A caribbean soup: Fish and plantain Fufú

Today I bring another recipe from the Panamanian Caribbean. We are still enjoying Colon’s delicious gastronomy in my personal Julie & Julia challenge of the native Panamanian recipe book, T’ach . It is a very typical soup in Panama and it is strangely perfect for these cold winter days that we are experiencing in much of the rest of the world..

To prepare this recipe in expat format I didn’t have to substitute ingredients, although I did have to sacrifice the ñame, because they don’t sell it here or I’ve never seen it… otherwise, everything was easy-peasy. The recommended fish is red snapper, but it can be replaced by other fish, such as sea bream or urta for instance.


  • 2 tablespoons of achiote oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 criollo peppers, chopped
  • 1 pound of each: ñame, otoe and yucca. Washed, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups of fish broth
  • 4 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 grated green plantain
  • 3 pounds red snapper (or other similar fish) cut into medallions
  • All purpose flour
  • 4 culantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the achiote oil in a deep pot and sautè onion, garlic and peppers in it. When they are soft, add the tubers, fish broth and coconut milk. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Then add the grated green plantain and continue cooking over medium heat for another 20 minutes.

*An important note: Apparently green plantain “stains” the soup if it is not soaked in lemon water first. They don’t say anything about it in the book. I found out later when I told my mother that I didn’t understand why the soup had darkened… Grandma’s secrets that I now share with you.

While the soup is cooking, season the fish with salt and pepper, flour and fry until golden brown. Keep warm.

When the soup has thickened, add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with some chopped culantro and a piece of fried fish.

Have you heard about this soup before? Have you tried? Let me know in the comments.


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