Tapou (Fish, Green Banana, and Root Vegetable Soup)

Fish, Green Banana, and Root Vegetable Soup (Tapou)
Fish, Green Banana, and Root Vegetable Soup (Tapou)
Tender root vegetables and fried fish make this garlicky stew a satisfying meal.Penny De Los Santos

Tender root vegetables and fried fish make this garlicky stew a satisfying meal. This recipe first appeared in our November 2012 issue along with Betsy Andrews's story Cassava Nation.

Tapou (Fish, Green Banana, and Root Vegetable Soup)
Tender root vegetables and fried fish make this garlicky stew a satisfying meal.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. red snapper filets
  • 14 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup coconut oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 12 tsp. sugar
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cored and minced
  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. achiote paste, mixed with 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 green bananas, peeled, cut into ¼" slices
  • 1 small cassava root, peeled, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 ripe plantain, peeled, cut into ¼" slices
  • 12 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro, to garnish
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 12 cup flour
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place fish in a large plastic bag; add both juices, 1 tsp. cumin, and salt and pepper. Seal bag, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat coconut oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, and ginger; cook until soft, about 9 minutes. Add remaining cumin, oregano, sugar, and tomato; cook until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and achiote paste mixture; boil. Reduce heat to medium, add green bananas and cassava, and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add potato and plantain; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add shrimp; cook until just pink, about 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with cilantro; keep stew warm.
  3. Heat canola oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat; place flour on a large plate. Remove fish from marinade, dredge in flour, and add to skillet; fry, flipping once, until crisp and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer fish to paper towels to drain. Divide fish among serving bowls, and top with some of the stew; serve with rice and lime wedges.