Coo Coo & Flying Fish: National Dish of Barbados

Coucou (Coo Coo) & Flying Fish

Coo Coo & Flying Fish: National Dish of Barbados


4 okras, thinly sliced
1 pt. boiling water
1/2 pt. corn meal
1/2 pt. cold water
1 tsp salt
1 stick of butter
2 fresh limes juiced
1 tbsp salt
1 cup water
6 flying fish, filleted

Note: Flying Fish is mainly found in and around Barbados – Tilapia is a good substitute.  

1 bunch thyme and majoram(like oregano), chopped very fine
1 bunch fresh green celery, chopped very fine
1 onion, chopped very fine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fry oil


Preparation of cou cou

  • Cook the okras in the boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • While they are cooking, mix the corn meal and cold water to a smooth paste
  • When the okras are soft, lower the heat, add salt and wet corn meal, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture becomes fairly stiff
  • When the mixture breaks away cleanly from the pan (i.e it does not stick), the cou cou is ready
  • Butter a bowl, turn the mixture into the bowl, shaking it into the shape of the bowl, then turn it out into a serving dish
  • With the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the top and place a stick of butter in it

Flying Fish Preparation

  • Mix lime juice, salt and water, and put the fish to soak in this mixture for 15 minutes
  • Remove and dry
  • Mix together the seasonings and onion and then place in the spaces from which the fish bones have been removed, Press in very firmly
  • Dip each fish into the egg, then coat with breadcrumbs
  • Fry in hot oil placing each fish face down first
  • Cook on each side until lightly brown, do not overcook, the fish should be moist and flaky

Note: If the fish was packaged with the skin of one next to the flesh of another, before seasoning, take a knife and run it along the skin firmly. This will remove any oil that may give the fish an unpleasant taste.

Other Barbadian Favourites



1 lb. of an assortment of pig ears, tails, snout or feet, washed and scrubbed
1 large cucumber, seeded and grated
3 limes
3 bay leaves
2 habaneros, seeded and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped

Salt to taste (start with 1 tsp)

  • Boil pig parts in water until cooked through and pale
  • Skim any froth that forms on the top
  • Drain and cool in cold water
  • Pick meat from all parts, discarding bones (the tail can have the bone left in)
  • Slice large chunks into bite-sized pieces
  • Mix all ingredients in a large jar
  • Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold, with pudding (recipe below) and beer.



2 batatas (sweet potato), finely grated
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp powdered cloves
1 small onion, finely grated
1 habanero (type of chili pepper) seeded and minced
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp browning syrup
3 scallions, minced
1/4 lb. pig intestines, soaked in water and the juice of 1 lime for one hour

  • Place all ingredients except for intestines in a food processor
  • Pulse until mixture is as smooth as possible
  • Load a casing onto the nozzle of a funnel or a manually-operated meat grinder
  • Tie one end of a casing closed with some kitchen twine
  • Proceed to slowly fill the casing, tying off individual puddings as you progress
  • Repeat until filling is used up
  • Boil or steam until skins are tight and translucent. Serve with souse.

Suggested Reaing

Barbados celebrates 46 years of independence



scroll to top