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It's Foodie Friday! Flying Fish & Cou Cou

Friday, January 14, 2011
Steamed Flying Fish & Cou Cou
The national dish of Barbados (where I am currently winding up a short vacation before I head off to Martinique) is Cou Cou - a unique blend of cornmeal and okra mixed with salt, peppers and Bajan hot sauce - and Flying Fish, a species of fish (of which there are many) that looks sort of like a herring, but that glides across the water to escape predators. Wild, isn't it?  Check out this video.

My Bajan ancestors might be frowning right now, but as a self-proclaimed picky eater, I don't eat okra (nu uh, no way, no sir), however, flying fish is quite yummy and I could eat it every day.  It mostly comes lightly battered and fried (see photo left) as a sandwich or as an entree (with or without cou cou) but you will also find it steamed/stewed as well.  Plentiful in the warm waters surrounding Barbados, flying fish is available year round.  According to Wiki, flying fish live in all of the oceans, particularly in warm tropical and subtropical waters although I don't believe I've ever seen or eaten flying fish in the US.  Evidently, flying fish are also commercially fished in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and India.  The roe of Japanese flying fish is used to make some types of sushi and is known as tobiko. It is also a staple in the diet of the Tao people of Orchid Island, Taiwan. In the Solomon Islands flying fish are caught while flying, using nets held from outrigger canoes. They are attracted to the light of torches and fishing is done only when there is no moonlight.  [Source:  Wiki]  Cool stuff.  The Food Network (!) even has a recipe for Barbados' Steamed Flying Fish and Cou Cou that you can find here.  I also found a Bajan recipe for fried flying fish here
An icon of Barbados, images of flying fish are also found on coins, bills, artwork, fountains, and menus.  But at Barbados' famous Oistins Fish Fry on Friday nights in Christ Church Parish, you will find all of the flying fish (and more!) that you can eat!  On a drive up the West Coast of the island a few days ago, I spotted a bunch of fisherman with the day's catch on the side of the road with fresh flying fish available for sale in bright yellow plastic bags straight out of the sea.  Of course my camera wasn't within reach, but they were there.  I promise.  If you don't believe me, I guess you'll just have to come and see...and taste...for yourself.  ;-)


Katya on: January 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM said...

It looks amazing, especially when I love fish and I am hungry right now)))

Anonymous on: January 14, 2011 at 6:45 PM said...

~lol~ a brown girl after my own heart. I don't do okra either...but the fried fish looks delish!

Anonymous on: January 17, 2011 at 5:43 AM said...

This takes me back in time. My Bajan grandmother, and my mother, liked to cook Cou Cou and because it wasn't something they cooked weekly, they would invite the family over. One uncle would drop whatever he was doing to come over to our house and eat Cou Cou. Come to think of it, any Bajan dish my family prepared, he'd be there either for lunch or dinner, sometimes uninvited. We didn't have flying fish (yum, yum) in Massachusetts, so my grandmother substituted other fish for the fish gravy that accompanies Cou Cou. I happen to have the Cou Cou bowl that my mother used for shaping the Cou Cou just like it's shown in your picture. Oh what fun memories can be! :) JudyC


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