Coconut Crumb Fish Recipe

Kaelah James' coconut crumb fish with papaya salsa and a lip-smacking crema will transport your ocean catch straight to the tropics!

These fried fish morsels have a crisp panko and coconut crumb and are topped with refreshing papaya salsa. The coconut adds a bit of sweetness, while the sriracha crema adds a flavour punch with a hint of heat.

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In this recipe, I used some beautiful blue cod fillets we caught on a recent family fishing trip to Kapiti Island. However, any firm white fish such as snapper, perch, hāpuku, butterfish, john dory or warehou will work well here. If you can’t find papaya, mango is a great substitute (but make sure it’s ripe). 


500g White Fish, diced into large cubes

2 cups shredded coconut

1 1/2 cups panko crumbs

3 eggs

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp garlic powder

Salt & pepper

Oil for frying

Stand-and-stuff soft taco shells


1 Papaya, diced into small cubes.

1 red capsicum, diced small.

1/2 cup red onion, diced.

A handful of coriander leaves, chopped.

1 large lime, juiced.

Salt to taste.


1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayo

3-4 Tbsp Sriracha (adjust depending on heat preference)

Juice of one lime


1) Place chopped salsa ingredients into a bowl, squeeze over lime juice and season with salt. Gently mix to combine and set aside.

2) Combine sriracha crema ingredients, mix well, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

3) Crack eggs into a bowl, use a fork to whisk, add a little cold water and whisk again to combine. In a separate bowl, add flour, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix.

4) In another bowl, mix shredded coconut and panko breadcrumbs.

5) Line a tray with baking paper and place next to the bowls. Dip fish into the flour mix, shake off excess flour, dip into the egg wash, and then into the coconut panko mix.

6) Press the coconut mix into the fish using your hands to make sure it’s coated well. Repeat for remaining fish. Place on your lined tray and put into the fridge for at least 30 mins.

7) Pour oil into a wok or heavy-based pot and turn to medium heat.

8) Once bubbles start to form and heat can be felt above the wok, begin to fry fish in batches. Use a slotted spoon to remove fish soon as the coating is a nice golden light brown colour. Transfer to a draining rack and repeat with the remaining fish.

9) To assemble, place some of the salsa on the base of the stand and stuff shells, place a few coconut fish on top and spoon over a little more salsa. Drizzle over sriracha sauce and eat immediately.

Makes 8 stand and stuff taco shells

December 2022 - Kaelah James
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
Copyright: NZ Fishing Media Ltd.
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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