Encocado | Fish with Coconut Sauce Recipe


  • serves 4
  • Easy

This simple dish of fish in a creamy coconut sauce is cooked all along the coast of Ecuador and on the Galápagos Islands. The sauce is flavoured with a red spice called achiote, which is mellow in flavour but full of colour. John Gregory-Smith has substituted it for paprika, which works just as well and is much easier to get in the UK


*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

This recipe was written by John Gregory-Smith, inspired by his recent trip to Ecuador…



  • olive oil 2 tbsp
  • red onion 1, finely chopped
  • red pepper 1, finely chopped
  • garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • paprika 2 tsp
  • ground cumin 1 tsp
  • ground coriander 1 tsp
  • tomatoes 4, finely chopped
  • tomato purée 1 tbsp
  • coconut milk 400ml tin
  • lime 1, juiced
  • orange ½, juiced
  • basmati rice 250g 
  • skinless boneless snapper 600g, cut into 5cm pieces (see cook’s notes)
  • ginger a thumb-sized piece
  • coriander leaves a small handful, finely chopped
  • red chilli 1, finely sliced


  • Step 1

    Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion and pepper, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until soft and a little golden. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the spices and a good pinch of salt, mix well, then tip the tomatoes into the pan, with the tomato purée and 100ml of water. Mix well and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down.

  • Step 2

    Pour in the coconut milk, lime juice and orange juice. Mix well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, put the rice into a pan and pour over 500ml of just-boiled water. Bring to the boil, cover and cook gently for 10-12 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and leave, covered, for 5-6 minutes for the rice to fluff up.

  • Step 4

    Put the fish into the sauce and mix well. Grate the ginger over the curry. Cover and cook gently for 10-12 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Transfer to a warm serving plate and scatter over the coriander and chilli. Serve immediately with the rice.

You can switch up the seafood, adding in prawns, tuna, swordfish or a piece of pollock in place of, or alongside, the snapper.

Check out more of our best fish curry recipes here...

Fish Curry with Coconut Milk

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 637
  • Fat 25.4g
  • Saturates 16.1g
  • Carbs 61.6g
  • Sugars 9.6g
  • Fibre 4.9g
  • Protein 38.2g
  • Salt 0.3g