GT Food Talk: Onunu and Fish Stew

Onunu and light fish stew is a delicacy of the Kalabari people in Rivers State. This special food is prepared with yam and ripe plantain. No wonder some people call it, “Rivers pounded yam and plantain.”

To enjoy Onunu, it should be eaten immediately it is prepared. It is more enjoyable when eaten hot or warm but not cold. It is a heavy and tasty meal. But, you also need lots of energy to pound.

Well, today, some people prefer to eat Onunu with fish or goat meat pepper soup, sea food sauce or any local soup of their choice instead of the usual light fresh fish stew. Just ensure it is peppery enough. So, the choice is yours.

How to prepare Onunu

Yam, over ripe plantain, fish, blended pepper, tomatoes and onions
Yam, fish, blended pepper, tomatoes and over ripe plantain


  • Yam
  • Plantain
  • Plam oil
  • Salt


  • Peel, wash and cut yam into cubes for easy cooking. Put in a pot and start boiling.
  • Wash and cut ripe plantains slightly bigger in size and add to the yam pot after 5 minutes of boiling.
  • Add salt to the pot when the yam and plantain are almost cooked.
  • Cook until both yam and plantain are very soft and tender.
  • Put yam gradually in a mortar and start pounding, when yam is tender, add ripe plantain and continue pounding. However, ensure the portion is almost the same.
Pounding yam and ripe plantain in a mortar
Pounding yam and ripe plantain in a mortar
  • Pound until the plantain mixes properly with the yam. Then add a small amount of palm oil and pound a little more. Pound thoroughly to form a smooth silky finish. Your finished product should be loose but silky.
  • Your onunu is ready. Mould into balls and keep.

Note: Some people prefer to add salt while pounding instead of when boiling the yam and ripe plantain. Choose which ever is convenient for you.

How to prepare light fish stew


  • Fresh fish (Tilapia, Croaker etc the choice is yours)
  • 21/2 cooking spoonful blended tomatoes, pepper and onion
  • 1 medium size onion (chopped)
  • 21/2 cooking spoonful palm oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Seasoning
  • Dry pepper


  • Season fish with dry pepper, salt and seasoning, allow to marinade for 15 minutes. Steam on low heat and set aside.
  • Heat palm oil and stir fry chopped onions until light brown.
  • Then add the blended tomatoes, pepper and onions and stir fry for 5 minutes.
  • Add seasoning, salt and water continue to cook.
  • Taste stew. If you feel the pepper is not enough, you can add some dry pepper.
  • If you are satisfied with the taste, add the already boiled fish and the fish stock, lower the heat and stir gently.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes and your light fish stew is ready.
  • Serve onunu with light fish stew.


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