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a plate of food on a table

We are still in a Semana Santa mood this week because it is one of the most important weeks in Punta Cana and the rest of the Dominican Republic.

In this edition of BOP goes local, we teamed up with Dominican Rafelina Santana. She decided to share her favorite Semana Santa recipe with us. Pescado con Coco also known as fish in coconut sauce. 


Rafelina Santana (32) lives with her husband and 3 children in Higuey. She has been working in the tourism sector in Punta Cana for years.

What does she think of Punta Cana? “I think it is one of the best places in the Dominican Republic. It is a place with opportunities where you can grow. I grew up in San Pedro de Macoris, I loved it but there were no job opportunities for me.”

Now on to cooking

“On the Friday during Semana Santa, my sister and I take over the kitchen to cook for our family. We always start with Habichuela con dulce and end with Pescado con Coco. My personal favorite. During this day I have a real family feeling, because my mother, my sister´s husband, and children are all with us. It is about quality time. We also eat fish on Good Friday because of religious reasons.”


“This recipe serves 8 people. Sometimes we cook even more. I have a big family!” says Rafelina laughing.



For the fish 

8 pieces of garlic
4 limes
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano  

8 pounds of grouper or red snapper

For the sauce

3 onions

2 pieces of garlic
2 red bell peppers or green bell peppers
2 stalks including the leaves of celery
2 tablespoons sopita
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 fresh coconuts 

How to prepare:  

“Start with cleaning the fish. I prefer buying fish that is already cleaned and filleted. I season the fish with the lime, oregano (grind it myself) and garlic, and let it rest for 2 hours so that the flavors really sink into the fish.”

“I put the fish on the grill and let it grill for about 15 minutes.”

“For the sauce, I put a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. When the oil is hot, I add the onions (chopped) to the pan. Afterward, I add the red bell peppers (sliced), celery (chopped), sopita and the tomato sauce. Then I let it simmer for 10 minutes. In the end, I add the coconut and let it simmer for another 3 minutes. 

Add the fish to the pan and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Listo! Your Pescado con Coco is ready. Serve on a nice big tray with white rice on the side.

Also, check out our Pastelon recipe!

And if you want to share a recipe with us yourself contact us on info@bestofpuntacana and we will be happy to feature your Dominican recipe.

Photo: Goya foods