Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Barbadian Flying Fish with Cou Cou

I made this dish on Wednesday, October 14 for Andy and me. Fried flying fish with cou cou is the national dish of Barbados, according to both wikipedia and the website from which I got the recipes. The meal was simple and delicious. Andy commented, "I could eat that fish every night of the week."

I had made cou cou before when I cooked the meal from Antigua and Barbuda. I suppose that this is not surprising, considering how close the two nations are to each other. The instructions for the Barbadian cou cou were clearer than those for Antigua and Barbuda, and I think that showed in the final product. The cou cou actually maintained the shape of the bowl as it was supposed to. The texture is odd; it is sort of like grainy mashed potatoes. The flavor is pretty bland. We found it best when paired with the fish.

The original recipe for the flying fish required flying fish (not surprisingly). Unable to find flying fish in Minnesota, I went in search of haddock, halibut, or flounder. I found Alaskan halibut, but it was $18.99 per pound. I went the cheaper route with some Ecuadorean tilapia. I reasoned that Ecuador is closer to Barbados than Alaska anyway, plus it saved me $11. The recipe is incredibly simple, and the result is delicately flavored fried fish. The lime flavor really comes through. I really enjoyed this fish, and will probably make it again, as the ingredients (with the exception of flying fish) are very common.

Here is the recipe for the cou cou, interpreted from the original:

Bajan Cou Co

- 4 okras, thinly sliced
- 4 c. boiling water
- 2 c. cornmeal
- 2 c. cold water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 T. butter

1) Cook okras in boiling water for 10-12 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, mix cornmeal and cornmeal together until a smooth paste is made.
3) Once okras are soft, lower the heat, add salt and cornmeal mixture, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes fairly stiff. Cou Cou is done when it breaks away cleanly from the side of the saucepan.
4) To serve, butter a bowl; turn the mixture out neatly onto it, shaking the bowl so that it takes on the shape of the bowl. Turn it out on a serving dish; make an indentation in the top and place a knob of butter in it.

The recipe for the fried flying fish:

Bajan Fried Flying Fish
- 1 lb. mild white fish
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- juice of a large lime
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. fresh chives, minced
- 1/2 tsp. ground marjoram
- 1/3 cup onion, minced
- dash hot pepper sauce
- 1/3 c. flour
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 c. corn flakes crumbs
- oil for frying (I used canola)
- 2 limes, quartered

1) Place fish fillets in a shallow plate or dish; season with 1 tsp. salt and lime juice. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2) In a small mixing bowl, combine garlic, chives, marjoram, onion and tabasco together.
3) Drain and pat fish dry with paper towels. Rub onion mixture on fillets.
4) Mix flour, cayenne, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper together in a shallow bowl. Place the egg mixture in a separate shallow bowl and the corn flakes in a third.
5) Dredge the fillets in flour, then dip in egg. Then, coat with the corn flake crumbs.
6) Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook fillets for 3 minutes on each side.
7) To serve, garnish with lime wedges.

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