Pescado al Coco con Limoncillo

Coconut-scented Snapper with Lemongrass

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 6 to 8


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Lemongrass is often found in dishes from Colombia’s Pacific southwest. In the rest of the country we basically use it to infuse water with extra flavor and to make teas. Red snapper is native to both coasts and available nowadays all over the country. This is a lighter version of traditional Colombian fish in coconut milk.


  • 1 teaspoon mashed garlic
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 6 to 8 red snapper filets (about 2 to 3 pounds total)
  • ½ cup minced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass plus 1 teaspoon grated lemongrass
  • ¼ teaspoon ají sauce or hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons flour or finely ground oats
  • ½ cup coconut milk, freshly made or canned
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro


  1. Combine the garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of canola oil and rub mixture over the snapper filets. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2. In a deep sauté pan, place remaining 1 tablespoon oil, scallions, minced lemongrass, ají sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the fish filets from the refrigerator and sprinkle them with flour or finely ground oats on both sides.
  4. Remove the cover from the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the fish filets and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Pour the coconut milk, fish stock, and lime juice over the fish. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flaky.
  5. Uncover the pan and remove the fish from the pan. Place on a serving platter. Add cilantro and grated lemongrass to the pan sauce and pour over fish. Serve.


Instead of cooking the fish on top of the stove, bake the filets at 450°F for 10 minutes on each side or broil for 6 minutes on each side.