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Fish and Coconut Pilau

by komzinski
Coconut and Fish Pilau

For many islanders, fish and coconut have always been prominent components of their favourite meals. It is a fact that when the two are combined in a Fish and coconut pilau, it elevates a regular pilau into a meal that is fit for a super special occasion.

Ingredients for a Fish and Coconut Pilau


  • The fish should have been cleaned, sliced, and cut into small pieces (or 500g of boneless fillets of fish)
  • Three cups of basmati rice
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • A total of 2 cups of water (or as needed)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of margarine or butter
  • Chop up three onions finely into small pieces
  • Three large potatoes, peeled and sliced into slices about 1 inch thick (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds.
  • A half teaspoon of whole black pepper is a good amount to use.
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom / iliki
  • teaspoon of garlic paste
  • teaspoon of ginger paste
  • 1-2 chillies, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • teaspoon of cumin powder
  • teaspoon of coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander for garnishing

Instructions to prepare Fish and Coconut Pilau

To make a paste, mix a teaspoon of chilli powder, salt, and just enough lemon juice to make it a paste-like consistency. After you have applied this to the fish pieces, set them aside so that you can prepare the rest of the ingredients while you prepare the fish.

I would recommend washing, rinsing out, and then soaking the rice for about 20-30 minutes

The first step in preparing the fish is to heat a deep pan, add a quarter cup of oil and once the oil is hot, add the fish pieces. They should be fried on both sides until golden brown, then they should be transferred to a plate, covered, and kept at room temperature.

As soon as the butter or margarine is melted in the oil, the cumin seeds, the black pepper, the cinnamon sticks, the cloves, and the cardamom will be added. It is critical that you allow them to splutter for a few seconds before adding the onion chops and frying until golden in color. Next, add the ginger and garlic pastes to the pan and stir them in thoroughly. Once these pastes are added, add the chopped chillies, powdered spices, and potatoes as well. Mix everything together and make sure everything is well coated with the mixture. Afterward, you will want to add water and coconut milk to the mixture.

Add salt to the mixture, stir well, and give it a taste. It is imperative that you are able to taste the salt in the liquid, as once the rice is put in, it will also need to be salted. Whenever you are adding rice, you should try to add a little more than what you feel is just right to make sure the flavours balance out once the rice has been added.

It is important to drain the rice that has been soaked before adding it to the boiling liquid (broth) once it reaches a boil. Stir everything together and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. Once that has been done, lower the heat to medium and stir everything a couple of times every so often.

Once the liquid has been reduced to a small amount, add the fried fish slices and gently stir them into the sauce. The rice should be leveled out and the heat should be reduced. Then you should seal your pan with a tight lid or by wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan and then covering it with a lid. For about 15 minutes, you should allow the water to steam on very low heat. Lastly, switch off the cooker and serve it to your guests. Add some freshly chopped coriander and a few slices of lemon or lime to garnish.

It is recommended to serve this dish with kachumbari.

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