Weeknight meals should be quick and nutritious, just like this grilled fish with fried plantains recipe!
This African-inspired meal (also known as aloco) uses basic ingredients and simple cooking methods for a wholesome dinner perfect for grilling season.
Since plantains are one of my favorite foods and an African staple crop, I occasionally find myself wanting to try some new African dishes. It didn't take long for aloco to pop up on my radar!
What is aloco?
From my internet research, I was never able to determine if "aloco" constitutes the entire dish of fried plantains, tomato and onion mixture, and grilled fish or if it only covers the fried plantains. Heck, some sites lump the fried plantains and tomato/onion mixture together under one aloco recipe, simply suggesting it's served with grilled fish.
I imagine this is one of those dishes that varies by region, just like tostones or moqueca.
If you happen to have a bit more background for me about aloco, please hop in the comments and tell me more!
How to choose plantains for frying
If you want to learn more about plantains, I wholeheartedly suggest you visit my post all about plantains.
To sum it up, though, plantains are kinda like bananas. With green peels, they're starchy and not very sweet. The more yellow (and, after a while, brown) a plantain gets, the sweeter it is.
You can use either green or green-yellow plantains for this recipe. If you opt for green plantains, the meal will overall be more savory. Personally. I'd go for more green-yellow/yellow plantains. I'm a HUGE fan of that sweet & savory combination, and plantains are one of my favorite ways to achieve that.
Plus, by grabbing riper plantains, the fried plantains are less tough after frying and reheat better. I'm all about that leftover life, so that's important for me!
Keep it flexible: pan-fried or grilled fish
Okay, so the recipe title mentions grilled fish. And every other aloco recipe mentions specifically grilled fish.
But hey, if you live in the Midwest and a good 8 months of the year becomes a subzero tundra where grilling is totally off the table, I think pan-frying is a good substitute.
So this recipe includes instructions for both. If it's warm enough to grill outside, I say go for it! But when it's -20 degrees F in North Dakota and I get a craving for aloco, I'm not going to put this recipe aside just because I can't grill.
More paleo fish recipes
- Whole30 Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)
- Grilled Walleye with Mango Salsa (W30)
- Easy Tuna Burgers (W30)
- Salmon Cake Eggs Benedict
- Maple Mustard Salmon
Grilled Fish with Fried Plantains (Aloco)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Fried, Grilled
- Cuisine: West African
With simple ingredients and a quick cook time, grilled fish with fried plantains will be on the dinner table before you know it!
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- 3 ripe (green-yellow) plantains, cubed
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, chopped (optional)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cod fillets (5-ounces each)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the raw plantains with 1 teaspoon salt. Add the plantains to the skillet. Fry for 3-5 minutes or until they are golden brown. If the plantain pieces aren’t completely submerged in the oil, you’ll have to stir once or twice while frying. Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack positioned over a tray or plate to catch the excess oil. Depending on the size of your skillet, you’ll need to do this in batches.
- In the same skillet and oil, fry the onion, tomato, and pepper (if using) for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the water, reduce heat, and simmer for several minutes until the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce.
- Season the fish with remaining salt and ground black pepper. Preheat a grill to medium to medium-high heat. Oil the grates using a grill brush and coconut oil, or if you’d prefer not to grill directly on the grates heat a cast iron skillet on the grill. Add the fish and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- Place the plantains on a plate, cover them with grilled fish, and pour the tomato sauce overtop.
Keywords: fried plantains, grilled fish
I’m interested in trying this! We live in West Africa, and in every country we’ve gotten Aloco it’s just been the fried plantains, and they have a sweet taste. We’ve never seen Aloco with any type of savory sauce. Usually we buy the Aloco from a street vendor along with brochettes, sometimes chicken. It may just be the countries we’ve been in that do it this way. Going to try this recipe tonight!
How much water do you add to the pan?
3 tablespoons. Thanks for pointing that out - sometimes I miss something like that when publishing! Fortunately I keep a record of all my recipes so I could look it up!