Flying fish with cou cou

Angela Holland shows Gary Rhodes how to put together a family favourite dish from Barbados
By Gary Rhodes
Flying fish with cou cou
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Effort: medium


For the fish

  • 8 fillets flying fish, or mackerel fillets
  • 1 limes, juice only
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, shredded
  • sprigs fresh thyme, enough for ½ tsp
  • sprigs fresh marjoram, enough for 1 tsp
  • 3/4 tsp curry powder
  • 4 tbsp Bajan green seasoning, (see cook's note)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

For the cou cou

  • 250 g cornmeal
  • 200 g okra, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • sprigs marjoram, enough for1 tsp fresh leaves
  • sprigs thyme, enough for ½ tsp leaves
  • 50 g butter


1. Combine the cornmeal with about 250ml water enough to make a smooth, thick paste. Leave on one side to stand for 15 minutes

2. Slice the okra into thin rounds and transfer to a saucepan with the onion, garlic, thyme and marjoram leaves. Pour in 400ml water and season with salt.

3. Bring the boil and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes, until the okra has softened and the liquid has thickened and reduced. Strain the liquid into a jug, reserving the vegetables.

4. Gradually add the strained liquor to the cornmeal mixture enough to make a thick, coating consistency batter. You might need to add extra cold water. Thicken over a low heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring all the time.

5. Stir in the okra mixture along with the butter and mix well. The cou-cou should have the consistency of mashed potato. Keep warm while you cook the fish

7. For the fish, combine the lime juice with 2 tablespoons of water add a pinch of salt, and rub all over the fish. Leave on one side for 10 minutes.

8. Rinse the fillets under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel.

9. Melt the butter in a frying pan set over a moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, tomato, thyme, marjoram and curry powder. Stir well to mix everything together. Soften for 5 minutes.

10. Pour over 300ml water and simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters.

11. Spread the Bajan seasoning over the flesh side of each fillet. Roll the fillet from tail to the broader head side, and secure with a toothpick.

12. Add the fish rolls to the frying pan and spoon over the sauce. Simmer for a further 5 minutes adding 150ml extra water, if needed, to let down the consistency of the sauce. Stir in the chopped parsley.

13. Butter 4 deep bowls and divide the warm cou cou between each one. Carefully upturn the bowls on serving plates. Top each heap with 2 cooked fish fillets, spooning over any sauce to finish.

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