Fried fish with cou-cou and okra dressing

Bring a spicy taste of the Caribbean to your table with comforting cornmeal mash and flavoursome fish from Patrick Williams
Fried fish with cou-cou and okra dressing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the cou-cou

  • 1 litres milk
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder
  • 6 sprigs thyme, leaves only (optional)
  • pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • 200 g cornmeal

For the okra dressing

  • 8 okra, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, blanched, deseeded and diced
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 6 marjoram leaves, chopped
  • drizzle of olive oil

For the fried fish

  • 4 dried allspice berries, (pimento)
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • pinches sea salt
  • 4 fillets flying fish, or other white fish
  • 7 tbsp olive oil


1. For the cou-cou: pour the milk into a saucepan over a low-medium heat and bring almost to the boil.

2. While the milk is heating, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry gently for 3-4 minutes or until translucent but not coloured.

3. Sprinkle the curry powder and thyme into the pan with the onions and fry for 30 seconds, stirring to combine.

4. Pour the hot milk over the curried onions, sprinkle in the nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Gradually pour the cornmeal into the milk mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until combined.

6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture is the consistency of very thick porridge (this is a slightly thinner consistency than that of traditional cou-cou, in which the spoon should stand up). Keep warm.

7. For the okra dressing: bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the okra and boil for 2 minutes. Drain well and tip into a bowl.

8. Mix the onion, tomatoes, chilli and lime juice with the okra and season with a pinch of salt. Scatter over the marjoram and drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.

9. For the fish: pound the allspice and peppercorns together in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder until finely ground then mix in the salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the fish fillets.

9. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat then add the fish, skin-side down, and fry for 2 minutes without moving the fish. Turn the fish and cook for another 2 minutes, or until just cooked through.

10. Remove the fish from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

11. Divide the fish between warm serving plates and place a portion of cou-cou alongside. Spoon over the okra dressing and serve straight away.

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