Bajan Recipes – Flying Fish and Cou Cou in Barbados

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Bajan Recipes including flying fish and cou coul from Barbados

Bajan Recipes including flying fish and cou coul from Barbados

Bajan Recipes Taught In Barbados

I love these Bajan recipes that I picked up while on the island. It’s been a little while since I travelled to Barbados but the joy of recipes means that a taste of Caribbean sunshine is just one meal away (and if I squint into this summer’s heatwave, I can convince myself we have that too. Aha. A hahaha. Ahahahahamwahahahaha. Etcetera.)

Learning how to make Bajan recipes like flying fish and cou cou in Barbados at a cooking lesson

Is it cou cou or coo coo?

The words can be used interchangeably but I’m told that cou cou is the more standard form for Bajan recipes, while coo coo is more often found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Bajan recipes, just like Rihanna makes ’em. Probably.

Art at the Bajan Recipe Cooking school in Barbados

Related: Unique Things to do in Aruba

Bajan recipes from my time at The Club Barbados Resort and Spa.

Bajan Recipe: Creole Sauce


3 tablespoons olive oil1 onion cut into thin strips2 teaspoons crushed garlic2 green sweet peppers cut into thin strips1 tablespoon Bajan seasoning (green shallots called allium ascalorium)8 ounces stewed tomatoes1 teaspoon sugar1/2 cup stock1 tablespoon Pepper Sauce (turmeric, mustard, pepper, vinegar, salt, starch and hot local peppers if you don’t have a jar yourself)4 tablespoons finely chopped parsleySalt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in frying panFry onions, garlic and sweet peppers for 1 minuteAdd Bajan seasoning, tomatoes, sugar, stock and pepper sauceCover and simmer over low heat for 15 -20 minutesSeason with salt and pepper to tasteGarnish with chopped parsley

Bajan Recipe: Cornmeal Cou-Cou


Olive oil spray

4 cups water

Salt to taste

12 okras, washed, stems removed, cut crosswise about 1/4 inch thick

8 ounces FINE corn meal


Grease a bowl with olive oil spray and reserve.

Pour 3 cups water into a pot, add the okra and salt, bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

Strain the okra into a small bowl and reserve the water in a separate bowl.

Place a small pot over low heat, add the corn meal with one cup of water to soften, whisking mixture until it is completely combined.

Reduce the heat and continue beating with a whisk until it begins to thicken. Gradually (I repeat, GRADUALLY!) add the water from the okra, whisking to incorporate.

After about 3 minutes, start beating the corn meal with a coo coo stick and add in the okra until they are thoroughly mixed in.

Serve with the creole sauce and flying fish. What flying fish, you ask? Ah yes, read on for more…

Bajan Recipes - Flying Fish prepared in Barbados

Bajan Recipe: Fried Fish

Traditionally, this would be flying fish and served on Saturdays. Sadly, though, numbers have dwindled for a range of environmental reasons and so most people now use dorado as it’s easier to come by.


12 boned pieces of dorado

2 limes or lemons

2 tablespoons of salt

6 ounces Bajan green seasoning (shallots and the spices mentioned above)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup flour mixed with 1 cup bread crumbs

2 cups oil for frying


Place the fish in a shallow container and cover with water

Add the squeezed lime and salt and soak for 5 minutes then remove and pat dry with a paper towel

Season in the grooves where the bones have been removed

Dip in eggs and lightly coat with the flour and bread crumb mixture, shaking of excess

Heat oil in a shallow pan and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Serve with lemon plus the creole sauce and cou cou above!

Learning about flying fish and cou cou in Barbados

Two things to know about cou cou

1) If a man finds lumps in his wife’s cou cou he can throw her out of the house

2) If a child misbehaves, their mother will run after them with a cou cou stick threatening them a damn good hiding.

And you thought it sounded like such a cute little word…

Disclosure: I visited The Club Barbados with Tropical Sky and Elite Island Resorts. All lumpy cou cou my own…

Do you know any good Bajan Recipes?

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