Nile perch comes from the fish family Centropomidae. This fish is found in the river Nile and other rivers and lakes of Africa. The Nile perch is a large-mouthed fish, greenish or brownish above and silvery below. It usually grows to about 1.8 m (6 feet) and 140 kg (300 pounds). It has also got an elongated body, a protruding lower jaw, a rounded tail, and two dorsal fins.
The Nile perch was introduced to Lake Victoria in 1954 in Uganda. Some say this was a mistake since the Nile perch is a predator to the other fish species. It is a danger to the cichlid fishes on which it feeds.
Let’s have a look at other common fish types in Uganda and what they are called locally.
- Nile perch are locally known as “Empuuta”
- Singidia tilapia locally known as “Engege” Nile tilapia.
- Catfish are locally known as “Semutundu”
- Silver-fish (fish) locally known as “Mukene”
- Lungfish are locally known as “Emmamba”
- Eels are locally known as “Ensonzi”
- Sprat is locally known as “Enkejje”
4 Tips on how to diffuse the fish smell
- Citrus fruits like lemon and oranges will help to diffuse the fish smell. Cut your
- Burning a candle at the same time as cooking fish will help to suck in the entire fish odour.
- Place small amounts of vinegar all around the house and kitchen to get rid of the fish smell.
- Baking soda left out and about the kitchen and house will help to neutralize the most unpleasant orders in the house including the fish smell
How to select good and fresh fish
- Smell the fish you want to buy from the market before selecting. A bad order will indicate that the fish has spoiled.
- Try to remove the scales of the fish; the scales should not come off easily. When the scales come off easily the fish has spoiled.
- The stomach of a good fish should be firm. A soft stomach that easily falls in indicates the fish has spoiled.
- Use your finger to exert some pressure on the fish; a good fish should be firm, and not soft.
- Check the gills of your fish to check if your fish is in good condition. Bright red gills will indicate that your fish is still in a good condition.
- The eyes of a good fish should be clear, hard when you press and should be on top of the eye socket
- A good fish has shiny skin with a bit of water on it. A dry and dull skin indicates that the fish has spoiled.
Step By Step Process of baking A Nile Perch
8 pieces of Nile Perch
1 tablespoon of salt to taste
A pinch of black pepper
25 g of bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of bread crumbs
Pre-heat the oven
Preheat the oven to 30 Fahrenheit or 177 degrees Celsius. Move the rack you intend to use to the middle position. This will enable your fish to cook evenly. While your oven warms up you can prepare your ingredients in the meantime
Arrange your fish pieces on a baking tray. A rimmed baking tray will ensure that nothing drops over as you are cooking. Give your fish pieces ample spacing and avoid overcrowding them. This will let them cook evenly.
Seasoning Nile Perch
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and lemon juice on the fish. This will form a simple seasoning for your fish. Spread the seasoning evenly on every piece of fish and do this to both sides. After rubbing the salt and pepper squeeze your lemon over the fish. Make sure to remove the seeds that may drop as you squeeze the lemon.
Breading the Nile Perch
Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of your fish. The bread crumbs will give a crispy and crunchy texture to your fish. Sprinkle about 7g of bread crumbs which is equivalent to a whole tablespoon of bread crumbs on top of each piece of fish. This will give your Nile Perch a perfect light coating.
Baking the fish
Bake your fish in the oven for about 25- 30 minutes. Place the tray in the centre rack to enable the fish to cook evenly. Shut the oven door and let the fish cook. Opening the oven door will let the heat trapped in escape. This will most likely increase your cooking time. Give at least five more minutes to your fish just in case your oven needs a bit more time.
When ready remove the fish carefully from the oven without getting burned.
Serving your fish
Before serving yoke Nile Perch ensure that your fish is properly cooled on the inside. This will help protect from any water diseases that the fish might harbour.
Serve your fish while still hot. Serve your Nile perch with vegetables like cabbage. Ugandans like to eat Nile perch with fries or rice. Enjoy it the best way you can. Garnish the Nile perch with fresh parsley or lemon.
How to prevent your fish from spoiling after you buy
Ensure to cook your fish as soon as possible after buying it from the market. The longer you take to cook the more you expose it to spoiling.
If your fish is whole, cut out the internal organs like the stomach and intestines. These will help your fish to stay safe longer,
Place your in ice cubes to keep it below room temperature. This will help to increase the best before date of your fish for a few hours as you get ready to cook.
A clean and tidy environment will not attract flies and other decomposition organisms to your fish. Maintain a clean and safe environment to avoid your fish from spoiling very fast.