The history of Livingston actually begins on the faraway Caribbean island of St Vincent. A mixture of shipwrecked African slaves and native Indians, the Garifuna people was fiercely independent and resisted all attempts to conquer the island for years.
When the British finally defeated them, they deported the surviving Garifuna to the Honduran Bay Island of Roatan, from where they later spread all along the coast from Trujillo, Honduras, to Belize. They founded Livingston around 1795.
This staple of dish of Livingston Garifuna Tapado, is a delicious seafood stew in a tasty coconut broth. Although its a stew, the dish is extremely hearty, filling, and eats like meal. Serve with a side of coconut rice which is made by simply boiling your rice in a half and half mixture of coconut milk and water.
Tapado Recipe from Livingston Guatemala
- 4 Green Plantains (peeled and sliced)
- 2 tomatoes plum tomatoes (diced)
- 1 small white onion (thinly sliced)
- (optional) 1 bell pepper (diced)
- 2 lbs snapper fillet
- (optional) assorted other seafood (e.g., 1 lbs shrimp, 1 lbs clams, 4 whole blue crabs)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
- chicken bouillon ( ½ tbsp, or to taste)
- salt ( ½ tsp or more to taste)
- pepper ( ¼ tsp or more to taste)
- 2 brown coconuts
- Approximately 5 cups warm water
First, make the coconut milk. Alternatively, you can use store-bought canned coconut milk. To make it from scratch, grind down the flesh of both brown (dead) coconut into shreds.
Measure the amount of shredded coconut that was yielded and begin warming double the amount of water. For example, for 2.5 cups of shredded coconut – heat 5 cups of water. Add warm water to shredded coconut and massage with hands thoroughly for several minutes.
Then strain out the coconut into a bowl, squeezing by hand every bit of liquid out of the shreds to maximize the coconut flavor. Discard the strained coconut and retain the coconut milk that was just created.
In a large pot coated with vegetable oil, sauté sliced onion and tomato until tender (a few minutes).
Add coconut milk and sliced plantains to the pot and bring to a light boil, in which to the broth should turn to a creamy pinkish-orange color.
Add the fresh oregano and basil. Add salt, pepper, and chicken bouilion to taste.
Simmer for at least 30 minutes or until plantains are tender like a cooked potato.
Meanwhile, after lightly salting and peppering your fish fillets, sauté them in a large frying pan with vegetable oil pan for about three minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Once the plantains in the broth are tender, add the fish fillets and any other seafood and cook for just a few more minutes.
Remove from heat. Serve into individual bowls with a ladle.
Serving suggestion: coconut rice.
Enjoy this Tapado Recipe from Livingston Guatemala!