In with the New: Coconut Fish Stew

I am a self described “lover of all things food.” If you ask, “Hey Robin, is there anything you don’t eat?” I’ll probably reply with some snide food-snob comment like uhh, I don’t know, “chickens that are fed on cow feces,” or “McDonald’s,” but I’d be hard pressed to give you a real answer.

See I’m a very proud person. And when I say proud, I mean bull-headed. I consider myself in love with all kinds of food, I’ll eat anything if you dare me (and even if you don’t), and I’m resistant to let on, even to myself, that I just don’t like something.

Especially when it’s one of those “cool,” “fashionable” food-items like quinoa, acacia, or coconut milk. How could I turn up my nose to all the things the “cool foodies” are into today??

Well, turns out I can’t. And, actually, I don’t want to. I once thought I hated coconut milk (an aversion rooted from the days of Sno Balls, I’m sure) and I avoided it at all costs. No recipes with coconut and no coconut dishes ordered at restaurants. That was, until I went to Jean Georges and was faced with their $24 prixe frix “hake in coconut milk” or an additional gabillion dollars to make a substitution. The meal turned out delicious, and I was happily surprised to find a new food.

Then I found the Bahian Fish Stew Stew recipe in Saveur’s latest edition and enough was enough—this was the sign that proved I just had to start cooking with coconut.

I made some substitutions and what resulted was a wonderfully new tasting meal-something outside the box of my normal favorite meals-and it immediately became a staple in my recipe box. You can make a lot of this, since leftovers taste even better (if that’s possible) than the first night!

Coconut Fish Stew

adapted from Saveur Magazine
Serves 4-6

5 T pico de gallo
7 T cilantro, finely chopped
3/4 pound shrimp
3/4 pound cooked cod
4 plum tomatoes, 2 sliced, 2 chopped
3 vidalia onions, 2 chopped, 1 thinly sliced
1 T sea salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 (13.5 oz) can Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Put 2 T cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and salt into a dish and stir to combine. Transfer fish and shrimp to dish, toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, puree half of the chopped onions and the coconut milk in a blender and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over med heat. Add remaining chopped onions and salt and cook until translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and 2 T cilantro, cook 5 minutes more. Add coconut milk puree, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce slightly thickens, 10 minutes.

Nestle fish and shrimp into sauce, add in any remaining marinade. Bring to boil, reduce heat a little and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.

During the last 5 minutes, add in the slice tomatoes and onions. Serve topped with pico de gallo.

I feel like my life has so many “in with the new” things brewing—this coming week is the last week for me at my nonprofit managing job-I’m starting work at a school on December 10th. I’ll miss the nonprofit work, helping the people we do, but I plan to keep volunteering (and now I will have time, my new job has great hours!)

Also, I’ve signed myself up as a newbie for Kristen’s blog event at Dine and DishAdopt-a-Food Blogger. . Even though I’ve come to be so familiar with this blog, it really hasn’t been around that long (I started last March), so I’m excited to be paired up with a veteran blogger and hear some tips!

And finally, I’ve newly become a featured publisher for the new (ahem) super-cool food website, Foodbuzz. You can see all my posts as well as other blogs, such as Café Ferdando, featured there!

Hope everyone is feeling warm and toasty on this (finally!) winter day!!

12 thoughts on “In with the New: Coconut Fish Stew”

  1. Wow, that looks brilliant! I dream of being able to cook a dish as daring as this. Congrats on the discovery, and congrats on the new job.

  2. claudia: oh it did… the smell was sooo good!

    patricia: I’m glad you like it!! That means a lot to me!!

    jon: THANK you for the compliments and the congrats… it was really very easy to make if you have a large skillet (or you could even make it in a dutch oven)

  3. This should taste great – we have a similar dish in India – we just avoid the tomato (i luv tomatoes) – add the cilantro in the end – use salted butter for cooking and bake the entire dish – this goes excellent with hot steamed rice.

    Like your site – i also maintain a website for bachelor cooks working or leaving away from home but want short and quick recipes. Check out

    Enjoy !

    Cooking is a creative art.

    Jack da Sparrow

  4. I made a wonderful coconut Thai fish dish (sounds a little Dr. Seus-ish) one time. My children complained so much that I was out the door handing it to greatful neighbour before my family had a chance to put their forks down! I loved it and so did my neighbours. My kids just thought the whole situation was funny. So did my neighbours but they love when I bring over food.

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