Green plantain quenelle with sweated corvina. Recipe from Darien, Panama

My mother’s side of the family is from Darién and Colombia.

My grandmother, Mama Elsa, was born in Jaqué, a little village located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Jaqué River. Due to the Darién Gap of the Pan American Highway, for many years the only way to get there was by boat or plane.

I’ve only been once, when I was very small. We went in a small fishing boat. I do not remember much of that trip, only that we slept on deck and that that night there were thousands of stars in the sky… and that my cousin Eduardo threw up over me… not everything can be beautiful memories…

In the house of Mama Elsa and Papa Francisco it was very often that my mother, my grandmother and my aunt prepared Darienitas dishes for lunch or special occasions and fish was almost always the protagonist.

Today I wanted to pay tribute to a classic Darien’s dish the plantain majao with sweated fish. And although the presentation is different, the taste is all there.


  • 2 green plantain
  • 1 corvina
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion
  • Green pepper
  • Cilantro / coriander
  • Salt
  • Olive oil


The first thing we will do is to cook the plantain, cause is what’s going to take longer. peel and chop into medium pieces and cook in salted boiling water for about an hour.

Strain, add the butter and make a thick puree. Reserve

Chop the vegetables and sauté them in a pan with hot olive oil until the onion is translucent. Remove. In the same pan, put the fish (clean and whole), add salt and cover. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

We may serve it in the traditional way, that is, place the fish on a plate with a bit of the sofrito on top and the plantain majao on the side. But if we want to give it a more sophisticated air, make a quenelle with the majao, take out some pieces of the fish and place on top, finish with a spoonful of the sofrito and a leaf of fresh coriander to decorate.


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