Coconut Escolar Ceviche 

By: The Local Palate
Coconut Escolar Ceviche 

Chef Somsith of Lao’d Bar in Austin drew inspiration for this dish from a salmon coconut crudo served in a coconut at Rosa Negra, a Peruvian-Mexican beach club in Tulum. He decided to do his own take on coconut escolar ceviche, amping up the flavor with Lao spices, and he chose escolar as the protein because he knew the firm, buttery fish would do well with bold aromatics.

recipe heading-plus-icon


Makes 1 Serving

    for the pickled red onions
  • 1 large red onion
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1-2 bird’s eye chilis
  • for the ceviche
  • 5 large brown or white coconuts
  • 5 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Three Crabs fish sauce
  • 3 ounces ginger
  • 2 ounces galangal
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 6 Thai chiles
  • 6 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems
  • 5-7 slices of escolar (cut sashimi-style, ⅛-inch thickness)
  • Microgreens, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Deep-fried dried bird’s eye chilis, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pickled red onions
  • ½ teaspoon fried garlic
  • Special Equipment: Heavy cleaver, fine mesh strainer

Make the Pickled Red Onions

  1. Finely slice red onions and place in a plastic container with a lid.
  2. Add bird’s eye chilis, salt, sugar, vinegar, and 3 cups of boiling hot water.
  3. Mix well and let it cool down in the refrigerator.It’s ready to use when onions are bright translucent pink.

Make the Ceviche

  1. Crack coconuts by using the back spine of a meat cleaver (or something similar) over a large bowl to drain and save the coconut water. Reserve coconut halves for plating.
  2. Slice ginger and galangal. Smash lemongrass until fibers begin to appear and then cut into 3-inch pieces.
  3. Cut bird’s eye chilis in half, then wash cilantro and cut stems off.
  4. Add coconut water to stockpot along with the ginger, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilis, and cilantro stems. Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute then reduce heat to low simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Rapid chill coconut broth by setting pot in ice bath cold or until it reaches 42 degrees. 
  6. Strain coconut broth into a large mixing bowl and discard the remaining contents. Add coconut milk, salt, fish sauce and coconut vinegar.
  7. Slice fish into sashimi-style cuts (1/8 inch thickness) and place in chilled coconut broth for 1 hour.

Plate the Ceviche

  1. Place fish in the coconut halves in a circular design with edges of fish slightly overlapping.
  2. Spoon in coconut broth, place pickled red onions in middle of fish, then sprinkle with fried garlic and sliced bird’s eye chili.
  3. Garnish with micro greens or cilantro leaves and place deep fried chilis near pickled onions if using.
  • Recipe by
    Bob Somsith of Lao'd Bar in Austin
  • Contributing City

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