Dried Small Fish

Small Dried Fish

Also known as
Matemba (Zimbabwe), Kapenta (Zambia), Daaga (Tanzania), Omena (Kenya), Same age boys (Ghana), Janga (Cameroon), Mwanja moto (Cameroon) (Help us include more African names, leave us a comment below with what you call these little guys in your country…don’t forget to tell us where you are)


Why Dried Small Fish are “TAPN Approved” (Green Seal) list.

High in protein
Gram for gram, small age boys  provides more protein than the same amount of beef,chicken or goat meat. Each 100 gram serving contains 59 g protein .  The same amount of chicken has 19 g protein while the beef of the same weight has about 23 g protein.  It should be noted however, that the average person consumes about 50 grams of small dried fish, gleaning almost 30 grams of protein.

Terrific source of calcium and phosphorus
Calcium is abundant in bones and because small dried fish are consumed whole, they are a wonderful source of calcium. Each 100g serving contains 170% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Together with phosphorus, calcium allows for the development of strong bones and teeth. In addition, it is needed for nerve, heart and other body system functions.

Contain Vitamin D
Small dried fish provide vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus.   Recent studies link inadequate intakes of vitamin D  to diseases such as type 1 diabetes and various forms of cancer. While the body is capable of making vitamin D from the sun, people of African descent  are unable to absorb much of it due to the presence of melanin (dark pigment) in their skin. For this reason, eating foods high in vitamin D (like small dried fish) and taking supplements may be beneficial.

Doses of B-vitamins
Small dried fish are a great source Niacin, folate , and Cobalamin (B12), all of which are a part of the vitamin B group.  These vitamins help in the production of energy, cell and blood formation and are an essential component of any healthy eating plan.

Great source of Iron and Zinc
A 100g serving of small dried fish provides  75% of the daily requirement of Zinc  and 50% mg of the iron requirement for  the day. Both of these nutrients help the body fight infection and zinc provides an  extra layer of protection by aiding in the production of healthy skin. It also increases appetite and helps reduce slow growth in children. Iron carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without adequate iron, one is likely to suffer from anemia and experience consistent tiredness.

To Boost Nutritional Content
1) Eat the whole fish to make sure that you get the maximum nutrients possible
2) Serve with vegetables and/or season with lemon juice to add vitamin C which helps your body better absorb the iron
3)  Reduce sodium intake by soaking the fish for a few minutes and rinsing them before cooking.
4) While fresh small fish are not quite as nutrition packed as the dried variety, they do contain very significant amounts of vitamin A. The availability of the Vitamin A is increased when the fish is eaten whole and for best absorption, it is best eaten after being cooked with a little bit of oil.

Beyond Traditional Uses
Pack them in your lunch bag and enjoy them as a protein filled, low fat snack.
Sprinkle them over your salad
Try them as a pizza topping with a variety of bell peppers.

Have you ever had small dried fish? How do you cook them?

Here’s to your health!