Last Updated on May 20, 2020 by Chef Mireille
Caribbean Fish Bowl
Caribbean Fish Bowl is a complete meal with healthy steamed fish, sauteed cabbage, fried plantain and creamy funchi (Caribbean style polenta)
What people think is Caribbean food when they visit resorts and other establishments that cater to tourists bear little resemblance to the food we eat at home.
Coconut Shrimp and Mango Salmon is not the type of food we eat at home. This is a homestyle Caribbean meal in a bowl. The only difference I made to make the bowl a little healthier is to steam the fish instead of frying it, which would be a more traditional presentation.
The base of this Caribbean Fish Bowl is Caribbean style polenta.
Caribbean Style Polenta
What the rest of the world calls polenta translates into different names on different Caribbean islands. This savory cornmeal porridge was brought to the Caribbean by the African slaves. This is basically our version of African pap or ugali. In Africa, there are many names for this porridge including sadza, kwon, nshima and obusama. In Africa, it can be made from a variety of grains including cassava, millet and sorghum.
In the Caribbean, we only use cornmeal. I have already presented to you the Bajan version known as Coo Coo and the fancy holiday version we eat in Aruba (My mom’s home country) known as tutu. In Antigua and Barbuda, it is known as fungee.
…a little history
Today, it is Antillean funchi. Some of the islands of the Dutch Caribbean, formerly known as the Netherland Antilles until 2010, have a common cuisine known as Antillean cuisine, though there are slight variations from island to island. The three largest islands are Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire, collectively known as the ABC islands or the Leeward Antilles..
The Netherland Antilles also included the SSS islands, aka as the Leeward Islands. This includes barely populated Saba and St. Eustatius as well as the southern part of St. Maarten. The northern part of the island of St. Martin is French.
When Caribbean people refer to Antillean cuisine, they are referring to the cuisine of the Leeward Antilles, or the ABC islands. Funchi is our basic cornmeal porridge, which is often eaten with fish, like this Caribbean Fish Stew.
I did make the funchi a little creamier than is traditional, since I did not make a sauce to go with the fish, which is more common. Without sauce, this creamy funchi did not need it. If you would like it firmer, you can easily reduce the amount of liquid used.
Let’s go over some of the particulars of creating this bowl.
Green Seasoning is the all purpose condiment used to season Caribbean food. As the name suggests, it is a combination of green herbs, garlic, onion and a few other spices. You can find it ready made in Caribbean markets or markets with good International aisles or you can try making it yourself with this recipe.
Really any green condiment can be used like sofrito or chimichurri. Whichever is easiest to source or make, use that one!
The most common vegetable eaten in the Caribbean is cabbage. This fish bowl includes our basic Cabbage Saute, which is served with most meals.
Fried Ripe Plantain is also another common side dish, served with most meals.
Let’s see what else is included to make our Caribbean Fish Bowl
- Steamed Fish
- Fried Plantain
- Sauteed Cabbage
IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE CARIBBEAN STEAMED FISH
This is such a healthy no guilt bowl of delicious Caribbean flavors – who can resist!
First start with your base of creamy funchi on the bottom.
Then add everything else on top!
Caribbean Fish Bowl
- 4 fish steaks about 8 oz. each
- salt to taste
- 2/3 cup Green Seasoning
- ½ scotch bonnet pepper sliced
- slices of lime
- sprigs of fresh thyme
- stalks of parsley
Creamy Funchi Ingredients:
- 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon butter
Cabbage Saute Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ Scotch Bonnet pepper finely chopped
- 1 thinly sliced onion
- 1 sliced bell pepper
- 5 cups sliced cabbage
- sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 grated carrot
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Fried Plantain Ingredients:
- 1 ripe plantain skin should be at least 50% black
- Oil for frying
Caribbean Steamed Fish:
- Sprinkle the fish with salt.
- Toss the fish with the green seasoning. Leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- In the bottom of a steamer, place the lime slices, scotch bonnet, thyme and parsley.
- Place the fish on top.
- Add a few more sprigs of thyme and parsley on top.
- Cover the steamer and steam for 20 minutes, until fish flakes.
- Bring coconut milk, 3 cups water and salt to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and slowly add cornmeal a little at a time, whisking well after each addition to avoid lumps.
- Continue to cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until funchi is thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Add butter and mix to combine.
- In a large pot, heat oil.
- Add scotch bonnet, onion and bell pepper.
- Saute on high heat until the onion and peppers start to turn golden.
- Add cabbage and thyme. Toss to combine.
- Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add carrot, salt and pepper.
- Saute for another 5 minutes.
- Add parsley. Stir to combine.
- Peel the plantain and slice into 1” pieces.
- Heat enough oil for shallow frying.
- Place the plantain in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
- Drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Ready to make Caribbean Fish Bowl ? – I would love to see your pics! Tag me on Instagram @chefmireille #theschizochef with your delicious photos!
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The fish looks so flavourful with all the accompaniments served with it.
thank – yes no one would think steamed fish is boring when served with this bowl
With so many interesting ingredients going into it to make a healthy bowl, I am sure this makes a filling meal!
yes it is as filling as it is delicious
A perfectly balanced bowl, with proteins, carbs and veggies. I love Ugali so am sure would love creamy funchi. The addition of coconut milk must be making it taste awesome.
I always find it so interesting how some dishes albeit with slight variations travel around the world – like ugali!
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
What a balanced dish! I am intrigued by the fried plantains in a savory bowl, makes me feel that it is like dessert for the end… 🙂
In the Caribbean, we always have fried ripe plantain with savory food. It is eaten in the same bite with all the savories and works to create a multi faceted balanced bite every time 🙂
Wow! What a wonderful combination of dishes. You have assembled an amazing Caribbean thali in a bowl. Each dish sounds so yum and the combination would create so many textures and flavours in a single spoon.
absolutely – that is what is so great about Caribbean food – amazingly complex and delicious flavors in every bite when you combine the different dishes together! – Love how you compared it to a thali!
That one sure is a balanced meal from the Caribbean region, even though served in a bowl.
bowls are fun and easy to eat. Glad you like it