal time.



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