Original name: Wake
1 kg medium-size tomatoes (0.5 kg for decoration, 0.5 kg for the stew cut in small cubes)
1 can of concentrated tomato paste (about 400 ml)
150 gr fresh ginger, cut in 1 cm pieces
1 kg onion (set aside 1 medium-size onion for decoration cut in thin long slices, the rest goes in the stew)
7 cloves of garlic
4 small cubes of maggi (bouillon cube commonly used in Africa)
1 fresh habanero chili (if it is too hot, just use half)
300 ml olive oil
1 liter corn oil (for frying)
1 kg fresh sardines, cleaned
1 kg fresh red mullets (triglie), cleaned
250 gr flour (to fry red mullets)
1 kg black-eyed peas (called wake in Togo)
0.5 kg basmati rice, washed
1 teaspoon of salt (for the rice)
6 eggs, hard-boiled (to use for decoration)
1 gentilina lettuce (to use for decoration)
As an immediate step, wash the black-eyed peas and put them in deep pot with 3 liters of water for boiling on high heat.
In the meanwhile, wash the cleaned sardines and red mullets separately. Sprinkle very little salt on them and put them outside for a while so that they get dry. When the fish are drained, you can start with frying. Prepare a large pan with ½ liter of corn oil at high heat until the oil gets very hot. Fry sardines in two batches, they should get cruncy (approximately 2-3 minutes each side). Before frying red-mullets, put the flour in a bowl and coat red mullets with flour. Fry the flour-coated red mullets in 3 batches (approximately 5 minutes each side). If necessary, add more oil between batches and wait until it gets hot before restarting with a new batch.
Now you can start with the stew: leave aside 2 onions, chopped in small pieces. Process in a kitchen robot the rest of the onions cut in big pieces, garlic, ginger and habanero, until it makes a fine paste.
Preheat the olive oil in a pot, when it gets hot, add the chopped 2 onions. When they start getting a brownish color, add the concentrated tomato paste and stir it continuously. When the tomato paste start changing the color (after about 5 minutes), add the processed onion-garlic-ginger-habanero mixtureand stir continuously for about 5 minutes. Add the fried sardines and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the fresh tomatoes and continue to stir constantly for about 10 minutes. When the fresh tomatoes start to get disappeared in the stew, add the maggi bouillons and cook the stew for another 5 minutes stirring from time to time. When the oil gets detached from the gravy, you will understand that the stew is ready.
On the other side, when the black-eyed peas are cooked, add the basmati rice and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook them together until the rice gets soft. When the rice is ready, rinse any remaining water.
For the decoration you will need hard-boiled eggs: cover the eggs with water and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a small pot and bring them to boiling on medium heat. When it starts boiling, lower the heat to the minimum and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, wash the cooked eggs under cold water until they get cold. Then they are ready to peel the shell off.
You can decorate the rice with blackeyed peas with hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, onion and red mullet fish. Sardine stew is served separately. When eating, you can place some rice on your plate and put some sardine stew on top.