What We’re Cooking: Ziggy Marley’s Coconut Dream Fish

A special thank you to Interlink Publishing Group Inc. and The Immigrant Cookbook Team for contributing this recipe! 

For our readers only, we’re sharing a recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, which Anthony Bourdain has described as a “powerful, important, and delicious cookbook which everyone should own.” Leyla Moushabeck collected and edited recipes for The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes that Make America Great Again, saying she hopes that “it will highlight a lot of the valuable ways our culture is shaped by ethnic diversity.”  If you’re looking for a taste of Jamaica, read below for Ziggy Marley’s Coconut Dream Fish recipe (available on pg. 88). 


Place the fish fillets in the skillet you plan to cook them in and season them with salt and the lemon pepper. Rub 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil into the seasoned fish, massaging for a few minutes. You’ve reached stage one of coconutiness. Remove the fillets from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining coconut oil in the skillet over medium heat until hot. Return the fillets to the pan and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until slightly browned. Transfer the fillets to a dish, leaving the skillet on the stove. You’ve reached stage two of coconutiness.

Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of the vegetable stock to the skillet and scrape all the fish goodness from the bottom, deglazing the skillet and stirring. Lower the heat if necessary, so as to not burn.

Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, cayenne pepper, and curry powder, and stir until mixture starts bubbling (about a minute or so).

Stir in the coconut milk and the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Gently lay the fish fillets back in the pan and simmer for a few minutes, just so the fish can take on the flavors of the sauce. Try to make sure the fillets are kept whole.

Turn off the heat, transfer to a platter, garnish with the thyme and lime wedges, and serve family style. You’ve reached the final stage of coconutiness.


“This is one of my favorite creations. We have been cooking with coconut for a long time in Jamaica. You’d get it from the people in the market who would boil it; it wasn’t something you would buy in the store. The Coconut Dream Fish is a take on the traditional Jamaican brown stew fish. You fry the sea bass lightly with coconut oil; then cook it down with onion, garlic and other seasoning. Real herbs and spices from the earth give the best flavor. And then you add the coconut milk, so the whole thing has this deep coconutiness. When I first made it I thought, oh, this is like a coconut dream! It makes you go to bed real nice.”

Photo by Ryan Robert Miller for The Immigrant Cookbook and Interlink Publishing Group Inc.


A seven-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner, humanitarian, singer, songwriter, and producer, Ziggy Marley has released twelve albums to much critical acclaim. His early immersion in music came at age ten when he sat in on recording sessions with his father, Bob Marley. Ziggy also recently released his debut children’s book “I Love You Too,” a multicultural picture book based on one of Ziggy’s most beloved songs of the same title from his Grammy Award-winning album “Family Time.”His latest book is the “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook.” He is originally from Jamaica and lives in California.  

Photo by Kii Arens for The Immigrant Cookbook and Interlink Publishing Group Inc.

For more globally inspired recipes, get your copy of The Immigrant Cookbook from The Little Market. For every purchase, part of the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

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