Friday, January 14, 2011

Coconut Fish Stew

When I started to learn how to cook other than Chinese food, my first cookbook is The Illustrated Kitchen Bible. Once I opened this book, it already sold me to buy this book as each recipe contains a mouth-watering picture. Great for beginners as all the basic food preparation techniques can be found in the last section of the book. Every recipe I tested so far turns out perfect and I never stop loving this book. I also convince some of my friends to buy this book, even my Taiwanese friend Chris owns a copy of it. 

Since October, Chris attended culinary school. On the first day, he had to learn the basic cutting techniques. In order to put his skills to the test, he chose to make a coconut fish stew. This dish is a traditional Brazilian fish stew which combines fresh bell peppers and tomatoes, and enriched with coconut milk. This can be served with a side of lime-flavored salsa. His knife skills were not too bad, so I'm giving him, just for now, a B+. Also, as a chef, he needs to practice a lot on food presentation. This is also true in my case as a food photographer to see how a dish should be presented and apply correctly the rules of photo composition.

Serves 6
Adapted from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Printable Recipe


1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, skinned and cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp tomato paste
750g cod (or any white fish), cut into 2-inch pieces
salt and pepper


1 tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil


1. In a pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion until transparent, about 5 mins. 

2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add tomatoes and bell peppers. Stir occasionally and cook until softened, about 15 mins.

3. Stir in coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring it to a boil. Add in the fish and cook until opaque, about 5 mins. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Make the salsa. Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl.

5. Serve fish stew with the salsa.


  1. hello victor, from the picture it looks like one of the malay version of cooking , they call it "ikan masak lemak" but with added chillies, also creamy and of course minus the salsa. great that you're introducing dishes from the south america, i got no knowledge on that at all.

  2. Looks lovely and creamy - I'd love some right now!!

  3. Very inviting,delectable and tempting stew..

  4. These coconut milk stew sounds delicious. I love anything with coconut milk.

  5. this looks so tasty great cookbook by the sounds of it

  6. Looks like an interesting dish! Eating this with salsa is something which is really new to me! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Fish stews never call my name much but yours, especially with the coconut, just might tempt me to try it.

  8. I love food cooked with coconut milk. It gives lovely flavour and so good with rice. Love your fish stew.

  9. Would love to get a taste of this fragrant dish. And for a new culinary student, I'd say Chris' presentation is pretty good!

  10. Hello Victor,
    your fish stew is very tempting, I have just saved your recipe:)

    thanks for sharing with us

  11. Yummy! I could see the luscious creamy sauce of the stew. Never thought tomato blends well with the coco cream. Brilliant!

  12. Hi Victor
    What a lovely combination of flavours.
    Excellent dish.
    Many thanks for your visit ♥



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