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Swordfish Kebabs with Coconut Milk

This recipe comes from the most unlikely source, a Rio de Janeiro meat emporium called Porcao (Big Pig). Like most churrascarias (barbecue restaurants), Porcao specializes in an astonishing assortment of grilled meats served on long spits and carved at the table. Conspicuous consumption is the name of the game: the waiters keep bringing food until you ask them to stop.

The following kebabs caught Steven Raichlen's eye precisely because they weren't made with meat. At Porcao they're made with a sweet, mild freshwater fish. The closest equivalent in North America would be halibut, which isn't always readily available, so Raichlen usually uses swordfish.

Coconut milk is a traditional ingredient in Brazilian cooking. Its high fat content keeps the fish moist and flavorful. Be sure to use unsweetened coconut milk, which is available at Asian groceries and most supermarkets.

slideshow Healthy Grilling Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds swordfish, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares


  1. In a blender, combine 1 of the quartered onions with the coconut milk, garlic, green pepper, parsley, olive oil, salt and black pepper; puree until smooth. The mixture should be highly seasoned. Scrape the marinade into a large bowl. Add the swordfish cubes and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, stirring 2 or 3 times.
  2. Light a grill. Thread the swordfish cubes onto 4 long, thick metal or bamboo skewers, alternating the fish with pieces of the remaining onion and the red pepper. Reserve the marinade.
  3. Grill the swordfish kebabs over a hot fire for about 12 minutes, turning them often and basting them frequently with the reserved marinade; the kebabs are done when they are lightly browned all over and the fish and vegetables are just cooked through. Serve at once.

Suggested Pairing

An English-style India pale ale, such as Samuel Smith's India Ale from England, is ideal; the bitterness contrasts with the coconut, while the maltiness complements the meat texture of the marinated fish.

Contributed By Published September 1997

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