I think it’s pretty clear that I am a foodie. When I find something I love, I tend to latch on and make variations of that particular dish or particular ingredient for ages. Earlier this year I had been to the UK to visit my sister and we dined at a funky little Caribbean restaurant with the best vibes ever. People were shimmying around while sipping their cocktails and munching on superb food and the music made us feel as though we were on holiday for those few hours. The dishes were hot as hell, but wow I really did fall in love! So last week when my boyfriend shared a link to a Caribbean recipe it jogged my memory and I was inspired to create something of my own.
A Caribbean fusion that really packs a flavoursome punch. If you love the juicy, sweet taste of these tropical fruit and you can handle your spice, then this salsa should shimmy its way onto your cooking to do list. It’s refreshing, citrus-y and that habanero really binds the ingredients oh so well! Along with the coconut and thyme crusted fish and that creamy basmati rice I have to say I kinda impressed myself with this little meal 🙂
This dish may seem difficult to make (maybe because of my super list-like ingredients and method section) but it really isn’t. It’s just a matter of whipping up a quick marinade for the fish, preparing the pineapple and mango salsa and maximum 15 minutes to cook the rice. I generally prefer to make some sort of marinade when cooking any meat as it just gives it so much more flavour and moisture without having to drown it in sauce. The quality of the meat plays a crucial part in its flavour of course.
Serves approx. 4 (you may want to add more rice for a larger serving)
Ingredients for the Coconut Crusted Fish
Approx. 400grams ‘Cinturin’ fish *
1 lime (zest)
2 limes (juice)
2 garlic cloves (crushed+ roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, dried garlic and pepper
Approx. 6-8 tablespoons desiccated coconut (for the ‘batter’)
4 teaspoons thyme (for the ‘batter’)
Ingredients for the Spicy Pineapple & Mango Salsa/ Coulis
340grams pineapple (a bit more than ½ a pineapple)
350grams mango (1 large mango)
1 small red onion (finely chopped/minced)
1 yellow Habanero ** (super finely chopped/minced)
2 heaped teaspoons fresh chopped coriander
1 ½ limes (juice)
Generous sea salt and a little sprinkle of pepper
Ingredients for the Coconut rice
Jasmine Basmati Rice (allow 50-60grams per person. I cooked 200grams)
400ml tinned coconut milk
½ a Kallo garlic stock cube (optional…but I love this little thing in rice!)
Sprinkle of dried chilli powder
*Basically you will need a fish that does not flake easily, so you can dip it in the desiccated coconut and fry it without any mess. I originally planned to buy Red Snapper but it was pretty pricey and the fishmonger at Conny’s suggested this fish they call ‘Cinturin’. It’s a long flat-ish fish and is not expensive at all coming in at roughly EUR5 for 400grams (they filleted it for me perfectly as you can see in the photo below). The flavour was beautiful! Defo buying it again 🙂
**Initially I wanted to buy Scotch Bonnet, which is the sweeter cousin of the Habanero used for Caribbean cooking. However since I couldn’t find it, I settled for a Habanero and the result was super nevertheless
- In a container (with a lid) mix the lime zest, juice, fish sauce, olive oil, crushed garlic and seasoning. Place the fish fillets in 1 by one and make sure they’ve all had a good dip in the marinade and are evenly coated before closing the container. Keep it in the fridge for at least 1-2hours. Obviously the longer you leave it, the better (usual marinade rules apply here 🙂 ).
- In the meantime chop up the mango and pineapple into very small bite sized cubes/pieces and put them in a large bowl.
- Finely chop/mince the red onion and the yellow habanero (I removed the seeds…and it was still quite spicy for us, so whether you want to leave no seeds, some or all is entirely up to you and what you can handle. Just remember that a Habanero is way ahead of Jalapenos on the spicy scale. And don’t rub anywhere after chopping it- I did. And my left cheek and upper lip was on fire lol!)
- Add these ingredients along with the chopped coriander and juice of 1 ½ limes to the bowl. Combine and season with sea salt and a sprinkle of pepper. Let it set in the fridge
- I had a lot of clearing in the kitchen/house to do so I happily left the salsa and fish marinade in the fridge for around 2hours
- For the rice, bring 100ml of water to the boil and chuck in the ½ stock cube. Whisk it till it melts and then add the 400ml of coconut milk (if you’re making more than 200grams rice in total then increase the liquid)
- Add the rice to the boiling milk and stir well. Sprinkle a little chilli powder and keep it at a constant simmer.
- Keep an eye on the rice and stir regularly. It should end up looking a little creamy and sticky (approx. 15mins to cook)
- Lastly the fish. In a flat plate sprinkle the desiccated coconut and fresh thyme leaves and press one side of each fillet into the mixture till it’s evenly coated
- In a pan heat some butter or coconut oil (not sunflower or veg oil as it leaves an intense aftertaste) and fry the fish fillets coconut side down first. Then turn. Takes about 5 minutes.
- Plate the fillets over a few spoonfuls of the salsa and the coconut rice beside it. If you would like to add a touch of fancy to your dish puree a small amount of the salsa and using a teaspoons scatter a few drops on the plate 😀
I look forward to hearing about your experience with this dish and any variations. Dig in! XXX