Smoked Mackerel

Smoked Mackerel

"Eja Yiyan, Ofooro"....that's the Yoruba name for smoked mackerel!

Frozen mackerel fish (locally called monkere, eja ice (iced fish), eja alaran - due to its velvet skin) is a staple source of protein for most Nigerians. This fish has been imported to Nigeria for as far as I can remember.  Sold frozen at every major food market across the country.

Mackerel is seen as a cheap and affordable source of protein for the masses....often referred to as poor man's fish. But nutritionally, this fish is really quite rich in essential nutrients needed by both the frugal and affluent members of the community.

Mackerel fish is typically cooked in stews or soups. It can be fried first before adding to the soup or added in its frozen state. On street corners of major streets, you will find trays of fried mackerel (fried with a dusting of flour) being sold to those returning from work who would eat them with bread or soaked gari for dinner! Mackerel can also be grilled or baked. Most importantly, this fish is mostly smoked and then used in cooking different types of traditional vegetable soups.

Smoked Mackerel
Smoking mackerel is a major business for grass-root food business owners in Nigeria. I still remember very clearly, the process of smoking mackerel. During my university days, there was an elderly lady who smoked fish for her livelihood. She used a specially fabricated drum tower to carry out this process. At the very based of the drum tower are hot coal with wet wood chippings. This wood creates the much needed smoke and the hot coal provides the heat. The heat is needed to cook the fish to a certain degree. On the very top of the drum is a wire gauze upon which the cleaned and salted fish are arranged and covered with a jute sack to trap the smoke for maximum effect. The process is such a simple one and the results are fantastic.

I remember joining the queues in front of the smoked mackerel seller's smoking tower, waiting to buy hot, freshly smoked fish, with no chemical, no preservatives.....! The taste is better experienced than described.

Nutritional Data (100g of smoked fish flesh)
Calories - 200kcal
Protein - 25g
Carbohydrate - 0g
Fat - 10g

Vitamins: A, C, D, E, K, Folate, B12, Choline
Minerals: Iron, Calcium, Sodium, Phosphorous, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium
Fatty Acids: mackerel is very rich in essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6. It is also very rich in poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats

Try some of my smoked mackerel recipes
  1. Smoked Mackerel Salad
  2. Smoked Mackerel Sandwich



  1. Yes o!. smoked Mackerel is especially delicious when taken with "garri", or sprinkled in " ikokore". I love it for its omega3&6 fatty acid content important for mental and visual development in children..

    1. The oils in mackerel are really beneficial to health...!

  2. Hello, Please what is Salmon called in Yoruba, I think someone should write a piece on that. For a long time, I thought this fish was called Salmon. Now I don't know what salmon is. My name is Tola

    1. Hiya Tola, thanks for your comment. Salmon is not found in Nigerian coastal waters so I am unaware of a local name for it....The fish in this post is known as mackerel. I hope this helps.

  3. Hi
    Nice wright up , but i thought smoked tiny shares is what its called oforo

  4. Please what is sardine called in Yoruba?

    1. Hiya, I am not aware of a name for sardine in Yoruba, this could be because we do not have sardines in our waters, and as such not known to our forefathers to have given it a native name..... But we have herrings which is called Sawa in yoruba, or bonga fish. I hope this helps.

      Also in response to your other comment, ofooro is a term used to refer to a stage of cooking, when food is just cooked, or slightly under-cooked.... I hope its clearer now....
      thanks for stopping by



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