Pescado al Coco

Coconut Snapper

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 4


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

The coconut sauce in this recipe is so good you could make it alone to serve with rice. If you wish to bake or broil the fish instead of frying them, go ahead: bake at 450°F for eight minutes on each side or broil for five minutes on each side; otherwise follow the rest of the instructions. If you wish to prepare fish fillets, then you can prepare either less sauce, or more than four large fillets.


  • 5 pounds (4 individual) fish such as red snapper, cleaned, gutted, and scaled
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • ½ cup minced scallion
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon mashed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon oil for frying
  • 2 cups coconut milk (freshly made, or canned)
  • ½ fish bouillon cube
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin*
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. Make sure all the scales have been removed from the fish by passing your hands over them from tail to head. Make 3 or 4 slashes along the sides of the skin of each fish; they should go all the way down to the bones.
  2. Combine the sliced onion, scallion, lime juice, parsley, garlic, and salt, and rub them inside the cuts and in the belly of the fish.
  3. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until ready to fry.
  4. When you are ready to fry the fish, remove the onion mixture from the fish and drain the lime juice out. Discard the liquid but keep the rest.
  5. Heat 2 cups of oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat to 350°F.
  6. Carefully drop the fish into the oil and fry for 2 minutes. Turn and fry for 2 minutes more.
  7. Remove from the oil and drain over paper towels.
  8. While the fish are frying, in another large sauté pan place the onion mixture you removed from the fish with the tablespoon of oil. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the coconut milk, bouillon cube, curry, cumin, and pepper. Cook briefly to blend the flavors.
  9. When all the fish have been fried, place them into the coconut sauce and finish cooking, 5 minutes on each side.