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Fish With Coconut Ginger Sauce

Fish With Coconut Ginger Sauce 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Carolyn Robb for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Feb 17, 2010

Here's a colorful fish dish from Brazil that's packed with interesting flavors: sweet peppers, rich coconut and pungent ginger. The original recipe called for sole; until that fish becomes more sustainable, choose tilapia or turbot instead.

The coconut milk acts as a thickening agent. Don't use coconut water or cream of coconut, which is full of added sugar and emulsifiers.

Servings: 4
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 10 medium to large shallots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • Leaves from 1 small bunch thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-inch piece ginger root
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fish stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 skinless tilapia or turbot fillets (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 cup flour, for coating the fish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Finely chop the red, yellow and green bell peppers to yield 1/2 cup each. Finely chop enough of the shallots to yield 1/2 cup.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped peppers and shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft. Meanwhile, finely chop 2 cloves of the garlic; add to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Chop enough thyme leaves to yield 1 tablespoon; add to the skillet, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat.

To make the sauce, chop enough of the remaining shallots to yield 1/3 cup and add to a medium saucepan with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft and translucent. Meanwhile, chop enough of the ginger to yield 1/4 cup and chop the two remaining cloves of garlic; add to the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and bring to a boil; cook until the liquid in the pan has reduced by about 80 percent. Add the fish stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add the coconut milk, stir well to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low or low and cook until the sauce becomes thick, stirring frequently. Strain it through a sieve into another saucepan and discard any solids. Season with salt and pepper to taste; keep warm.

While the sauce is cooking, pat the fish dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Place the flour on a plate, lightly dredge the fish in the flour and shake off the excess.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. When the butter is hot, add the fish fillets; they should sizzle lightly. Cook the fillets without moving them for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, then use a metal spatula to carefully turn the fillets over. Cook the second side until golden brown.

Place a fish fillet on each plate and top with the warm pepper mixture. Spoon the sauce around the fish and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Brazilian Kitchen," by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz (Kyle Books, 2010).

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 561

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 39g 60%

Saturated Fat: 18g 90%

Cholesterol: 118mg 39%

Sodium: 303mg 13%

Total Carbohydrates: 15g 5%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 38g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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