The smoky flavour will be carried by the rich coconut base. This dish is usually served as part of a kai-kai, a quintessential Torres Strait Islander shared meal.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)

You don’t need to fully cook the fish first, just lightly smoke them using the coals before poaching in coconut milk.


  • 1-2 whole fish (about 2 kg) such as silver bream or snapper, cleaned and gutted
  • 800 ml (2 cans) coconut milk
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • sliced spring onion and steamed rice, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe has been edited and may differ from the episode.

1. Prepare a charcoal grill at a very low heat and place the fish on the grill to smoke for 20 minutes, flipping once.

2. Gently transfer to a large shallow pan and cover with coconut milk, onion and garlic. Season to taste. Simmer the fish for another 10-20 minutes til sauce thickens and absorbs smoky flavour, and fish is cooked through.

3. To serve, remove the fillets from the fish and slide back into sauce. Enjoy with steamed rice and spring onion garnish. Alternatively, place fish whole on a platter with sauce spooned over and let guests serve themselves.


Taste the Torres Strait on Strait to the Plate with Aaron Fa'aoso on SBS Food, NITV and SBS On Demand