Cou Cou

Barbados Recipes: Cou Cou & Flying Fish

As Barbados approaches its 50th anniversary of independence on November 30th, we at The Crane have been reflecting on what it means to be truly ‘Bajan’. In celebration of our island’s unique heritage, Crane Concierge is sharing a tasty recipe for Cou Cou & Flying Fish – Barbados’ delicious National Dish:

For the Cou Cou you will need:

  • 8oz corn meal
  • 3oz okras
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • Water
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal with sufficient water to cover the cornmeal. Set aside.
  2. Remove the tops and bottom of the okras and chop into thin slices. Place in saucepan with water, chopped onion and salt. Bring to medium boil until okras soften.
  3. Strain okras and set aside liquid.
  4. Add about a quarter of the okra liquid back into the saucepan and add the soaked corn meal. Use a wooden spoon (known in Barbados as a ‘cou cou stick’) to stir constantly in order to avoid lumping.
  5. Add more of the okra liquid gradually. When the cou cou starts to bubble gently at the surface, add in the cooked okra slices and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.

For the Flying Fish you will need:

  • 8 Flying Fish (about 1 1/2 pounds), scaled, boned, and butterflied
  • 3 tablespoons Bajan seasoning (also called green seasoning)
  • Lime juice, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water or fish stock
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs, like dill, chives, parsley, and thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


  1. Rub the flesh side of the fish with seasoning and lime juice, and season with the salt, to taste. Roll each fish up tightly and secure with a toothpick.
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until soft. Add the ketchup, curry, mustard, and sugar and stir.
  3. Add water, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Arrange the rolled fish in the skillet and cover with the bell peppers, tomato, herbs, and hot sauce. Cover and simmer until the fish is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.

Spoon the fish and gravy over the top of the cou cou and enjoy! For more information on delicious Barbados food and recipes, contact