Bring the beauty of the stunning Samana Bay to your kitchen with this Pescado con coco recipe. This fish with coconut milk sauce is a mix of fresh fish, vegetables, and herbs in a hearty sauce with all the spices and tastes that we love. It's a recipe that won't disappoint.
Why we ❤️ it
This Pescado con coco Dominicano, a mixture of natural fresh ingredients, veggies, aromatic herbs, and creamy coconut is deceivingly rich but made with all those things that doctors keep telling us is good for us. Much more so if, as we suggest, you use fresh fish and coconut milk.
The result is a tender, flaky fish in coconut cream sauce that is rich, and flavorful, one of our favorite dominican fish recipes. Try a coconut milk fish recipe that will transport your mind to one of the world's most beautiful places.
Where is it from?
Fish in coconut sauce is a fish curry that is not uncommon in tropical, oceanside locales (like these Ecuadorian and Colombian ones). But this recipe and dish is the flagship of Samanense cooking (from Samaná), the gorgeous Easternmost Dominican bay.
With its neverending coconut groves, unique history, ethnic origins, and movie-worthy views, Samaná has contributed its unique cuisine to the Dominican melting pot. Bring the gorgeous view of the Samana bay to your own dining room.
You need to pick the kind of fish that is common in the Dominican Republic to get the authentic flavors in this dish. Fresh fish is the best choice. In my experience, some low-quality frozen fish release way too much water when cooking, and it releases too much fish juices, and the sauce turns watery. These are some of my favorite picks for this dish.
- Red snapper
- Sea bass
- Yellow tail snapper
If you can't find any of these, any white fish fillet will do a decent job.
Red snapper and pescado con coco.
For a full Samanense table, double down on the coconut flavor and serve with some Moro de guandules con coco (rice with pigeon peas and coconut), and even some Pan de coco, the tasty yaniqueque de samaná.
If you can, use fresh fish, but frozen can do in a pinch.
Yeah, you can use canned unsweetened coconut milk, but fresh coconut milk is next-level.
Using bija (annatto) powder is much better than using tomato sauce or tomato paste, bija does not overpower the taste of coconut and gives it a nice color.
About our recipe
When you try Pescado con coco for the first time, you can't help but wonder how you had lived without something that tastes this decadent, that is so evocative of lazy days on white-sand beaches, mid-day siestas, and exotic cocktails at sundown.
This fish in coconut milk sauce has a very sophisticated taste, despite the simplicity of its preparation and the humbleness of its components: the secret is in the freshness of its ingredients. Make this glorious tropical combination of fresh tropical fish, and you'll see why we love it so much. If you like this dish, you can also try these Shrimp in coconut and ginger sauce.
And if you have a different touch that you swear by in yours, let us know in the comments!
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Pescado con Coco [Recipe] Fish in Coconut Milk Sauce
- 6 snapper fish, or red grouper, ½ lb [0.45 kg] each (see notes above recipe)
- 5 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 teaspoon bija (annato, achiote) powder, (optional)
- 1½ teaspoon salt, (more may be needed)
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, (corn, canola or peanut)
- 2 bell pepper, (whichever color) cut into strips
- 1 onion, cut into strips
- 4 cup coconut milk, (or canned)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra sprigs to garnish
- 1 lime, cut into wedges to garnish
- Clean the fish. Score diagonal cuts on the fish about 1.5 inches [4 cm] from each other.Mix the garlic, annatto, and salt. Rub the fish with the mixture, making sure it penetrates into the cuts. The annatto does stain your hands, but it can be easily washed off.
- Heat oil in a large skillet (12" [30 cm]) over medium-high heat.
- Cook the fish lightly on one side (it'll change color a bit), rotate, and cook the other side equally. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.Add the bell pepper and onion, and cook until the onions become translucent.
- Add the coconut milk and set heat to medium. Place the fish in the pan. Cook and rotate the fish regularly but be careful that it stays whole.When the liquid has reduced by half, taste the sauce and season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with the minced cilantro and remove from the heat.
- Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges and serve. See some serving suggestions above the recipe.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
Yes, you can cook the raw fish in the coconut milk sauce.
The fish is seasoned with mashed garlic cloves, annato powder, and salt. It is then cooked in the coconut milk alongside red bell pepper, onion, cilantro, and other ingredients until the fish flakes start to separate and the sauce has thickened a bit.
Though salmon is not a fish that is traditionally used for this dish, you can use it in this recipe to cook it in coconut milk sauce.
Published Jul 28, 2003, revised