RECIPE: Green banana and saltfish by Vanessa Bolosier

“I love the simplicity of this dish,” says food writer Vanessa Bolosier.

“In Guadeloupe, the people you’ll see ordering this for their lunch are often the big guys: truck drivers, builders, people with tough jobs working under the very hot Caribbean sun.

“Ti’ punch is de rigueur with this dish. It’s a rustic everyday meal, served in large portions – one of my favourites.”

Green banana and saltfish


(Serves 4)

4 thick salted cod cutlets (available in larger supermarkets and Caribbean stores)

2 green bananas per person

6tbsp sunflower oil

2–3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf

4 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs parsley, chopped

Juice of 1.5 limes

1 habanero chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 onions, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large cucumber, peeled, grated

1 large avocado


1. Put the salted cod in a saucepan, add cold water to cover, bring to the boil and boil for five minutes. Drain off the water and repeat the process. Drain.

2. Wash the green bananas thoroughly. Cut off both ends and make a 1cm-deep slit lengthwise; once boiled, the skin will drop off easily. Boil the green bananas for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of oil in a wide, shallow pot over a medium heat. Add the cod and cook for about two minutes on each side. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, chopped parsley, juice of one lime and half the chilli and cook for five minutes.

Reduce the heat and add four tablespoons of water. Cook for five minutes over a low heat, then set aside.

4. In a frying pan (skillet), heat four tablespoons of oil over a medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, until they become translucent. Add a little salt to taste, a pinch of pepper and the remaining chilli. Tip the onions over the cod.

5. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the cucumbers. Peel the avocado and cut into small cubes.

6. Drain the green bananas and serve on a plate with the cod, cucumber and avocado.

TIP: Traditionally, we like to have a habanero chilli and a lime wedge on the side to adjust the flavours to individual taste, and some sunflower oil to pour over the green bananas.

We crush everything together, from the fish to the avocado, and although it’s a messy plate, the flavours combine perfectly.

Sunshine Kitchen: Delicious Creole Recipes From The Heart Of The Caribbean by Vanessa Bolosier is published by Pavilion Books, priced £12.99. Photography by Clare Winfield. Available now.