Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado)

While I loved the Dominican Republic beaches and eating (see part 1 and part 2 of our trip), the highlight was getting my scuba diving license!

B got licensed in Chicago (yes, in the middle of North America away from all ocean) a few years ago and had always wanted me to learn so we could dive together.

Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder

Initially I had wanted to do just one day of diving during the vacation, but learned a single day of diving was an option but couldn’t toward classes/certification in the future. Also, when B got licensed, he had to drive back and forth over two weekends, and both his open water dive were an hour’s drive away). In the Dominican Republic, the beach was right there and all the transport was arranged. And once I got the full certification, I could dive anywhere in the world.

So, naturally, I took the full course – I’ve always been a go-big-or-go-home kind of person anyway.

Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder

My thought was that I was going to lounge and sleep in on this vacation, but I quickly found out diving is no joke.

I had to wake up super early everyday for “theory” classes (so much physics and science of diving – pressure, volume, nitrogen calculations) then do a lot of diving exercises, initially in the pool (closed water), then four open water dives (ocean) and lots of quizzes and a final exam.

Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Breathing underwater is very unnatural, but the number one rule is never hold your breath (unless you want your lungs to over-inflate and pop). My exercises included what to do if your tank oxygen runs out, controlling my buoyancy with breathing, taking off my mask underwater (the worst!), and removing and replacing my breathing tube. 
Doing them in the safety of a pool is one thing, where you can poke your head above water if there’s issues, but doing them all more than 40 feet underwater  in very choppy ocean water is nerve wracking. I can swim for long distances, but it was quite tiring even for me. The last day, someone on the boat got seasick and skipped the last dive, but I was determined to get my license!
Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Still, the ocean coral is just magical and worth all of the training. There were so much beautiful fish, coral and even wreckages, reminding me of Finding Nemo. I even got to hold a little hermit crab in my hand the last day. B is super jealous because his open diving was in a muddy lake in the Midwest while I had the Caribbean ocean.
Today, I’m sharing the last of my Dominican inspired recipe – Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado). I had a coconut milk fish stew in the Dominican restaurant on my resort with savory plantains and rice. I really love fish – whether I’m eating them or swimming among them!  Hope you enjoy the Pescado Encocado and our adventures! Recipe adapted from Laylita.

Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado)

1 lb white fish (I used cod)
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup orange juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
1/2 (14 oz) can of full fat coconut milk
tapioca starch or cornstarch, to thicken (optional)
3 tbs cilantro, finely chopped
Pepper and salt to taste

Mix the lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Marinate the fish for at least an hour if possible.

Heat the oil in a pan. Prepare a base for the sauce cooking the onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the coconut milk, mix it in well and cook for about 10 minutes. If you prefer, you can thicken the sauce by adding 1/2 tsp of tapioca starch or cornstarch.

Add the fish fillets, with the marinade, to the pan. Cover partially and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve with rice and fried ripe plantains. Enjoy!

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  1. This looks SOOOO good!! Being the person that doesn't cook as much, I forwarded this to my husband LOL!!! I will tag you if we end up making this tonight!!

    Jessica || Cubicle Chic

  2. The food looks incredible and there is actually a dish like this in Colombia. The fish looks tender, moist and the sauce YUM. BTW how awesome that you were able to get certified. I totally wish I would of done this when I still lived in Panama. Gonna have to leave it for the future.

  3. This dish looks awesome! Love anything with coconut and fish works especially well. And yay for your diving license! I took intro classes once and I realized very quickly that it's not for me…I get so claustrophobic!

  4. This looks delicious, thank you so much for sharing! I've been looking for new ways to get more fish into my diet so this has come at the perfect time!

    Dani x