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Gesmoorde Vis (Salt Cod and Potatoes with Tomato Sauce)

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African Fish/seafoo


  • 1 lb Salt cod
  • 3 md Boiling potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 4 md Firm ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tb Vegetable oil
  • 3 sm Onions, peeled and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 tb Plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh hot chilies
  • 1 ts Finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tb Light-brown sugar
  • 1 Lemon, cut lengthwise into 4 or 6 wedges
  • Parsley sprigs


Starting a day ahead, place the cod in a glass, enameled or stainless-steel pan or bowl. Cover it with cold water and soak for at least 12 hours, gently squeezing the cod dry and changing the water every 3 or 4 hours.
Drain the cod, rinse it thoroughly under cold running water, and cut it into 1-inch pieces.
Drop the potatoes into enough lightly salted boiling water to cover them completely and cook briskly, uncovered, until they are almost tender and show only slight resistance when pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Drain and peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes.
Place the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water and let them boil briskly for about 10 seconds. Run cold water over them, and peel them with a small, sharp knife. Cut the tomatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch- thick rounds.
In a heavy 10 to 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it. Drop in the onions and, stirring frequently, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are soft and golden brown. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the chilies, the garlic and sugar, and cook briskly, uncovered, stirring from time to time, until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape lightly in a spoon.
Stir in the cod and potatoes, reduce the heat to low, and cover tightly. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when prodded gently with a fork. Taste for seasoning.
Serve the gesmoorde vis at once, mounded on a heated platter or in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of chopped chilies and arrange the lemon wedges and parsley sprigs decoratively on top. Serve accompanied, if you like, by hot boiled rice and lemon or green bean atjar.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
From "African Cooking", Laurens van der Post and the editors of Time Life Books, "Foods of the World" series, 1970. LOC # 77-119620.
Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; February 24 1993.